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Macedon Reservoir
Swimming Hole Heaven in Victoria

Slip out from under the pine trees into a 300 metre wide swim in this former steam engine supply reservoir on Riddells Creek in Macedon, also known as "The Res". This swimming spot is well suited to very warm days due to its extensive natural shade, both in and out of the water, from the lakeside pine plantation. Macedon Reservoir Above: Macedon Reservoir from underneath the pine trees (Order this image)

Finding this swimming lake can be a little difficult for three reasons. Firstly, it is not named on the online map that most people use in their GPS. Secondly, when it has been named, there are some discrepancies in what the lake is called.
Heritage documents refer to it as "Middle Gully Reservoir", with Middle Gully being the original name of the township of Macedon.

One nearby accommodation provider referred to it as "Greg's Hidden Lake", whilst locals have referred to it online simply as "The Res". You can however find it named as "The Res" in the greatest streetmap ever produced: The Melways. Lastly, as Greg perceptively noticed, this lake is hidden in that it is not signposted and is not readily visible from the road. Middle Gully Reservoir, Macedon Above: The precarious climb up to the rope swing over shallow water at Middle Gully Reservoir, Macedon (Order this image)

The lake is accessible from Nursery Road, immediately west of the railway bridge, where you will find a few makeshift car spaces and a turning circle in the trees beside the road. For the best spot to swim, head across to the northern shore, either by foot along the walking trail that runs around the lake (as I did), or you can possibly try by car along the dirt roads that run through the pine plantation.
It is on the northern shore that you will find a large cleared area underneath the pine trees, with direct entry to open water free of reeds. There is even a rope swing, however the climb up the tree requires good balance and bravery, and the water directly underneath the swing can be quite shallow, so it is not without its risks, particularly when water levels are lower. Visibility in the water is poor, with mud and silt under foot. Inflatables are well advised, especially since you can float in the water all day in the shade.

According to a 1994 study of cultural heritage and landscape, the lake dates from at least 1860, when it was used to provide water for the steam engines on the Echuca Railway Line that still runs behind the lake today.

There are no facilities at the lake, so you will need to bring everything with you and take it all home (including your rubbish) when you leave.

Here is a video that I took when visiting the lake when it was full, in between the v/line trains going past.

Other Information Before You Go:
Location: Macedon Regional Park, Nursery Road, Macedon, 70 km (approx. 1 hr drive) north west of the Melbourne CBD
Latitude:-37.416496 Longitude:144.559720
Getting there: From Melbourne head along the Calder Fwy (M79) and turn off at the Macedon exit (route C792), not the Mt Macedon exit (C322). From the exit head east for 800 metres then turn left down Nursery Road for a further 800 metres. The bush parking area is on your left, just before you reach the railway bridge. From there, walk around the lake in an anti-clockwise direction to reach the swimming spot. Alternatively, you can navigate your way around the dirt roads through the pine plantation along Log Dump and Collins Rd to park at the swimming spot. Lastly, if you are staying in Macedon, there is a bike path that runs down to the lake that I followed at least as far as the primary school in town.

Facilities: None, so bring everything you need and take all your rubbish home with you
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Murky
Under foot: Mud and silt
Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Experienced due to the poor visibility and reasonably steep slope into the water. Inexperienced swimmers could wade into the water under supervision.
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No fires, no alcohol, no camping. Dogs are permitted and it is a popular dog walk around the lake.
Sun shade: Shade available in and out of the water
Opening times: Always open
Wheelchair access: No wheelchair access to the water from Nursery Road. You can park at the water's edge if driving to the northern shore of the lake via the dirt roads that run through the pine plantation.
Film and TV: The northern side of the lake under the pine trees was the trailer park location in the 2022 film Blacklight, starring Liam Neeson.
Managing authority: Parks Victoria manages the western portion of the lake, V/Line manages the eastern portion of the lake, and HVP Plantations manages the north-western shore of the lake.
Nearby attractions: Stanley Park Falls, 3 km to the north-east at the base of Mt Macedon.
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 parking area off Nursery Road on the southern side of the lake. 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
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