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Lake Esmond, Ballarat
Swimming Hole Heaven in Victoria

Lake Esmond is a former clay quarry in Ballarat, now filled with water, that hosts the swimming leg of triathlon events run by the Ballarat Triathlon Club. At around 150 metres end to end it is possible to swim long laps, or alternatively swim hundred metre lengths in three parts along the triangular circuit used during triathlon events. Swimming in Lake Esmond, Ballarat Above: Triathletes poised to start their swim at Lake Esmond (Order this image)

There are several spots around the lake where it is possible to enter the water through gaps in the reeds, but the easiest is at the eastern end, where a twenty metre section of reeds has been cleared. You can reach the eastern end of the lake from an unnamed road off Lal Lal Street. At this location the entry into the water is gradual for the first few metres away from the shore, then deepens quickly. During my visit the water was clear, but the clay on the bottom quickly stirred up to remove any visibility near the shore as soon as I stepped into the water.

The lake is also popular for dog walking and fishing, with one local angler indicating that there was redfin and rainbow trout in the lake. Swimming in Lake Esmond, Ballarat Above: Triathletes doing laps in Lake Esmond (Order this image)

At the western end of the lake I noticed a no swimming icon on the locality sign for Lake Esmond. On checking this by phone with the Ballarat City Council, they advised me (21/3/2022) that this was an advisory sign to warn people of the "Deep cold untreated water", but that swimming here was not prohibited.

I also noticed what looked like a couple of small urban stormwater drains on the southern side of the lake, so I would avoid swimming here in the first 48 hours after rainfall, to avoid any potential poorer water quality for swimmers.

Here is a video of my swim at Lake Esmond. It was taken in March after a relatively wet summer.

Other Information Before You Go:
Location: Lal Lal St, Canadian, 3 km south-east of the Ballarat city centre and 110 km (approx. 90 minute drive) north west of the Melbourne CBD
Latitude:-37.574911 Longitude:143.873203
Getting there: From Victoria St (C805) in Ballarat head south along route C294 (Barkly St and Main Rd), then head east along Lal Lal St. Parking for the eastern end of Lake Esmond is available in a dirt road off Lal Lal St, or along Lartner St for the western end of the lake.
Facilities: Parking, playground, public barbecue, covered picnic table, uncovered picnic tables, rubbish bins, public toilets, park benches, lawn area, small jetty. A walking trail goes around the lake. Most of these facilities are at the playground on top of the hill at the eastern end of the lake.
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild to cold
Water clarity: Clear away from the shore. Can be cloudy when the lake bed is disturbed near the shore.
Under foot: Clay, gravel
Sun shade: Shade available out of the water

Opening times: Always open
Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Experienced
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: Dogs permitted but must be on a lead, and owners must clean up after their dog, no motorbikes, no fires, no consumption of alcohol, no horses.
Wheelchair access: The public toilet near the playground is not designated as wheelchair accessible, but this area has flat, hard gravel paths that would be wheelchair accessible. Some of the paths down to the lake are steep and some have steps.
Accommodation Options: There is no camping at Lake Esmond. If you want to stay overnight near this swim, you can try the following options which are all within easy walking distance of Lake Esmond:
Nearby accommodation option:Distance from swim:
Lake Esmond Place 60 m
Sovereign Views Apts 350 m
Big4 Ballarat 350 m
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.
Managing authority: City of Ballarat
Nearby attractions: Sovereign Hill is 500 metres to the west of Lake Esmond.
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 that this swimming spot has deep cold untreated water.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the car park at the eastern end of the lake where the triathlons commence. If the map is not zoomed in locally, as can sometimes occur when loading, simply click or tap on "View Larger Map" below.
View Larger Map
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