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The best places to swim in Melbourne

Don't restrict yourself to the local pool: dip into Melbourne's most beautiful rivers, lakes, pools and beaches

Photograph: iStock

"Do you ever get sick of the rain?" was our number one dumb question amidst an extensive list of queries that get our goat. Not only do we have so many cool things to do indoors that we couldn't give a frog's left leg about the weather, we actually do scorchers very well in Melbourne. Accordingly, we've pulled together a list of our favourite places to go for swim.

And while we're on the soap-box, can we also tell you about our other favourite things to do in the sunshine? Hey, maybe you want to take it one step further – find out where you can (lawfully) get your kit off under a radiant Melbourne sky. 

1

The Langham

Southbank's luxurious hotel invites you to step up your fancy game and become a member of their Pool Club. It's not cheap, but for three months, you'll have access to a perfect pool, sun deck, sauna and spa.

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Southbank
2

St Kilda Sea Baths

The soothing effect of swimming in natural seawater has been drawing us to the St Kilda Sea Baths since the 19th century. Bliss out in their 25-metre heated seawater pool, complete with beautiful views of the bay.

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St Kilda
3

Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre

Olympic-standard MSAC's newest addition is a 50 metre outdoor pool built in 2006 and updated in 2008 to include a world-first moveable floor. There's also an indoor pool, a wave pool and a water slide.

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Albert Park
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4

WaterMarc Aquatic and Leisure Centre

The largest and leisure centre in the northern region of Victoria is famous (among kids and parents, at least) for its huge waterslides and top-notch facilities, including an indoor 50 metre swimming pool.

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Greensborough
5

Harold Holt Swim Centre

Harold Holt (strangely named after our ill-fated Prime Minister) is a suburban swimming haven. Both the mosaic-tiled indoor 25 metre pool and 50 metre outdoor pool are heated, for a start.

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Glen Iris
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1

Brighton Beach

Brighton's iconic bathing boxes, 82 to be exact, line the foreshore. Not only is this beach pretty to look at but it's excellent for swimming and when the wind picks up, it's a pretty decent area for surfing.

Distance from CBD: 15km by car; nearest station: Brighton Beach, 250m

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Brighton
2

Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay is a secluded, blue-and-yellow postcard of a beach. Named for its crescent shape, the bay is protected from weather and is popular for boating, but is equally perfect for swimming in calm waters.

Distance from CBD: 19km by car; nearest station: Cheltenham, 4.7km

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Black Rock
3

Elwood Beach

Over the past few decades, Elwood Beach has been developed into a top destination for wind surfing, fishing, and most of all, swimming. The prime swimming spot is located just in front of the lifesaving club.

Distance from CBD: 3.2km by car; nearest station: Elwood, 2.6km

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Elwood
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4

St Kilda Beach

With its close proximity to Acland Street, it's no wonder St Kilda has one of the most popular beaches in Melbourne. The shore is home to all kinds of sport and the water is safe for swimming.

Distance from CBD: 9km by car; trams: 3a, 16, 96

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St Kilda
5

Mordialloc Beach

Mordi beach is one of those places that has everything you need within easy walking distance. There's a huge playground on the foreshore, a BBQ area and a café closeby. Oh, and the water's pretty nice too.

Distance from CBD: 25km by car; nearest station: Mordialloc, 1.4km

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Parkdale
6

Williamstown Beach

Melbourne's first sea port has developed into a trendy seaside suburb with a village feel. Stick to the western side of the beach for best swimming, and make a day of it by exploring nearby cafés and shops.

Distance from CBD: 17km by car; nearest station: Williamstown Beach, 500m

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Williamstown
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1

Lysterfield Lake

Featuring a lake and parkland, Lysterfield Lake offers two protected swimming bays and tracks and trails for walking, as well as the opportunity for other water activities including sailing and canoeing.

Distance from CBD: 42km by car

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Narre Warren North
2

Pound Bend: Warrandyte National Park

As far as Yarra River swimming goes, you won't do better than Pound Bend. It's a calm, deep oasis caused by gold rush miners diverting the water through a tunnel in the 19th century.

Distance from CBD: 32km by car

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Warrandyte
3

MacKenzie's Flat picnic area

About one hour west of the CBD is the Lerderderg State Park, in which the pristine Lerderderg River meanders through native bushland. MacKenzie's Flat Picnic Area is the perfect spot for a swim and a lunch.

Distance from CBD: 60km by car

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Where to eat and drink in the sun