Pools of Canberra: Manuka Pool



Check out my latest blogging adventure, Pools of Canberra!  Here’s a taste of what’s to come all summer long, as I circumnavigate Canberra’s 10-odd public pools and rate them according to kid-to-adult ratio, tanning opportunities, the price of Paddle Pops, and more!  This one’s about Canberra’s first public swimming hole, Manuka Pool:

As Canberra’s first public pool, I thought it appropriate to start my summer foray into the pools of Canberra with Manuka.  Originally called ‘The Swimming Pool’, Manuka Pool replaced the Molonglo, Murrimbidgee and Cotter Rivers as Canberra’s favourite swimming hole in 1931.  Built in the Federal Art Deco style by architect E H Henderson, Manuka Pool is a quaint but gorgeous open-air complex that would make any rockabilly kid’s heart flutter with retro charm.  Get your high-waisted bikinis and Ray Ban sunnies out and make a day of it, peeps!


1.  Cost of entry:  kids/students/concession: $4.50, adults: $5.50.
2.  Water quality and prettiness of the building/surrounds:  The water’s clean and won’t make your new blonde ‘do turn green from chlorine; the only issue would be the few leaves and twigs falling into the pool from the trees that overhang from next door.  The art deco building is super cute and provides plenty of sitting space close to the water, while the grassy area outside (complete with a kids wading pool and a makeshift volleyball net, lol) provides a great balance of shady and sunny areas for relaxing.
3.  Ratio of kids to adults:  The day I went, the demographic was approximately one third kids, one third adolescents/20-somethings, and one third adults – pretty good.  Not too much screaming, either.
4.  Tanning opportunities:  Speaking as an unabashed tanning fiend, I was really happy with the offerings at MP.  Both inside the building (on the concrete surrounding the pool) or in the grassy area outside (on… the grass), I managed to get about a shade darker in only two hours.  Totally acceptable.  Just remember to slip, slop, slap, people!  Tanning through sunscreen is the only way to go!
5.  Price of a Billabong/Paddle Pop ice cream:  $1.50 for a Billabong Triple Swirl.  Mmmmmm artificial banana flavouring…..

Overall, an excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and easy, too – one of Manuka Pool’s biggest strengths is its central location.  No excuses!  Check out their website for more information.


I love that poolside spitting was such an issue at some stage that they needed to make a sign about it.  Tsk tsk.

Be sure to check back at the end of the summer to see where Manuka sits in my ranking of Canberra’s Best Pools!  Until then, keep on poolin’, errybody!

xoxo, Dunja



  1. Yeah not a bad start. Had my first few swimming carnivals at Manuka as a kid. I love the old architecture of the place. Look forward to more of this blog 😀

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