Venus Baths was enjoyed as a bathing spot for ladies as far back as the early 20th century, with the earliest postcard I could find dating
back to 1907. The uppermost pool was originally referred to as Venus' Bath, and over time, perhaps because of its popularity or perhaps
because of the challenging apostrophe, the lower pools have been included in the site's name. The baths are flanked by sloping sandstone walls
on both sides, in a small river gorge. It is only a one kilometre walk each way from Halls Gap, but in the often searing heat of the Grampians,
you will delight in slipping into the rounded holes in the sandstone shelf over which Stony Creek flows.
Above: Some modern day Venus's (and some little Martians) balancing near the water's edge at Venus Baths
(Order this image)
The creek can dry up in summer and on my most recent visit in early January, after a relatively wet spring,
you could see that a couple of the pools were disconnected from the flow in the creek and were becoming stagnant.
If you see that water is no longer flowing into or out of a pool, stay out of the water in that pool. The best time to visit here is
on a hot spring day, when you are most likely to find better quality, flowing water here. If the sun is out, even in early spring,
the area around the baths warms up quickly due to the heat radiating off the rock shelf and the surrounding, sparsely vegetated rock
I had a dip in several pools, including a little slide into one of them. Most of them were about waist deep on my visit.
The lower pool was the only one that you could really swim in because it was slightly longer than the other pools, with the others
primarily just for bathing.
Here is a video of my swim/bath at Venus Baths:
Other Information Before You Go:
Grampians National Park, near School Rd, Halls Gap, 250 km (approx. 3 hr drive)
west of the Melbourne CBD.
From Melbourne take the Western Fwy (A8) to Ararat, then take the Ararat-Halls
Gap Road (C222) to Ararat. Park in School Road behind the swimming pool. To get to Halls Gap by
public transport you can catch a train/bus to Halls Gap from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne.
Once in Halls Gap, the start of the walk to
Venus Baths is on the western side of School Road, on the southern bank of Stony Creek. Follow
the track that runs around the edge of the caravan park reserve. The walk formally
starts at the back of the caravan park, where you will see Agnes Folkes' grave and tombstone, with
a sign to start the walk a few metres beyond this. The walk is 1 km return from this point along
a relatively flat grade, but it includes some steps. Alternatively, you can walk along the track on the opposite
bank of Stony Creek, which runs past the botanic gardens.
Maximum water depth:
Less than 1 metre
Minimum swimming proficiency required:
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog:
No dogs, no cats, no firearms. Do not feed
kangaroos or other wildlife. Take rubbish home with you. Fires may only be lit in fireplaces provided
at designated campgrounds. Wash your boots before entering and after leaving the national park to avoid
the spread of plant and animal pests and disease.
No shade available except in the late afternoon when the sun starts to disappear behind
the mountain range.
Always open. May be closed during extreme weather conditions (e.g. for fire safety)
Camping is not permitted at Venus Baths and there is no bush camping permitted nearby.
There are however lots of
accommodation options in Halls Gap
which is within walking distance of Venus Baths.
Swimming at Lake Fyans
and Lake Lonsdale
Before you head out, make sure to read the
swimming safety information
and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions. Specific to this site, the rocks can be very slippery when wet. Also avoid
swimming here when the creek flow is high or in flood.
The marker indicates the approximate location of Venus Baths.
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© Brad Neal 2019. All rights reserved.