The Avon River at Stratford meanders through wide pebbly beaches either side of the Princes Hwy. On your way
between Melbourne and Bairnsdale, the riffles catch your eye from the bridge above as they glisten in the sunlight.
The river is a moderately popular swimming spot, and when I last passed through here, I watched
a family drive up to the edge of the water in their 4WD and unload the kids for a splash in a shallow, fast flowing
section of the river.
Above: The view of the riffles looking upstream
(Order this image)
To get to the river, turn right into the Apex Park on the eastern side of the Princes Hwy bridge and park in the
playground car park. You can drive down to the river, but unless you have a 4WD, chances are you will get stuck in
the loose pebbles, so it is safer to just walk down.
The water quality at this swimming spot can sometimes be poor. One one occasion when
I visited there was a stench of horse poo and the water had both an odour and a green tinge along its length, possibly the effects of upstream
agriculture promoting algal growth in the water. Water quality is generally better during spring, when natural flows in the river are higher.
Above: The pebbled entry into the water
(Order this image)
The Apex Park also has an artists trail plus a very cool kids adventure
castle with its own Excalibur sword locked into a giant stone. I couldn't pull it out, but maybe you will be the
Other Information Before You Go:
Apex Park, McMillan St, Stratford, 230 km (approx. 2.5 hr drive) east of the Melbourne CBD
From the Princes Hwy, park in the Apex Park on the eastern side of the bridge crossing
the Avon River. Walk down to the river along the dirt road running from the park to under the bridge.
Public toilets, playground, artists trail, car park, bmx track, bbqs
Maximum water depth:
Less than 1 metre
Minimum swimming proficiency required:
Beginners (under supervision, in the shallow pools away from the main current)
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog:
No prohibitions specified on site
Shade available out of the water (under the bridge)
None to the river. Toilets are wheelchair accessible.
Camping is not available alongside the river at Stratford. If you are staying overnight in the area you can try
accommodation around Stratford.
Shire of Wellington
The Apex 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.
The marker indicates the approximate location of this swimming spot. You can park in the Apex Park and walk to the river.
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