On a hot summer’s day, nothing beats water play to cool off and keep the kids happy. Charlestown Swim Centre is especially good for those with toddlers and preschoolers. Run by Lake Macquarie City Council, Charlestown swimming pool has facilities the whole family will enjoy. The swim centre boasts outdoor heated 25m and 50m pools, and a fantastic toddler splash pad for the small folk.
In our family (with a 3-year-old and 5-year-old), the toddler splash pad is always the big highlight of the trip. The focal point of the splash pad is a big water ring which squirts water from all directions – lots of fun to run through!
Water fountains create dome-shaped waterfalls that are perfect for toddlers to hide underneath and play in.
Water jets also spurt from the ground in some spots on the splash pad, and if you stand over one, it makes others spurt up higher. This is a great way for toddlers to learn about cause and effect.
Slightly older kids might like to try turning the hose-like water feature mounted on a pole – keep your distance from this one if you don’t have your swimmers on, or you will get wet! Older brothers and parents are prime targets for spraying.
At the far end of the splash pad is a large pole with three tipping buckets which gradually fill up and empty out at different times. These are great fun for the older kids that know what’s coming, but keep an eye on little toddlers because they may get a bit of a shock if they’re caught out under a bucket.
The water on the splash pad is on a timer, and will stop now and then to conserve water. If this happens, just push the button on the pole nearby and it will restart.
As a parent, I love the splash pad because it is a separate, fully fenced area from the rest of the pool complex. The splash pad itself is covered by a big fabric sail, and there is some bench seating around the edges for parents that want to sit and watch. Council has also installed some large umbrellas on the adjacent grassed area, which are a perfect spot for a picnic or some morning tea.
The pools at the swim complex are good for older children who are confident swimmers, and there is always a lane dedicated to recreational swimming. The 25m pool is shallower than the 50m pool, but is still a minimum of 1.1m deep, so parents will need to get in with younger kids.
There is a big grassy area behind the 50m pool, with a few picnic tables and some free barbecue facilities. There is also a café at the swim centre, offering barista-made coffees, ice cream, hot food and a variety of other options. Bring your Keep Cup!
Charlestown Pool is located at Dickinson Street, Charlestown and is open all year round (except Good Friday and Christmas Day). There is a car park at the swim centre, or you can park on the street.
Children under 5 have free entry to the pool. Children over 5 years are $4 and adults are $6.50 at the time of writing.
Website: Charlestown Swim Centre
Address: Dickinson Street, Charlestown
Ideal Age: Toddlers, pre-schoolers, young school-aged kids
Public Toilets: Yes
Water Fountain: I didn’t notice one, but there are taps on-site to fill water bottles
Picnic Facilities: Picnic benches and sheltered picnic tables
Nearby Cafe: Café Baaduka is on-site
Alex moved to Newcastle with her family in 1998 and has called Newcastle home ever since. Alex is a mum to two busy boys who keep her on her toes. She has worn a few different hats over the years but is currently working part-time as a practice manager for an engineering consultancy. Alex loves travel, indoor plants and exploring rockpools at the beach with the kids.