These swimming holes are all located in Western Victoria, including spots in the Otways and the Grampians.
This area has some of the best waterfalls to swim under, as well as several swimming holes with a history
of swimming dating back to the late 19th and early 20th century. Feel free to browse the online version, which includes
some (but not all) of my favourite spots.
If you are looking for more you can order the full guide
for a curated list of my top 50 swimming holes in Victoria.
Select Your Swimming Hole in Western Victoria:
Click or tap on the title or photo of each swimming spot below to find your next swimming adventure in Western Victoria,
or alternatively search by map
. Swim safe, have fun and remember that no matter how cold
the water is, it's alright once you're in!
For experienced walkers due to the multiple river crossings across sometimes wobbly stepping stones, this refreshing
waterfall pool in the Otways is flanked by two waterfalls surrounded by open rock shelves sloping into the water…
This former rural water supply reservoir in the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park gets deep
quickly away from the shore, but the water is clear and after getting past the reeds, there is plenty
of room out on the water if you have something to float on …
Green Lake is one of four lakes dotted along the Western Hwy east of Horsham in Western Victoria.
The lake has a sandy beach several hundred metres long and newly constructed, sheltered barbecue facilities…
Green Hill Lake is a lake of contrasts for swimmers and can quickly change, but when the lake is full, it
offers a refreshing swim to break your travels along the Western Highway at one of two swimming beaches…
Cross the Cumberland River on stepping stones to reach this bush pool in the Great Otway National Park, only a
kilometre inland from the Great Ocean Road. A must-visit for those staying at the campground nearby…
Lake Daylesford is a popular family picnic spot and has wonderfully calm and
clear water to swim in. This is a long frequented swimming spot, with change rooms built lakeside back
in the 1940s to cater for the high demand. This swim comes with mineral springs to boot…
Lake Fyans has two main swimming beaches with gently sloping, sandy shores and oodles of warm
tea coloured water, all set against the backdrop of the southern Grampians mountain range. Swim out to
the inflated rubber ring and take in the view…
If you love relatively isolated, lakeside bush camping experiences, this could be a swim for you, provided that
you can time your visit to occur at a time when lake levels are not obscuring submerged vegetation…
The Lerderderg River runs at its best in the springtime and early summer, delivering two great
swimming spots on the western fringe of Melbourne. Visit the gorge before the river typically dries up
in late summer or early autumn…
Swimmer's Cove is the designated swimming area at Pykes Creek Reservoir, west of Melbourne.
Noisy jetskis and a history of algal blooms mean that you have to pick the right time
for a swim here. Alternatively just enjoy a picnic at the lake's edge…
Set in a dry and thinly forested section of the Lerderderg State Park, this constructed dam will test your
ability to keep your legs up while swimming. Warm on the surface, expect icy temperatures below your
waist if you tread water…
The St George River, located just outside of Lorne, meanders its way through a wide, flat sand bar on its way out to the ocean. Skip across this
shallow river from one side to the other or just sit yourself down on the river bed and relax in the gentle current…
St George's Lake in Creswick (near Ballarat), Victoria, was recently refurbished with a new beach for
swimming and couple of barbecues and picnic tables. A tranquil spot with clear, deep water with a
backdrop of pine forest and native bush…
Taylors Lake is one of four lakes dotted along the Western Hwy east of Horsham in Western Victoria. Of the four lakes
(Taylors, Green, Pine and Dock Lakes), it is probably the pick of the bunch for swimming. Water availability and
water quality can be poor when it gets dry…
The window for swimming at The Blowhole is slim, so timing is all important if you want the pool to be not too
turbulent, not too dry, but just right for a dip. Step into the pool as the tunnel trickles slowly overhead at
the site of this gold mining relic…
Turpins Falls is a large billabong with a high rock wall on three sides.
The pool itself is larger than an Olympic swimming pool, and archives show that it was home to the Turpins
Falls swimming club back in the 1930s before municipal swimming pools came into vogue…
Part of a bold vision for a public health tourism venture in the first half of the 20th century, this
complex includes a river pool formed by a wall across the upper Loddon River, and an adjoining toddler pool that
fills when the river is high…
This series of weathered holes in a rock shelf along Stony Creek provide some waist deep bathing relief from
the heat of the Grampians, and the possibility for a short slide into the water. The water can become stagnant,
so read here to know when to visit this spot…
Deep in the heart of Werribee Gorge, the bushwalk to this little beach is strenuous but spectacular in one of the few
genuinely wild places close to Melbourne. The needles rock formation towers over the swimming hole with steep gorge
walls on all sides…
Historical (but now defunct) Swimming Holes:
Click or tap on the title or photo of each swimming spot to explore some of the oft-forgotten history
of outdoor swimming in Western Victoria. These are from a time before Olympic swimming pools came into vogue and
the rise of the nanny state took over.
This heritage listed pool makes the most of its environment, nestled in a gully with rock surrounds. You can still
visit the pool to envy those who have swum here, but getting into the water has been prohibited since the mid-2000s
due to a public liability insurance issue…
A wonderfully refreshing, deep pool at the base of these powerful and highly reliable falls, I was lucky enough to swim here
before swimming was banned in response to some drownings in 2004. It was one of my favourite swimming holes in western
Victoria before the change in regulations…
This little grotto tucked away in the Otways is a truly beautiful spot for some shallow water play.
Unfortunately falling gum trees have led Parks Victoria to close the access track permanently, so it's
only accessible to bush bashers now…
The Nook in Sunbury was home to a local swimming club and annual Easter swimming carnival in the early
20th century. Today it still has a rope swing over the water, but water quality and visibility are poor,
so swimming is no longer recommended…
Trentham Falls was a surprisingly cold swim at the base of towering basalt
columns over which Victoria's tallest vertical drop waterfall flows. It was awkward getting in, but once you were floating
on your back, the view of the rock panorama was rewarding…
Cairn Curran Reservoir has three designated swimming areas at Welshmans Reef (near Newstead), Tower Bay
and Woolshed Bay (near the dam wall). Welshmans Reef was historically the best pick of the three because of its swimming pontoon,
which was anchored offshore…
Free Splash Parks, Splash Pads and Water Features for Kids:
Click or tap on the title or photo of each free public splash park if you want to have some family fun in the water, but the kids are not
quite proficient enough to venture into a swimming hole.
This Ballarat splash park includes water features that are loosely garden themed, such as a sprinkling leaf, a squirting ladybird and a butterfly shower. It is concrete under
foot, so bring the band-aids and avoid windy days…
This water play area south of the Ballarat city centre includes colourful spray hoops, tipping buckets and various sprinklers in a suburban park. It has a fence to stop runaways
and is slightly more sheltered from the wind, but just as entertaining as Midlands…
Other Swimming Spots:
To find other swimming spots in and around western Victoria,
order a copy of the Guide to Freshwater Swimming Holes in Victoria
, which includes
more of my favourite swimming holes plus additional information about some of the ones that I've shared online.
Alternatively there are several swimming holes in and around Melbourne
north east Victoria
that you can visit in an
afternoon or day trip. If you know of a swimming hole in western Victoria that you think I should visit,
suggest a site
My companion website Waterfall Seasons of Victoria
all of the waterfalls that I have visited during my search for swimming holes. You can swim at some of them, but most are
just for viewing and admiring. Great for a day trip when it's too chilly to get into the water.
Before you head out, make sure to read the
swimming safety information
© Brad Neal 2020. All rights reserved. Swimming Hole Heaven is a registered trademark.