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Lady Bath Falls - Mt Buffalo National Park
Photograph: Josie Withers

The best swimming holes in Victoria

Need to cool off? Try one of these great swimming holes near Melbourne

By Rebecca Russo
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Everyone knows the ocean is overrated. Especially since, sorry to break the news to you, the majority of beaches you find in Melbourne aren’t real beaches. Swimming holes, on the other hand, are very fun. They’re nature’s swimming pools, carved naturally out of rock and featuring some very refreshing waters that are ripe for splashing around in. Below are some of our favourites in Victoria.

Would you rather look at gushing water? Here are Victoria’s best waterfalls. Keep driving and you’ll find some of the state’s best national parks, too.

Keep up to date with travel advice and what's currently allowed across Victoria. 

The best swimming holes in Victoria

Ladies Bath Falls
Ladies Bath Falls
Photograph: Rob Blackburn

1. Ladies Bath Falls

Up in Victoria’s High Country, where the air is clear and the mountains are craggy, you’ll find Ladies Bath Falls. When travellers used to arrive there in the early 1900s, men and women would separate, and this was where women would come to cool off. This cold mountain creek is located on the drive up to the summit of Mount Buffalo, about a 20-minute drive from Bright. The rock pools are a great respite from the summer heat, but be careful moving over the rocks as they can be slippery.

Venus Baths Loop Walk
Venus Baths Loop Walk
Photograph: Julian Kingma

2. Venus Baths

Swimming at MacKenzie Falls is strictly forbidden, but these thunderous falls aren’t the only spot in Grampians National Park where you’ll find cool, refreshing water holes. Take the 2.3km easy walking track from Halls Gap towards Venus Baths, where naturally formed rock pools await you. Keen to try some natural waterslides? There are a few smooth rock formations here that you can try slide down.

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Werribee Gorge
Werribee Gorge
Photograph: Creative Commons

3. Blackwood Pool at Werribee Gorge

The Werribee Gorge circuit walk features a hiking trifecta: gorgeous views, rock scrambling and, depending on what time of year you visit, a refreshing swimming hole to wade into. As the path snakes along Werribee River there are half a dozen spots where you can stop and swim, but Blackwood Pool is the biggest and best. Keep an eye out for platypus, too, as they’re also said to be fond of Blackwood. If you do spot one, take a photo and show it to the park rangers, as they like to keep records of all sightings.

Blue Pool
Blue Pool
Photograph: Josie Withers

4. Blue Pool at Briagolong State Forest

Free campgrounds around Victoria are becoming few and far between, but the Briagolong State Forest in east Victoria is a true winner. It boasts a crystal clear pool surrounded by natural bushland that’s easy to access and not too busy. The water is fresh, and it’s a nice reprieve from the stinking hot temperatures that often hit this area in the peak of summer.

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Hikers in Croajingolong National Park at sunset
Hikers in Croajingolong National Park at sunset
Photograph: Mark Watson

5. Croajingolong National Park

Travel

Heading up to Sydney via the coastal route? Bring your camping gear and head towards the far-eastern coastline of Croajingolong National Park, found just below the border with New South Wales. It’s here you’ll find secluded coastal camping spots, plenty of beach walks and lots of native animals. Cool off after a hike with a dip in the many rivers, streams and beaches that call the coastal national park home.

Pound Bend at Warrandyte
Pound Bend at Warrandyte
Photograph: Philip Mallis / Creative Commons

6. Pound Bend at Warrandyte National Park

Things to do Warrandyte

Hot day? Head to our closest national park and enjoy the soothing wilderness of leafy Warrandyte. As far as Yarra River swimming goes, you won't do better than Pound Bend. In 1870, gold miners dug 145 metres of rock through a hill to divert the Yarra through a tunnel to dredge for gold. Nowadays, the mouth of the tunnel opens out into a calm, deep river oasis that the locals have been keeping secret. Take a quick dip, chill out by the banks or bring your blow-up tyre and just float.

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MacKenzie's Flat picnic area
MacKenzie's Flat picnic area
Photograph: Supplied

7. MacKenzie's Flat

Things to do

About one hour west of the CBD is Lerderderg State Park, which as well as having a super fun name to say out loud, is also home to the meandering Lerderderg River. MacKenzie’s Flat Picnic Area is the perfect spot for a swim and lunch – just don’t forget to slip, slop and slap.

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