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Stratford upon Avon
Swimming Hole Heaven in Victoria

The Avon River at Stratford meanders through wide pebbly beaches either side of the Princes Hwy. On your way between Melbourne and Bairnsdale, the riffles catch your eye from the bridge above as they glisten in the sunlight. The river is a moderately popular swimming spot, and when I last passed through here around Christmas 2013, I watched a family drive up to the edge of the water in their 4WD and unload the kids for a splash in a shallow, fast flowing section of the river. Swimming in the Avon River at Stratford Above: The view of the riffles looking upstream (Order this image, photo gifts or prints)

To get to the river, turn right into the Apex Park on the eastern side of the Princes Hwy bridge and park in the playground car park. You can drive down to the river, but unless you have a 4WD, chances are you will get stuck in the loose pebbles, so it is safer to just walk down. The Apex Park also has an artists trail plus a very cool kids adventure castle with its own Excalibur sword locked into a giant stone.
I couldn't pull it out, but maybe you will be the chosen one. Stratford is home to a Shakespeare festival in April of each year, which is a good time to visit if you enjoy the Bard's plays.

This swimming hole did not make it into my top 50 in Victoria. The main reason being the poor water quality. When I visited there was a stench of horse poo and the water had both an odour and a green tinge along its length, presumably the effects of upstream agriculture. My number one swimming hole in Victoria is not far from here, so if you want an amazing swim in crystal clear water near Stratford, grab a copy of the guide to Freshwater Swimming Holes in Victoria.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Apex Park, McMillan St, Stratford, 230 km (approx. 2.5 hr drive) east of the Melbourne CBD
Latitude:-37.971745 Longitude:147.076666
Getting there: From the Princes Hwy, park in the Apex Park on the eastern side of the bridge crossing the Avon River. Walk down to the river along the dirt road running from the park to under the bridge.
Facilities: Public toilets, playground, artists trail, car park, bmx track, bbqs
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Cloudy

Under foot: Pebbles
Maximum water depth: Less than 1 metre
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Beginners (in the shallow pools away from the main current)
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No prohibitions specified on site
Sun shade: Shade available out of the water (under the bridge)
Opening times: Always open
Wheelchair access: None to river. Toilets are wheelchair accessible.
Accommodation Options: Camping is not available alongside the river at Stratford. If you are staying overnight in the area you can try accommodation near this swim.
Managing authority: Shire of Wellington
Nearby attractions: The Apex Park
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of this swimming spot. You can park in the Apex Park and walk to the river.
Change of Conditions:
I am not currently aware of any change of conditions reported at this site by the managing authority, or by swimmers on this website. If you are visiting this swimming spot and have any further updates on any change of conditions, let me know via the comment form below.
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