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The Blowhole, Hepburn Springs
Swimming Hole Heaven in Victoria

Timing is everything with swimming at The Blow Hole as the seasonal window for swimming is quite short. When Sailors Creek is running high and The Blowhole is blowing fierce, the swirling water at the tunnel outlet is too turbulent for swimming. When Sailors Creek is bone dry, as it usually is in summer and autumn, the pool for swimming can quickly become stagnant, contract and even dry up completely. The best swimming conditions are when water is flowing through the tunnel as a gentle, but steady flow, typically a few days to a couple of weeks after reasonable rainfall. Swimming at The Blowhole in Hepburn Springs Above: The shallow pool beneath the Blowhole (Order this image)

The pool itself is around 10 metres across in each direction, with a shallow entry point from the viewing area on the bank opposite the tunnel outlet. Diving is prohibited, as the pool can be quite shallow in parts. You can also swim or relax in the creek upstream of the tunnel, which has several large boulders to lean against, although on my last visit the walking track to access the creek here was closed. According to information boards on site, the 20 metre tunnel was constructed in the 1870s to allow miners to fossick for gold in the dry horshoe bend that was cut off by the tunnel. Given that the creek can be naturally dry for several months of the year, the benefit of the tunnel would have been marginal, and was constructed at a time when other areas had already been picked over. If you are interested in gold mining activities in the area and want to stretch your legs, The Blowhole is located along the 160 km Goldfields Track that runs all the way from Creswick to Ballarat. Swimming at The Blowhole in Hepburn Springs Above: The riffles at the pool outlet at the Blowhole (Order this image)

This swimming hole did not make it into my top 50 swims in Victoria. The main reason being the short window for good swimming. If you are visiting, bring your swimming gear, but don't count on being able to swim every time you visit. If this is the case, just enjoy this site for the short walk and the mining history.
Other Information Before You Go:
Location: Hepburn Regional Park, Blowhole Rd, Hepburn Springs, 120 km (approx. 1 hr 30 min drive) north west of the Melbourne CBD.
Latitude:-37.308966 Longitude:144.118363
Getting there: From Melbourne head out along the Western Fwy. Exit north from the Western Fwy (M8) at Ballan along the Ballan-Daylesford Rd (C141), passing through both Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. From the Hepburn Springs town centre, head north and then east along Main Road. Turn left at Eighteenth Street, and then right after 1.4 km into Blowhole Road. Blowhole Road is a 1.4 km dirt road that leads to the Blowhole carpark. The road was suitable for 2WD vehicles at the time of my visit. From the car park it is a 100 m walk to the viewing platform.
Facilities: Car parking, viewing platforms, walking trails
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Rock, stones and gravel

Maximum water depth: 1-2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Experienced
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No horseriding, no bicycles, no trail bikes, no diving, fires only permitted in the fire places provided, no access to cliff edges. Dogs permitted but must be on a lead.
Sun shade: Shade available out of the water
Opening times: Always open except for park closures for safety reasons during extreme weather.
Wheelchair access: Disabled parking space, but numerous steps down to the viewing platforms.
Accommodation Options: There is no camping at The Blowhole, with the only designated camping area in the Hepburn Regional Park at the Mt Franklin Reserve, which is only accessible by road from The Blowhole. If you are planning to stay overnight in the area you can try other accomodation near this swim.
Managing authority: Parks Victoria
Nearby attractions: The rest of Hepburn Regional Park including Sailors Falls.
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions. The managing authority advises for this site to not venture off designated walking trails due to the numerous concealed and fragile mine shafts and diggings in the area.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the location of the car park at The Blowhole.
Change of Conditions:
According to the managing authority, "the visitor area at the Blow Hole is closed due to damage caused by heavy rainfall to the area", mainly because of the rockfalls at the tunnel inlet and outlet. This advice commenced on 1 December 2016 and is current as of 15 Feb 2020. Parks Victoria have announced that works to allow visitor access are commencing in 2020. If you see that it has been re-opened before I do, please send me a message via the comment form below.
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