Good afternoon, everybody! As we reach the end of the year – and of the first month of summer – I hope everyone’s well and happy and getting around to as many Canberra pools as I am! The fourth pool on my list took me north side and really surprised me with its fantastic summer atmosphere. I’m talking about Civic pool – officially the ‘Canberra Olympic Pool and Health Club’ (COP) – which was built in 1955 in the lead-up to Australia’s first hosting of the Olympic Games in Melbourne, 1956. The COP garnered much celebration and acclaim at its completion, receiving the Sulman Award of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in the recreational and sports class in 1955, and inclusion on the Register of the National Estate. Today, it is a vibrant and happening complex that boasts not only pools (a 50m covered lap pool, an outdoor pool and a toddler’s pool), but also diving boards, a music system, a gym, beach volleyball courts and a massive inflatable children’s slide. Seems more like an amusement park than a pool to me!
Believe me, the place was much busier than it might appear in this photo. In the interests of privacy – particularly that of young children – I was careful to take a photo that didn’t feature too many people. Shows off the diving tower well, though! Have still never worked up the courage to jump off the 10m one myself… Have you?
1. Cost of entry: adult: $5.60, student/child/concession: $4.10, children under 3: free. Similar to the LLC in Tuggeranong, the COP also offers family and gym deals and aqua aerobics classes.
2. Water quality and prettiness of the building/surrounds: Despite its popularity, the COP maintains a high standard of water quality, with the covered lap pool being clean and refreshing, and the diving pool and covered toddler’s pool similarly clean, but a little warmer (since they’re out in the sun). The dome covering the indoor pool was replaced in 2008 as part of a $2 million refurbishment project. This project also funded the repainting of the pools and building, and as someone who went to Civic pool before the refurbishment, I can tell you that the place looks really great now.
3. Ratio of kids to adults: On account of the diving tower and children’s slide, the majority of the COP’s clientele is kids and teenagers throughout the day, most of whom take up the outdoor pool and grounds (leaving the indoor pool relatively empty). Early in the morning and later in the evening, a stronger population of lap swimmers occupies the indoor pool.
4. Tanning/shade opportunities: If you’re looking for shade, your best bet is under the dome covering the 50m lap pool, as the trees in the grassy area are usually snapped up pretty quickly by family groups and teenagers. Unfortunately, setting up under the dome takes you away from the action a bit, as it were, but still gives you a good view of the outdoor pool if you’re supervising young ones. For the tanners, there’s plenty of grass space next to the outdoor pool, but bring a towel as the grass becomes a little dry as the temperatures soar (as well as your sunscreen – the noontime sun is HARSH!).
5. Cost of a Billabong/Paddle Pop ice cream: We’re back to economical prices at the COP, with a group-of-hungry-kids-friendly price of $1.30.
All in all, Civic Pool is an awesomely summery Canberra pool destination. From the divers to the sliders, the pop music lovers to the tanners and lap swimmers, there really is something for everyone here… as long as you don’t mind the sound of happiness when expressed at the TOP OF CHILDREN’S LUNGS AHHHHHHH! And if you do mind it… well, just get in early ;). For more information, visit the website.
Until 2014!!! xoxo, Dunja.
I’d particularly love to hear from anyone who’s been brave enough to jump off the 5m or 10m diving boards! What’s it like?! I’m too much of a wuss myself…