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Buchan Caves, East Gippsland
Swimming Hole Heaven in Victoria

The A.E. Lind swimming pool in the Buchan Caves Reserve is a pool forged out of the bed rock that fills from a natural underground stream. The underground water trickles in through the Dukes Cave outlet in one corner of the pool, and spills back into a local tributary of the Buchan River. This means that the water in the pool is always fresh and clean, having been filtered in its journey through the limestone caves. Swimming at Buchan Caves Reserve Above: The cave fed pool at the Buchan Caves Reserve (Order this image)

The water is chilled in this giant rock refrigerator making it excruciatingly cold in the morning and only for the brave hearted at other times. It is an exhilarating experience that makes your senses come alive, listening to the stream trickle peacefully into the pool while you watch starlings hurtle in and out of the cave at breakneck speed.

The pool itself is around 10 metres wide and 15 metres long. There is a lawn area beside the pool and plenty of seats by the pool side. Buchan Caves Reserve is a great family holiday destination and I have fond memories of visiting the caves and feeding the numerous kangaroos that come to feed in the camping ground at dusk. Guided tours of the two main caves are available every day. There are also many walks from the reserve, ranging from less than an hour to full day walks. Swimming at Buchan Caves Reserve Above: Icy water from the cave outlet flowing into the pool (Order this image)

Below is a video that I took of swimming in the pool in January, including a water temperature reading at the Dukes Cave outlet into the pool to see exactly how cold the water really is. To put the temperature reading in the video in context, you can compare it with my list of indoor pool water temperatures around Melbourne which also lists temperatures for Port Phillip Bay and the San Francisco Bay. The good news is that the Buchan Caves Reserve pool is not as cold as the swim from Alcatraz.

Other Information Before You Go:
Location: Caves Rd, Buchan Caves Reserve, Buchan, 350 km (approx. 4 hr 20 mins drive) east of the Melbourne CBD
Latitude:-37.494547 Longitude:148.167845
Getting there: From the Princes Hwy at Bairnsdale take the Lakes Entrance bypass route via Bruthen (along the Great Alpine Rd) then the Bruthen-Buchan Rd to Buchan. In Buchan turn left up Caves Rd and the pool is a few hundred metres on the left hand side. Park next to the Cottonwood tree just over the little bridge about 20 metres past the pool.
Facilities: Public toilets, cold shower, change rooms, pool fence, car parking, camping ground, rubbish bins, bicycle parking
Entrance fee: None

Water temperature: Cold
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Rock and concrete
Sun shade: Limited to no shade available
Opening times: Restricted opening times. Open 9am to 5pm during Christmas and Easter holiday periods. Exact dates are not specified by the managing authority.
Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency suggested: Beginners
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No diving, no bombing, no drinks in glass, no misuse of the lifebuoy, do not drink the water, children must be accompanied by an adult, do not feed the kangaroos, no cats or dogs, no firearms, no horse riding
Wheelchair access: Generally accessible to wheelchairs. Submerged hand railing around perimeter of the pool. Camping ground toilets have wheelchair access.
Accommodation Options: Camping is available at the Buchan Caves Reserve, which is managed by Parks Victoria. Alternatively, you can try accommodation in Buchan. I have stayed at both the campground and the Buchan Valley Log Cabins (as a paying customer) and enjoyed both.
Managing authority: Parks Victoria
Nearby attractions: Cave tours, including adventure caving run by Parks Victoria if you plan ahead, and W Tree Falls 20 km to the north of Buchan.
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the pool.
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© Brad Neal 2019. All rights reserved.