There’s something truly magical about rock pools – they’re set against gorgeous beach backdrops, filled with crystal clear tidal waters and are the ideal temperature for a dip on a hot summers day.
Even if you aren’t swimming, exploring these pools is just as fun. Tidal rock pools are a mecca for marine life like starfish, crabs and octopus providing a great snapshot of marine life.
The Barrington Coast is blessed to have some gorgeous rock pools dotted along our 190km coastline. Here are our top 10.
WARNING: Tidal rock pools can be unpredictable and are rarely patrolled. Always swim with caution and always check depth before jumping in to any unfamiliar water.
1. Burgess Beach, Forster
It’s no surprise that the rocky formations that make up Forster’s Burgess Beach are home to some of the region’s most amazing rock pools for marine life, swimming and the perfect Insta shot.
You will find many shallow pools in the northern end of the beach which are great for spotting marine life that have been trapped by the tidal waters. The shallow pools are also great for kids as most are protected from the incoming swell.
2. Fairy Pool, Forster
For those looking to be rewarded for some effort, this pool is the one. Located a short bush walk at the base of the rock walls between Burgess and McBrides Beach lays a stunning single, sandy bottom pool of crystal-clear water. The walk to get this pool is the trickiest bit. Follow the track at the end of Burgess Road down to the waters edge before a climb back up through the scrub. Once at the top you can view the pool below you at an opening in the vegetation. Continue along through the bush, before descending to the rocky beach below. Double back along the rockface to the pool. Now you’re ready to enjoy this private oasis.
3. Crystal Pools, Hallidays Point
One the locals won’t be happy about us sharing! The Crystal Pools at Hallidays Point are located around the headland at the Ocean Baths at Black Head. These are very popular with local kids and on their day are a beautiful spot for a dip on a hot summers day.
Access is best at low tide with an offshore wind.
4. Little Gibber, Myall Lakes National Park
It’s not just the rock pools that make Little Gibber worth adding to your Barrington Coast bucket list. Located in the southern area of Myall Lakes National Park, the rocky outcrop (Gibber) provides shelter from the north east winds that are frequent in the warmer months. This leaves the beach and rock pools calm and crystal clear. The rocks also provide a safe and protected place to snorkel.
5. The Tanks, Forster
The Tanks is a rock formation along the Bicentennial Walk that forms a beautiful rock pool for fun family swimming and snorkelling.
The name “The Tanks” comes from a collection of steel ship’s tanks, which were located at this location during the construction of the Forster breakwall in the 1890's. The water tanks filled the steam engine trains which carried the quarried rocks from Bennetts Head to the present breakwall.
At high tide The Tanks are full of water. As the tide falls it reveals the sand underneath the surface. The majority of the swimming area is protected by the incoming swell by the rock formations. The waves crashing over the rocks provide great entertainment for kids when swimming here.
6. Pebbly Beach, Forster
Just a stones (or pebble) throw from the Tanks is Pebbly Beach. There is plenty of sand despite its name, and the beach offers long stretches of round ocean-polished rocks for great snorkelling.
At the northern end below second head are some rock formations that in the right conditions can produce crystal clear rock pools, perfect for cooling off in the warmer months.
7. Number One Beach, Seal Rocks
You’ll find rock pools aplenty at either end of Seal Rocks' Number One Beach. The southern end you will find an inlet of water between the rocks that fill up at high tide. The tidal waters leave a sandy bottomed pool perfect for kids.
The pools of the northern end along the rock face are definitely for the more adventurous! The rocky headlands are home to some hidden beaches and small rocky outcrops dotted with pools. You will need to walk up the beach towards the headlands and then navigate the rocks. It is best to attempt this at low tide.
8. Boat Beach, Seal Rocks
Just around the corner from Number One Beach is the Boat Beach. The beach is beautiful enough but if it’s rocks pools you’re chasing then be ready for a short swim to Statis Rock. 200m from the beach lies Statis Rock, with several rock pools dotted along the eastern edge. Be ready for some rocks scrambling to get to them.
9. Tuncurry Rock Pool
Ok, so this isn't a natural rock pool but we couldn't not include it! The Tuncurry Rock Pool was originally constructed as a sand and wave trap. It soon became a popular swimming spot and remains a family favourite come summer time.
Recent upgrades to the promenade have made the rock pool more accessible for all. While the water does look calm, the tidal nature of the lake does mean the area is subject to currents and tidal surges and swimmers do need to take caution. A safety net with floatation buoys is in place in to provide an extra barrier to swimmers who may be caught out by the changing conditions.
10. Diamond Head and Kylies Beach, Crowdy Bay National Park
Crowdy Bay National Park’s rugged coastline is dotted with pristine rockpools. While you will see many of them along the Diamond Head Loop Track, your best bet is at either end of the walk. The rock formations at the Diamond Head Campground create many a rockpool, with tides forming new pools each day. The northern end of Kylies Beach has some small pools below the walking track. More often than not you will be the only one on the beach.