St George's Lake was drained, dredged, refilled and re-furbished in 2015 so that it now boasts a swimming beach, a couple of barbecues and
a couple of picnic tables. The beach is at the deeper end of the lake, so it drops off into the water quite quickly to several metres
deep within a few strides from the shoreline.
Above: The picnic area looking down to the water
(Order this image)
It's great for experienced swimmers, but you would need to keep a close eye on young kids
because of this steep slope. Having said that, when I visited there was one couple who had a little baby on the beach with them who was
still having fun on the sand without venturing into the water.
The lake itself is quite pretty with a pine forest on one side and native bush on the other as your backdrop for a swim, and the
water looked clear and felt fresh. According to
The Courier newspaper in Ballarat
(29/11/2011) the lake was used for long distance swim training
by a local Ballarat swimming identity when there was a delay in opening his municipal pool in Ballarat. At over 400 metres long the lake
is definitely large enough to train in.
Above: The beach looking down towards the spillway
(Order this image)
When I visited on a weekday morning, people were out walking their dogs or
setting up picnics, including a local group of intellectually disabled kids who were having a whale of a time on the lawn.
You can walk the 1.8 km loop around the perimeter of the lake along a mostly dirt walking track that takes you over boardwalks, through
the pine forest and even across the top of the spillway.
It would be a fascinating walk (and swim) when the lake is just below the spillway level.
The loop also takes you past the other two designated picnic areas at the eastern end of the lake, however these areas are smaller and
do not have facilities. That end of the lake is also very shallow and full of reeds that makes swimming difficult. The loop walk also hooks
into the Goldfields Track, which can take you all the way from Ballarat to Bendigo.
Below is a video that I took when I staged the unofficial re-opening of St George's Lake for swimming. It was a black tie event with a very
exclusive invite list. It was also a beautiful, peaceful sunny morning.
Other Information Before You Go:
St Georges St, Creswick, 120 km (approx. 1 hr 20 minute drive) north west of the Melbourne CBD
From Melbourne head along the Western Fwy and turn off when you see the Creswick
exits. From Creswick town centre, the lake is about 1.3 km down Melbourne Road. St Georges St is a
short unsealed road that takes you down to the car park. It is suitable for mini-buses and 2WD vehicles.
Public toilets, car parking, bbqs, picnic tables, rainwater tank with tap
Mild to cold
Maximum water depth:
Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required:
Recommended for experienced swimmers due to the sharp drop-off into the water
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog:
No camping, dogs must be on a leash
Shade available out of the water
Camping is not permitted at the lake. If you want to stay overnight near this swim, you can try
the following options in Creswick. All distances below are by road, not as the crow flies, noting that Eastern Hill is only a 600 metre walk to the lake spillway, but longer by road around
to the picnic area on the other side of the spillway.
The Goldfields Track
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 car park near the swimming area at the lake.
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