There are two designated swimming areas at Lake Buffalo, but which one is best for swimming? As you reach Lake Buffalo, first you will encounter the main
recreation area on the eastern shore of the lake. The facilities here are great, including a boat ramp, barbecues, picnic tables and toilets, so it is the preferred
swimming location if you think you will need these facilities.
Above: The designated swimming area on the eastern shore of Lake Buffalo
(Order this image)
Entry to the water is gradual and you can swim quite long distances once away from the shore,
with a view of the dam wall and the surrounding hills. However, the swimming area is bounded by weeds at either end, and whilst the water is
crystal clear, the silt on the lake bed here is easily disturbed, and clouds the water quickly in the shallows. I personally only swim here on days
when the alternative swimming area is closed.
For a quieter and more relaxing swim, drive across the dam wall and up to the Marshall's Ridge Recreation Area on the western shore of the lake. The swimming
area here is similar to that at the main boat ramp, but is weed free, with better views of the surrounding mountains. The water is clean and shallow close to the shore,
with excellent visibility most of the time. Best of all, it feels fresh, but because the lake
is relatively shallow and the water has had a little bit of time to warm up in the sun, it is not ice cold like the surrounding rivers.
At Marshall's Ridge you can park your car about 20 metres from the water, with a lawn leading down to the water's edge. Note that Marshall's Ridge can be closed
over winter and on previous visits has not re-opened until late spring.
Above: The shoreline at Marshalls Ridge Picnic Area
(Order this image)
Boating and fishing are also permitted at the lake.
Here is a video that I took on two separate visits to Lake Buffalo, exploring both sides of the lake. On both occasions the water levels were
fairly high, but during my visit to Marshall's Ridge, you can see that the reservoir was just starting to draw down from its full supply level.
Other Information Before You Go:
Buffalo River Rd, 25km south of Myrtleford and 320 km (approx. 4 hr drive)
north east of the Melbourne CBD
Take the Hume Fwy (M31) to Wangaratta then the Great Alpine Road (B500) to Myrtleford, and then follow the signs to
Lake Buffalo in the direction of Dandongadale.
Pebbles and sand
Shade available out of the water
The swimming area on the eastern shore is always open. Marshall's Ridge can be closed over winter
until late spring.
Facilities, maximum water depth, minimum swimming proficiency required, and prohibitions including
whether you can bring your dog: Order the full guide
Area is generally flat and open. Boat ramp could provide access to the water.
There is no camping around the lake at Lake Buffalo. If you are planning to stay overnight in the area near this swim, you can try
the following options. All distances below are by road, not as the crow flies, with Myrtleford being the nearest town centre.
Booking your accommodation via these links may result in a commission (at no additional cost to the price of the linked item) to swimmingholeheaven.com
that helps maintain and enhance this website.
Mt Buffalo National Park, noting however that the main road access to the park is on the other side
of Mount Buffalo, about a 45 minute drive away.
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 marker indicates the approximate location of the Marshalls Ridge Picnic Area. 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 a quick comment I received from a local swimmer after visiting the lake:
Comment:"Love the quiet side of the lake. Brilliant and great video. Thanks."
- Suzanne S. from Bright, Victoria, Australia 5/2/2021.
If you would like to leave a comment about this swimming spot, please fill in the comment box below. I'm particularly interested in your
experiences after visiting, and any changes in swimming conditions. All fields are required if you would like your comments published on this website.