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Swimming Holes in Melbourne
Your guide to the best swimming holes

These swimming holes are all within around an hour's drive from the Melbourne city centre, including several spots along the Yarra River. I've also included a few iconic swimming pools and bathing options for the colder months of the year, as well as some historical but now defunct swimming holes in Melbourne. 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 Melbourne:
Click or tap on the title or photo of each swimming spot below to find your next swimming adventure in Melbourne, 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! Swimming Hole Heaven - Lerderderg Gorge at Grahams Dam 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… Swimming Hole Heaven - Lysterfield Lake, Melbourne Arguably the best outdoor swimming venue within the Melbourne metropolitan area, with two sandy beaches, electric barbecues and huge lawn areas for your family picnic. Worth a visit at any time of year…
Swimming Hole Heaven - Peninsula Hot Springs This is more of a bathing option than a swimming option, but you can still do a couple of strokes in these geothermally heated outdoor pools. They are heated up to 42 degrees, which is perfect for those chilly evenings and cold winter days… Swimming Hole Heaven - Pykes Creek Reservoir 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… Swimming Hole Heaven - Yarra River at Bend of Islands Exhilerating like no other swim in the mid-Yarra, this natural drop in elevation in the Yarra River creates some ferocious rapids, but the risks involved in swimming at this isolated spot require careful planning and will be too dangerous for most… Swimming Hole Heaven - Yarra River at Bourchiers Road The Yarra River at Bourchiers Rd in Kangaroo Ground is a popular (but legally ungazetted) skinny dipping location in Melbourne. Relatively secluded in a natural bush setting. You can still swim here without taking your clothes off if you avoid certain areas… Swimming Hole Heaven - Yarra River at Laughing Waters The Yarra River at Laughing Waters in Eltham is a series of broad, deep pools separated by the gurgling rapids that lend this location its name. A little bit harder to get to than other places along the Yarra, but one of the best spots for swimming… Swimming Hole Heaven - Yarra River at Pound Bend Part of Melbourne's gold mining history, the Pound Bend Tunnel outlet is a popular spot for swimming in the Yarra River, either in the rock pool or just dangling your feet from the rock ledge that juts out into the stream…
Iconic Swimming Pools:
Click or tap on the title or photo of each swimming pool to find out more about why I consider them iconic. Keep these in mind for winter, or at any time you want to spice up your regular lap swimming. Swimming Hole Heaven - Kilsyth Centenary Pool (aka The Dome) In my opinion this is Melbourne's best indoor lap pool for swimming on cold days. A huge PVC dome over the main pool keeps the air inside the venue positively tropical. If it's raining, head here to do some laps… Swimming Hole Heaven - MSAC MSAC hosted events in the 2006 Commonwealth Games and the 2007 World Swimming Championships. When it's too cold and wet for an outdoor swimming hole, go for a swim here in the same water that the Thorpedo sliced through. Clock your own times for reference against the world’s greatest under comparable conditions… Melbourne's warmest pools Where is Melbourne's warmest pool for swimming? Which is the warmest lap pool near you? Here is a list of the warmest pool available at each public indoor swimming venue in Melbourne. A great reference for the squibs…
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 Melbourne. These are from a time before Olympic swimming pools came into vogue and the rise of the nanny state took over. Swimming Hole Heaven - Aura Vale Lake, Melbourne Aura Vale Lake was a popular swimming spot on the outer eastern fringe of Melbourne until some time in the mid-1980s. I would swim there several times a year in summer, with and without a surf mat and lilo… Swimming Hole Heaven - The Nook, Sunbury 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…
Swimming Hole Heaven - Surrey Dive, Box Hill Surrey Dive was a swimming hole in Box Hill that operated from 1905 to 1967 at the site of a former brickworks quarry. Famous for being the first Olympic competition swimming pool in Australia, and infamous for its deep water and high cliff diving… Swimming Hole Heaven - Yarra River at Deep Rock The Yarra River at Deep Rock was a popular swimming spot and home to a local swimming club in the early 20th century. The rock wall on the opposite bank was also the launch pad of a cliff diving world record…
