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Feelin' Swell

If there’s one thing we need in the tropical Top End, it’s a great big swimming pool, especially during the build-up and Wet season months we currently find ourselves in. In steamy times, there’s nothing quite like a refreshing dip!

By Tierney Seccull

Well, Palmerston residents and beyond, all your Christmases are set to come at once as City of Palmerston officially opens its hotly anticipated, brand-spankin' new leisure centre.

SWELL – an apt acronym for Swimming, Wellness, Events, Leisure, Lifestyle – is an aquatic lifestyle precinct unlike any other in the Northern Territory, transforming the former Palmerston Swimming and Fitness Centre into an entirely new space since work began last year. This December the wait is both over and worth it, as the gates fling open with a huge opening fun day, just in time for the school holidays.

The almost 20-million-dollar project is funded by the Australian and Northern Territory Governments, and City of Palmerston. Palmerston Mayor Athina Pascoe-Bell says the refreshed facility was created with all community members in mind.

“We’ve got a splash and play area for the little kids, the 50-metre pool has been refurbished, and there’s an additional 20-metre heated pool which is suitable for things like swimming lessons and aqua aerobics. Everyone from a very young age right through the seniors can enjoy it.”

The improved state-of-the-art facility features fully accessible changerooms, disabled ramps with access points to both pools, diving platforms, a basketball half court and shaded lawn areas. Adding to the buzz is a two-storey Adventure Aquatic play zone, the first of its kind in Australia, something the Palmerston Mayor says is sure to make a splash.

“It’s really exciting! You can run a two-level obstacle course, whilst wearing a harness, and it has wet elements to keep you cool, as well as cannons and buckets you can tip on yourself or your friends."

SWELLHeat in the Top End plays such a huge part of our lifestyle, heavily impacting how we spend our days and our money. The Palmerston Mayor says it’s important residents and visitors have access to affordable cooling spaces.

“Having those facilities available means people have choices for leisure – not just being stuck at home in the air-conditioning or seeking shelter in the library or the shopping centre because it’s too hot. It gives people an opportunity to cool down and enjoy themselves, and it also provides a significant health benefit to the community.”

That it does. Recent studies by the Commonwealth Government revealed that every dollar invested in local swimming pools saved taxpayers $14 in health costs down the track. And it’s not just about the physical health benefits, but the mental health benefits, too.

If that wasn’t enough to get you reaching for the bathers, togs, swimmers or Budgie Smugglers, SWELL has placed a freeze on entry fees until the end of 2026, giving residents and visitors three years to use the facilities. For free.

“Several years ago, we realised there was a section of our community that wasn’t able to access the [old] swimming pool because of the entry fee … Once we lifted the fee, we had three times the number of people using the facility,” Pascoe-Bell says.

“We knew it was going to work as a free facility, and as it was open to everyone in the community, we could attract people who had never used the pool before.”

With plenty of spaces to beat the heat, all beneath a million dollars of shade infrastructure, you’ll feel well at SWELL. Round up the crew and make a splash this tropical summer!

SWELL Official Opening
WHEN SUN 17 DEC | 12-9PM 

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