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Dawny To Cockatoo swim
Sun, 19 Nov 2017
Dawny to Cockatoo swim is a chance to dive into Sydney’s history.
It’s a swim from the Dawn Fraser Pool at Balmain to or around Cockatoo Island and back, depending on the distance you choose.
If you’ve ever wanted to swim in the majestic Sydney Harbour but have been hesitant for any reason, this is your chance to do it.
And let us assure you that if you have any fears about the cleanliness of the water in the harbour, forget them; the water is as clean as it has ever been.
The minimum age for this swim is 14.
A world heritage listed site
The crux of the Dawny to Cockatoo swim is the lap around Sydney’s UNESCO world-heritage listed site, Cockatoo Island.
In Sydney’s early years, it operated as a gaol and held convicts who had reoffended after arriving in Australia.
It was then the site of one of the country’s largest shipyards, operating all the way until 1991.
In 1991, a lot of the major buildings were demolished after it was closed, but some buildings remained.
It was proclaimed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2010 because of its significant place in Sydney’s history.
This swim is a brilliant chance to take in some of the sites around the island, and Sydney Harbour, in a way very few people do.
The 2.4km course in Dawny to Cockatoo swim takes you from the Dawn Fraser Pool at Balmain around Cockatoo Island, and back.
The shorter 1.1km course takes you to Cockatoo Island and back.
Each part of this swim gives you a chance to take in a bit of Sydney’s colonial history, from the magnificent houses on the water, to Cockatoo Island itself.
It’s a harbour swim, so the course should be smooth sailing, aside from the occasional current.
Both swims start within a few minutes of each other so they can avoid the ferry schedule to Cockatoo Island, so unfortunately it’s impossible to do both swims on the day.
1.1km to Cockatoo and back
The shorter 1.1km swim takes you around the buoys to Cockatoo Island and back.
2.4km around Cockatoo Island
The main swim takes you from the Dawn Fraser Pool at Balmain around Cockatoo Island, and back.
While you’re there
After the Dawny to Cockatoo swim is all completed, in most years breakfast is available, often featuring sausage and egg rolls, as well as fresh fruit platters.
The inner-western suburb of Balmain is one of Sydney’s oldest neighbourhoods and you can lose a whole day walking the streets of the old town, stopping in at the speciality shops, cafes and restaurants.
Head into the town for brunch at Bar Contessa (a slice of NY), the local favourite Kazbah, or for a drink the Balmain Hotel.
Travel and parking
Parking is pretty tight around this area with no carparks as such.
You could catch the ferry to Balmain and add a walk through the town on either side of your swim – you won’t be disappointed.