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. Swimming Hole Heaven Splash Zone: Plum Garland Splash Pad, Albert Park A little splash pad on the beach foreshore within a beach inspired playground. There's lots of sand and inquisitive sparrows to play with, as well as a view of the beach. Here's how to find the partly hidden button to turn it on… Swimming Hole Heaven Splash Zone: Rockpool Waterway, Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens A wide artificial stream flows over raised, non-slip concrete blocks in this designated wading area within the gardens. Make sure you stay between the flags. After your dip, enjoy a picnic in one of the architect designed gardens or wander through the extensive themed plantings… Swimming Hole Heaven Splash Zone: Ron Barassi Snr Park, Melbourne Docklands This playground typifies everything Docklands: New and shiny, with amazing city views, but windswept, desolate and noisy. Here is my suggestion for when to visit to enhance the positives and minimise the negatives at this water feature and playground… Swimming Hole Heaven Splash Zone: Harleston Park, Elsternwick A twenty metre long constructed concrete and stone meandering stream provides plenty of opportunity for balancing, rock hopping and waltzing through the gently flowing water. This quiet suburban park in the backstreets of Elsternwick also contains a playground and a long slide built on a hill… Swimming Hole Heaven Splash Zone: Booran Reserve, Glenhuntly Booran Reserve in Glenhuntly is a water-inspired playground on the site of a former Melbourne Water service reservoir. The water features include a giant frog, artificial stream, hand pumps and screws, splash pad, mini-aqueducts and a wet sandpit… Swimming Hole Heaven Splash Zone: Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden, Melbourne Several water features operate here including the spiral fountain, the beehive fountain and a meandering stream. This place gets very busy on hot days, so arrive early to secure your patch of lawn… Swimming Hole Heaven Splash Zone: Halliday Park, Mitcham A hand pump feeds two hand operated sluice gates for budding young dam engineers in this innovative playground that also includes flying foxes and a giant cradle swing. Watch out for falling acorns though, particularly if you've recently read Chicken Little… Swimming Hole Heaven Splash Zone: Royal Park Nature Play, Parkville Located next to the Royal Children's Hospital in Royal Park, this adventure playground houses a spacious splash pad and an artificial stream that is powered by kids pressing down on some very cool steel mushroom pumps, with the water spilling into a sandpit downstream… Swimming Hole Heaven Splash Zone: Crocodile Park, Point Cook Water spurts out of a metal crocodile's mouth into a shallow trough, which spills into a meandering stream complete with giant stepping stones. The stream then continues on to a splash pad around the corner. If you come to this park to stay dry on the adjacent play equipment - forget it, it's not going to happen, so admit defeat before you leave home and at least pack a towel… Swimming Hole Heaven Splash Zone: Seville Water Play Park Seville Water Play was the first community splash park of its kind in Melbourne. It has some of the most powerful water jets around in this innovative re-purposed public space in the Yarra Valley. The park now includes a brand new playground next door… Swimming Hole Heaven Splash Zone: Wombat Bend Playground, Lower Templestowe Wombat Bend playground in Lower Templestowe has a long mini-aqueduct that empties into a huge sandpit. As a playground, Wombat Bend is one of the best in Melbourne, but its water feature, as designed, performs poorly. Here's my advice on how to turn this water feature back into the fun water play activity that it was intended to be… Swimming Hole Heaven Splash Zone: Riverwalk Splash Park, Werribee A large interactive splash park with heaps of bubblers, jets, pumps and tanks to play in, that was designed to attract young families to a new housing estate. It's the biggest free splash park that I've seen so far in Melbourne…

There is one other splash park that I am aware of, but haven't visited yet, in Wallan on the northern fringe of Melbourne, a couple of smaller ones in Docklands which I haven't got around to reporting on yet, and several splash parks with entry fees, such as at Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Zoo, which I have visited but not reported on, given there are so many free options available.
Other Swimming Spots:
To find other swimming spots in and around Melbourne, 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 western Victoria, north east Victoria and Gippsland that you can visit in an afternoon or day trip. If you know of a swimming hole in Melbourne that you think I should visit, suggest a site. Waterfall Seasons of Victoria - The Waterfall Guide My companion website Waterfall Seasons of Victoria lists 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 2019. All rights reserved.