In the subtropical climate of Australia, outdoor swimming pools are a common addition to many households. A staggering 1.2 million homes in Australia have a swimming pool – the highest per capita rate of pool ownership in the world.
Residents on Lord Howe Island, however, don’t need to play a part in this national statistic. The topographical features of the island have blessed them with one of the largest, open aired, solar heated swimming pools in the country – the Lord Howe Island Lagoon.
It’s a pool where kids can still pull off knee high bombs from the jetty. There’s a deep end, a shallow end and it’s crystal clear and clean. No chemicals, no lifeguards and no painted swimming lanes. Yes, it’s maybe one of the best outdoor swimming pools in the country and the ‘go-to’ on Lord Howe, but if you’re after something a little more secluded, secret and almost guaranteed to be empty, head to the other side of the island, to the ‘Brook at Blinky’.
Blinky Beach attracts the explosive cyclogenesis weather beasts from the east. It’s a sucker for swell and notorious for nasty beach breaks. Cushioned between the mellow peaks of Transit and Intermediate hills, the white sandy smile-shaped beach holds a surprise or two up its sleeve.
If we were to attach medical stigmas to Lord Howe’s natural features, Blinky could be diagnosed as bi-polar. Rise up over her lip and you’ll come face to face with her salty spray on a windy wild day. Inhospitable and fear inducing, on these days, there’s nothing to see here but a tormented frothing ocean machine of white washing turbulence.
Cue a new day and Blinky’s alluring mystique reveals a calm oasis – seductive and intoxicatingly beautiful in every way. On a day like this, these types of beaches, surrounded by brooding mountains, are a rare find anywhere in Australia. It’s a scene worthy of the cover shot on any award winning travel magazine.
Down the southern end of the beach, towards Muttonbird Point, an underwater puzzle of joy awaits the intrepid explorer. Half moon is a stretch of reef that arcs out from the beach, providing the perfect underwater contour to hug closely with a snorkel and mask in hand. The countless crevasses carved out by centuries of swells, now home to the multitude of fish who have staked their sovereign claim to these rocks.
On a receding low tide, there’s a stretch of reef which is exposed in all its glory, revealing a conspicuous outdoor swimming pool. This little slice of paradise is known as ‘The Brook’. At a guess, it’s around 40 metres long and 10 metres wide. It has a sandy bottom and on average it’s around 2 metres deep from end to end, the perfect outdoor lap pool. As a bonus, the walls to this natural swimming pool are coral lined, with self contained worlds of marine life.
It’s a glorious find on an island teaming with natural bundles of wonder. It’s the equivalent of Lord Howe’s own infinity pool, although the locals will probably keep it off the next national data-driven census. There’s no benefit in recording this natural pool, just enjoy a little splash of statistical anonymity.