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Lake Nillahcootie
Swimming Hole Heaven in Victoria

When I visited Lake Nillahcootie I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of access to the water, clean sand under foot, warm water in the shallows and the expansive views of the surrounding State Park. There is a designated swimming area on the western side of the lake in the picnic area, about 200 metres south of the dam wall. Swimming at Lake Nillahcootie Above: The view from the designated swimming area towards the boat ramp (Order this image)

You need to wade out for some distance if you want a swim in deeper water, or play in the shallows at whatever depth you like. As with all irrigation storages, water levels often drop to low levels in late summer and autumn, so spring or early summer is the best time to visit, particularly in dry years. Lake Nillahcootie is shallower than other major irrigation storages in Victoria and has no snowmelt from catchments upstream, so the water heats up earlier in the year and stays relatively warm. This makes it one of the best spots for a swim in early spring when other lakes are still too cold to swim in. The corollary of this is a greater tendency for these shallow, warm waters to generate algal blooms in late summer and early autumn, however the managing authority erects warning signs when this occurs. Swimming at Lake Nillahcootie Above: A shady spot on the sandy shores of Lake Nillahcootie (Order this image)

The cove immediately to the left of the designated swimming area has many submerged trees, visible when the water level drops, so steer clear of this area.

On summer weekends this is a popular water skiing and fishing location, but if you are passing by on a weekday, the lake can be positively tranquil.
Other Information Before You Go:
Location: Midland Hwy, Lima South, 200 km (approx. 2 hr 45 mins drive) north east of the Melbourne CBD
Latitude:-36.857259 Longitude:146.004400
Getting there: Take Maroondah Hwy from Melbourne and turn north into the Midland Hwy at Maindample. The swimming area is on the western side of the lake.
Facilities: Picnic tables, car park, lawns, toilets, boat ramp
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Coarse sand

Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Beginners
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No boats with sleeping or toilet facilities allowed. Dogs permitted.
Sun shade: Shade available out of the water
Opening times: Open 8am to sunset
Wheelchair access: Yes to picnic area. The water is often at some distance from the shore and could be difficult to reach without assistance.
Accommodation Options: Camping is not permitted on the lake foreshore. Camping, carvans and cabins are available at the Lake Nillahcootie Camp, which is located a couple of kilometres south of the designated swimming area. Alternatively, you can try accommodation in nearby Mansfield, roughly 20 km south of the lake.
Managing authority: Goulburn-Murray Water
Nearby attractions: Mt Samaria State Park
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 car park in front of the designated swimming area.
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