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Lake William Hovell
Swimming Hole Heaven in Victoria


 
This open body of water at the top of the King River Valley is good for swimming long distances in calm, clear water. There is a designated swimming area near the car park at the second turning circle after entering the lakeside area. It includes a gritty sand beach that gently slopes into the water, as well as a lawn area, and barbecue facilities and a toilet nearby. Take in the views of the surrounding mountain ranges as you stretch out into the water either direction. The designated swimming area at Lake William Hovell Above: The designated swimming area at Lake William Hovell (Order this image, prints or gifts)

Boats are not permitted in the designated swimming area. In amazing news for swimmers, no noisy jetskis and no water-skiing are permitted anywhere on the lake, so you are less likely to get run over by a water craft here than in other similar large lakes in northern Victoria. These rules mean the vibe here is quite tranquil, and the general hubbub is largely restricted to the noise of people having fun in the water and along the shoreline. View of Lake William Hovell overlooking the designated swimming area Above: View of Lake William Hovell overlooking the designated swimming area (Order this image, prints or gifts)

Outside of the designated swimming area, if you want to avoid any summer weekend crowds, you can find yourself a spot further upstream along the bank, where there is vehicle access for another few hundred metres. Under foot in these areas there is more compacted clay than sand, but you will find more shade at the edge of the water, particulalry in the afternoon.

Here is a video of my swim at Lake William Hovell, taken when the lake was close to full capacity and at its best for swimming. Overall it is a peaceful, uncomplicated and unconstrained swim:

Other Information Before You Go:
Location: Upper King River Rd, Cheshunt South, 310 km (approx. 3.5 hr drive) north east of the Melbourne CBD
Latitude:-36.916996 Longitude:146.387034
Getting there: From the Hume Fwy at Glenrowan, take the Glenrowan-Moyhu Road to Moyhu and then head south along the Wangaratta-Whitfield Road (C521) to Whitfield. At Whitfield head a further 20 km up the King Valley Road to Lake William Hovell. The swimming area is at the second turning circle and picnic area.
Facilities: Picnic tables, toilet, car park, powered barbecues, boat ramp
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Coarse sand and pebbles
Sun shade: Shade available out of the water. Shade available in the water in the afternoon upstream of the designated swimming area, but no shade in the water at the designated swimming area.

Opening times: Always open
Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Beginners
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No jet skis, no water skiing, no boats with toilet facilities, no boats with sleeping facilities, no camping, no trail bikes, no open fires, no drinking the water at the toilets. Fishing is permitted. Dogs are permitted.
Wheelchair access: Wheelchair accessible toilets. The ground is reasonably flat around the car park and picnic area behind the designated swimming area, but there were no formal wheelchair designated paths.
Accommodation Options: No camping is permitted at Lake William Hovell. If you want to stay overnight near the lake, you can search for accommodation in Whitfield, with the closest being approximately 9 km south of the lake at Glenmore Springs
Managing authority: Goulburn-Murray Water
Nearby attractions: The King River Valley
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions. Specific to this swim, the managing authority advises (for boating around the whole of the lake) that there are submerged hazards, above water hazards and sudden drop-offs. At the time of my visit, there were no specific warning signs on site in the designated swimming area.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the day visitor car park near the designated swimming area.
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