MERCURY SERIES - Saltwater Sanctuaries
The natural rock formations of Kiama's Blowhole Point rock pool have been attracting tourists to Kiama since the 1880s.
But it is not just tourists who enjoy the pool, with its sweeping views across to Bombo and north across the Illawarra.
Kiama locals love it too, although some choose to go elsewhere during the busy summer months to avoid the crowds.
Located at the southern side of the harbour, not far from the Kiama Blowhole, the pool is irregular in shape, with variable depth and natural rock floor.
In the early days it was a men-only pool, complementing ladies' baths at Pheasant Point on the opposite side of the harbour.
Bill Short, of Jamberoo, spent 40 minutes on his bike riding to the Blowhole Point rock pool for a swim yesterday morning.
"It is a beautiful pool, built into the basalt and frequented by all sorts of people," Mr Short said.
"It faces north with spectacular 180-degree views ... you could have watched the stack come down from here."
Bill Chalmers is part of the Kiama Ice Kubes, a group of hardy swimmers that since 1980 has kept the Blowhole Point Pool in use all year round.
The clubs season starts in May and runs through to grand final day.
"Some people complain about the oysters in here, but they help keep it clean," he said.
Mr Chalmers used to run swimming carnivals in the old Kiama Olympic Pool, built in 1934 on the northern side of the harbour as part of a Depression-era unemployment relief project.
According to Kiama Municipal Council, a number of rock pools have been constructed on or near the Pheasant Point site since 1877.
The existing pool, now known as the Continental Pool, incorporates the northern section of the old Olympic pool.
The Olympic pool was filled in following the opening of the Kiama Leisure Centre in 1982, which includes a 25-metre heated pool.