The best spots to shake off the summer sweats.
Maybe it’s the mischievousness surrounding the concept – is this allowed? Or maybe it’s the feeling of getting closer to nature, where the leeches grab at your legs and the reeds tickle your toes. Victoria’s bestowed with an adventurous assortment of outdoor swimming retreats and we’ve got our hair wet to give you a guide to the cream of the crop.
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The Werribee Gorge is one of Melbourne’s most convenient exploratory refuges. Just an hour’s drive away, there’s endless trekking opportunities and as the Werribee River runs it’s course through luscious grasslands, there’s plenty of openings to take a dip when perspiration’s immersed the brow. At the top of the list, comes the gorge’s largest swimming hole, Blackwood Pool. Home to native wildlife with platypi aplenty, this spot will give you the chance to come face to face with nature. Dive in.
Due to contamination, many of Victoria’s lakes are deemed unfit for swimming. Yet, there are still some diving treasures alive to capture your wildest imagination. At the foothills of the Great Dividing Range lies the charming town of Daylesford, which, alongside its Hepburn neighbour, holds enough opportunity in itself. Nevertheless, it’s the lake just a hop, skip and jump from central Vincent Street that’ll excite your budgy smugglers. Grab a hamper and sit on the lakeside grasses, ready to make your move when the post-lunch food belly subsides.
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Tronoh Dredge Hole
For years, the Tronoh Dredge Hole has been an ideal retreat for Harrietville locals during the beaming summer months. Lying at the foot of Mt Feathertop, you’re just a stone’s throw away from the imitable town of Bright and adjoining alpine ranges. Ideal for a weekend getaway, take a dive in the Tronoh Dredge Hole and then immerse yourself in what Mount Beauty, Mount Buffalo and Falls Creek has to offer. The swimming hole’s got its own pontoon for those who like to dip and then rest and bask in the sun.
Less than an hour from Melbourne, the Lerderderg River has done some work to carve out a 300m gorge through wandering forest. This meandering tributary and rising tree-line makes up the Lerderderg State Park which is the perfect summer retreat for city slickers who get homesick at a moment’s notice. There’s plenty of walking trails snaking through the park and it’s the convenience of having the guiding river just a step away that’ll compel you take a dip whenever you like.
There are a number of fantastic swimming opportunities within the Grampians. Mackenzie Falls has been deemed unsafe for swimming due to some drownings, however, Burrong Falls has made up for the loss with it’s multi-tiered waterfall system. Yet, when talking about serene beauty and proven safety, Venus Baths is right up there with Victoria’s best. Ideal for fervent younglings and level-headed adults alike, this swimming hole wanders through a series of rock formations making for a striking panorama.
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Folklore has it that an erratic settler Polly McQuinns went for a dip one drunken night without understanding his swimming incapability. Unfortunately, his treading water technique didn’t hold up and the overzealous colonist went down fighting. What precedes a historical tale is endless swimming allure. Propel off the purpose-built diving board or immerse yourself in the rushing currents of the man-made waterfall – this retreat is the perfect summer getaway.
Ladies Bath Falls
As if Marilyn Monroe basked in its eloquent waters, Ladies Bath Falls is one of Victoria’s most scenic swimming bodies. The location is guarded from the sun most of the day making for an especially chilly drop, nevertheless, there’s a placidness to this waterfall that makes it feel untouched. You’ll have to work for this one – climb over burgeoning boulders and your treasure chest awaits.
The most appropriate navigational venture from Melbourne is Laughing Waters. Residing a left turn from Warrandyte State Park in Eltham, this comedic splash and crash is part of the Yarra River, funnily enough. Yes, the stream at Melbourne’s nexus is still a thing 20km out of the CBD. You can laugh all you like, but there’s no irony to this gorgeous lagoon. As a rocky outcrop pokes it head above the pillowy water, amicable ducklings come say hey. Lay out your towel on the small beach for the post-swim sun lounge, this day’s going to be a long one.
Information in this article from The Guide To Freshwater Swimming Holes In Victoria has been adapted with permission from the author.