OMG! I’m not one for keeping a great place for families to myself. But I can see why Northbridge Baths is kept a secret by many! It’s a real hidden Sydney gem and you now know where you’ll most likely find me on hot day. Thank you to Hello Sydney Kids for introducing us to great spot back in 2016!
We’ve been regularly visiting Northbridge Baths for over four years now and it’s still a summer family favourite! At the moment, we really enjoy going for a BBQ after school or in the school holidays.
What’s to Love About Northbridge Baths
Here are the top 10 reasons why I fell in love with Northbridge Baths and why we keep going back as a family (and raving about it to everyone who will listen!).
Northbridge Baths is set amongst the bushland of Sailors Bay, west of Spit Bridge, on Sydney Harbour. And it has a very tranquil feel about it.
2Clean and Calm Netted Swimming on Sydney Harbour
The tidal bath is netted and calm, with a large shallow area for little ones to dig and splash in as well as swimming lanes, a boardwalk around the baths and a pontoon great for jumping off. And the water has always been crystal clear when we’ve visited!
3Free to Use
There’s no entry fee to access Northbridge Baths. And there are about 50 free (4hr) parking spaces.
It only takes us about 35mins to get there and we don’t have to travel down Military Road. Plus, we can drive there without tolls. Northbridge Baths are a close 2nd place in terms of nearest netted harbour swimming spot to the City of Parramatta. Greenwich Baths is the closest – but there’s an entry fee. (Read our Closest Beaches to Parramatta article for other options).
5Beach to Build Sand Castles
There’s a beach at low tide for kids to build sand castles on. So best to check the tide if this is important! We find going at mid-tide to be the best of both worlds.
6Shaded, Grass Area
There’s a number of mature trees at the back of Northbridge Baths that provide shade, particularly in the afternoon. At the entrance, there’s also shade sails over a few large picnic tables.
When we first started coming to Northbridge Baths, it was only me in my family jumping off the pontoon. Now that the kids are older, they can’t get enough! There’s a lower level pontoon good for younger kids and then the higher boardwalk around the top.
Always make sure to check the depth of the water before jumping! It’s deepest at the back of the baths, along the boardwalk (near the swimming lanes).
8Fish to Spot
You can see lots of small and larger fish swimming around. So bring snorkels!
Gotta love being able to cook with a view! Next to the amenities block, near the entrance, is a dual BBQ, which is free to use. We recommend bringing a reusable BBQ liner/ sheet or foil to line the BBQ. Makes it a lot easier in terms of cleaning.
There’s lots of room to spread out at Northbridge Baths! With a grassed area, step seats, boardwalk (with benches) and picnic tables, you’ve got different places to choose from to settle in.
11Other Features and Facilities
On top of all the wonderful things above, there’s also an access ramp at Northbridge Baths. Plus a change rooms and warm showers (last two in the women’s toilets).
My only wish would be for a kiosk – but then it would probably get really busy! And we’re happy with a BBQ lunch/ dinner…
Things to Keep in Mind
- The carpark is up a hill about 25 metres away from the baths. Our kids (from age 2yrs) manage walking down and up the few stairs near the carpark and sloped pavement. And it would be doable with a pram, but you will get puffed on the way back up.
- Watch out for the oyster shells! They are mostly on the pylons as well as on the seawall at the sandstone steps/ seats.
- If you have little ones, it is better visiting outside of high tide so there is a ‘beach’ for them to play on. We still have fun at any tide and it changes quickly. You can check tides here.
- If going at a low tide, remember to bring some sand toys.
- It’s also worth bringing a beach umbrella (if you can manage carrying it) as it is good to put it on the sand to give the kids some shade while they play. Or you could use it on the grassed area if you miss out on a shady spot.
- Bring your own food as there isn’t a kiosk here.
- When we first starting going a few years ago there were a few bindis in the grass but we haven’t noticed any lately and the grass is looking lovely.
- This is an unpatrolled swimming spot. There are no lifeguards on duty.
- Swimming is not recommended during rain and up to 48hrs after heavy rain has stopped. You can check water quality here.
- There is a boat hire place, Eco Boat Hire, next to the baths.
- If Northbridge isn’t your cup of tea, check out Greenwich baths. It has a more traditional beach feel.
Finding Northbridge Baths
The baths are east of Chatswood and to the west of Spit Bridge.
As you come down the steep Widgiewa Road, the carpark is on your right hand side.
To get to Northbridge Baths from the carpark, you walk down some stairs near the carpark entrance/ exit that take you back onto Widgiewa Road and then follow that down to the bottom. If you have a pram, just go back onto Widgiewa Road and turn right down the hill.