What Sydneysiders call ice swimming


Young freezer – the Bondi Icebergs Winter Swimming season launch
Pic: Tracee Lea / Source: The Daily Telegraph

FACT: Yesterday Sydney was a raging 42 degrees celcius, while in Summit, Greenland last week it was reportedly minus 50 degrees.

While Sydneysiders continued to moan about the sweltering heat last night, my flatmates and I ventured out to Bondi beach and the Bondi Icebergs Club for a swim and meal. The Icebergs is somewhat of an institution in Sydney, having been established in 1929. The club also has an impressive view overlooking Bondi beach. Want to take your guests out to an affordable meal, but still with a wow-factor? Try the bistro there.

While we were tucking into our seafood platter, my housemates described to me a quirky Bondi tradition that I had never heard of. The start of each new winter bathing season commences around May each year. More than 500 people welcome it in by jumping into the 50m pool, each person carrying a block of ice. Sydney winters are apparently not cold enough at first, so they use 5 tonnes of ice to cool the water down to a chillier temperature.

Europeans always remark on how mild and short our Sydney winter is. On average, the water is 12 degrees – and yes, you’ll hardly see a soul at the beach. If they are, the joke is that they have to be German. Compared to Greenland, it sounds toasty warm, doesn’t it?

Swimmers with blocks of ice at their feet

Bondi Icebergs swimmers with blocks of ice at their feet.
Pic: Travis Drever / Source: Lonely Planet

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