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Expedition Pass Reservoir, Castlemaine
Swimming Hole Heaven in Victoria

Expedition Pass Reservoir is a popular swimming and fishing spot near Castlemaine in central Victoria. Close to Golden Point Road at the southern end of the dam wall, there is a short gap between the reeds where you can access the water via a gravel and rock beach. As long as you don't stir up the bottom, the water here is reasonably clear, and gets deep quickly away from the shore. Expedition Pass Reservoir near Castlemaine Above: The main swimming area at Expedition Pass Reservoir (Order this image)

The deep water means that it is great for swimming and floating, but not particularly suitable for inexperienced swimmers. Bring something to float on if you want to spend the afternoon here.
If this small beach is full, you can also access the water on the other side of the dam wall. Walk along the road across the wall and then cross over the spillway if it is safe to do so (don't cross if the reservoir is actually spilling). Around the corner from the spillway you will find a pine tree that provides shade in the afternoon, and an area clear of reeds. The water is again quite deep here once you move out from the shore. Expedition Pass Reservoir Above: Expedition Pass Reservoir from the other side of the dam wall (Order this image)

There is a walking track that runs around the lake, but access to the water elsewhere is fairly restricted due to the reeds that grow along the water's edge.

Here is a video of my historical re-interpretation of Major Thomas Mitchell's journey through Expedition Pass, as re-imagined by a swimming hole enthusiast:

Other Information Before You Go:
Location: Golden Point Road, Golden Point, Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park
Latitude:-37.052781 Longitude:144.275228
Getting there: From Melbourne take the Calder Fwy (M79) to the Elphinstone exit (B180). After exiting west towards Elphinstone, turn immediately right along Harmony Way (C794) and follow it for approximately 6 km. Just before the road goes under the Calder Fwy, turn left into Golden Point Road.
Follow this road for 1.7 km until you see the reservoir on the right hand side. There is an open area for about a dozen cars next to the road.
Facilities: None
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear (but the sediment does get stirred up in the shallows when you walk on it).
Under foot: Gravel, coarse sand and rock
Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency suggested: Experienced
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No camping, no fires, no dogs
Sun shade: Shade available out of the water
Opening times: Always open
Wheelchair access: None
Managing authority: Parks Victoria
Film and TV: The 2017 TV series Glitch (Season 2) about zombies featured two of the main characters swimming at Expedition Pass Reservoir in the first episode, as well as photoshopping a colonial tall ship into the reservoir in a subsequent episode to replicate an Australian sea port from the early 19th century.
Nearby attractions: Turpins Falls approximately 20 km to the south-east.
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions. Specific to this site, the managing authority advises that there is deep water and that limbs can fall from the trees.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the location of the parking area next to the main entry point to the water. If the map is not zoomed in locally, as can occur with some browsers, simply click or tap on "View Larger Map" below.
View Larger Map
Here is one field report from a regular swimmer at Expedition Pass Reservoir:

Comment:"We go here heaps. There is a really cool swing that goes out far over the water. Because the riverbed drops off so quickly, its safe to drop in reasonably close to shore. This isn't a good spot for little kids to swim in my opinion, but one of my friends has a pontoon they drag around and it is mega fun for this. The sunset views here are spectacular, especially when you're in a kayak in the middle of the water and the sky is painted with fire and is echoed in the water." - Sophie from Kyneton, Australia 25/2/2021.

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