The best swimming pools in Canberra

Underwater view of swimming pool

Where to find the best swimming pools in Canberra. Photo: file.

Swimming is an excellent way to maintain fitness, hang out with friends and family, or simply to just beat the heat. Whether you’re swimming for health reasons or just for fun, it’s crucial that you find a great pool where you feel safe and can properly enjoy your time there.

From general hygiene to crowd size, there’s plenty that can either make or break a trip to a public pool. Lucky for us, Canberra is home to a great number of public and independent swimming pools that you can visit for leisure or for fitness. But how do you decide which one is perfect for your needs?

In this article, we’ll go through a few of the most important traits for a swimming pool to have, as well as a guide to some of Canberra’s favourites.

What makes a great swimming pool?

For fitness or for fun, time spent at a swimming pool should always be positive. So, what exactly should you be looking for in a great swimming pool experience?

  • Hygiene. Great swimming pools maintain the hygiene of the water properly to ensure the health and safety of all patrons. The facilities surrounding the pool should be clean too, including the bathrooms/change rooms, the seating area, and the tuck shop.
  • The right temperature. In summer, there’s nothing better than jumping into a cold swimming pool. But as we all know, Canberra isn’t warm all year round – a good swimming pool will maintain the pool’s temperature at the perfect level for the season.
  • Flexible pricing. Many pools offer money-saving pricing plans that allow the whole family to make use of the swimming pool as often as they like. Look for a pool with a pricing plan that suits your unique needs.
  • Excellent facilities. The best pools have well-equipped change rooms, bathrooms, and showers. Some offer equipment (such as kickboards) for hire, and others offer hot food and coffee for an after-swim pick-me-up. Consider what’s important to you, and look for a pool with excellent facilities.
  • Friendly, qualified staff. Swimming pools can be dangerous, and if you plan to take little kids to the pool, you’ll want staff that are both friendly and qualified.
  • A pool that suits your needs. If you are swimming laps, you’ll want a fairly long pool with lots of lanes. If you want to have fun with your kids, look for an aquatic centre with slides, fountains, and other fun features.

The best swimming pools in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Active Leisure Centre

This health and fitness club not only provides high quality gym facilities and programs, but also a fantastic 50m pool and swim school program. With affordable entry prices and 10-visit swim passes, and open to swimmers of all ages, Active Leisure Centre has something for everyone.

As ‘Local Guide’ Jinny Summer writes in their Google review, Great community-based gym and pool. Many les mill classes to choose. Hiring courts and swimming lessons with very reasonable price. Friendly staff are the best thing of the centre too.”

AIS Aquatic and Fitness Centre

You don’t have to be an elite athlete to cut laps at the AIS Aquatic and Fitness Centre. With a swim school, fitness centre and holiday program anyone can access the state of the art facilities. Their pools are also available for hire for swim events and groups with the ability to have the 50 or 25 meter lanes.

Facebook reviewer Erica Mitchell, “Very happy with the swim school. My children are getting more confident in the water which is money well spent.”

Manuka Pool

Built in 1931 and originally named “The Swimming Pool”, this beautiful art deco building is surrounded by lots of shady trees and is the place to be in summer. With a toddlers pool and a pirate ship playground means you can drop your kids off and hang out in the cafe sipping lattes all afternoon!

As Google reviewer and ‘Local Guide’ Ryan McCann writes, “Fantastic original Australiana. Doesn’t get much better than swimming in art deco and soaking up the rays. Great staff, too.”

Aqua Harmony

Aqua Harmony runs a swim school specifically for children aged up to 12.5 years. With four class group levels to suit all competencies, year-round programs and a shop at reception selling all the swim gear and swimwear you could possibly need, Aqua Harmony is a great choice for little ones who are only just starting to get their feet wet.

Facebook user Elisabeth Stinziani writes, “We have been so lucky to have been able to send our kids to Aqua Harmony. Every teacher has been gentle and kind and our children have moved from initial fear to calm confidence. Thank you for looking after our three over the years!”

Deakin Pool

Deakin Pool has top quality swim programs for kids and adults as well as aquacise and hydrotherapy lessons. The manager, who everyone calls Simmo, is more than happy to have a chat and is pretty good at teaching absolutely anyone how to swim. Just ask him!

See what ‘Local Guide’ Hayley Smilie had to say in their Google review, “Great swimming school. Great customer service, facilities and advancement process.”

If you’re looking for more fitness activities in Canberra, check out our articles on the best gyms and the best HIIT classes for some great recommendations. Or perhaps you’re after more ways to spend time with your family – try our pieces on the best mini golf courses, the best school holiday programs and the best escape rooms in Canberra are full of other great ideas.

Your experience with swimming pools in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback on the best and worst Canberra swimming pools. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Do you visit any of the pools we’ve listed above, or have we missed your favourite? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are public pools open all year round?
This depends from pool to pool. Some independent public pools or pools at gyms do stay open all year round, while government-owned public pools tend to close over winter and autumn.
Is swimming good for my fitness?
Absolutely! Swimming is an excellent way to increase lung capacity, muscle endurance and cardio fitness while still being a relatively low-intensity way to exercise. Swimming is also very beneficial for those recovering from injuries or surgeries, and hydrotherapy is often prescribed by physiotherapists.
Should I buy swimming equipment?
You don't need to buy kick-boards or flippers or other pieces of swimming equipment in order to swim. However, if you want to use swimming as your primary exercise, using kickboards and flippers can increase the intensity of the exercise. The only equipment that is required of you when visiting a public pool is a swimming cap, and a pair of goggles is recommended for your own safety.
When can my child start learning how to swim?
Baby swimming lessons start from as young as 6 months old, and are highly recommended for helping your child build muscle and mobility while also getting used to being in the water. Obviously your baby won't be able to do any freestyle or breaststroke for a while though - that usually starts at around 4 years old!
Can I reserve a lane for myself at a public pool?
No. Even though public pools are paid entry, you cannot reserve a lane for your own personal use. If you're concerned about the pool becoming too crowded, ask the staff about when the quieter times are and try to visit the pool then.

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