Melbourne’s summers can be hot and humid, so we’re constantly on the search for nice spots to cool down.
Did you know that Melbourne is home to great swimming holes? These swimming spots offer a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and provide visitors with the opportunity to enjoy a unique swimming experience amidst tranquil natural surroundings.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the best swimming holes in and near Melbourne that are suitable for families, and explore what makes them so special. All of these swimming holes are around an hour from Melbourne and easily doable for a day trip.
Keep in mind that swimming in rivers and lakes is at your own risk, and it’s always a good idea to take precautions such as checking for signs of water quality and safety before entering the water. Only get in the water where swimming is permitted and never swim alone.
Find a Swimming Hole Melbourne & Beyond
1. MacKenzie’s Flat, Lerderderg State Park
The bushland-fringed Lerderderg River is perfect for swimming, splashing, and relaxing on a hot day.
In particular, Mackenzie’s Flat is a popular picnic area located in Lerderderg State Park that is known for its shallow, clear water. It’s a great swimming place for families looking for an easy day trip thanks to the toilets, tables and barbecue facilities.
Just fill up your esky and go (but not with your pup sorry, as dogs are not permitted)!
MacKenzies Flat Picnic Area, Lerderderg River Heritage River, Lerderderg State Park
2. Emerald Lake Wading Pool, Dandenong Ranges
While the Emerald Lake Wading Pool is not a traditional swimming hole, it is a free swimming spot located inside stunning Emerald Lake Park, in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges. The pool is surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills, making it an ideal spot to take in nature’s beauty.
The pool has a varying depth of between 0.5m and 1m so it’s perfect for babies and toddlers. There are also toilets, barbecues, and a cafe and museum at the Lakeside Visitors Centre, as Emerald Lake Park is one of the stops of the iconic Puffing Billy Railway.
3. Pound Bend, Warrandyte State Park
Pound Bend features a large, deep pool located in Warrandyte State Park, along the Yarra River.
The popular swimming spot is perfect for tubing or you can even use the canoe launch to start a river paddle. The man-made tunnel is dangerous and should be avoided.
Afterwards, chill out at the grassy picnic area on the river flats at Pound Bend Reserve.
When you’re at the reserve, I recommend following the short interpretive trail to learn about the history, culture and life of the Wurundjeri people. If you want, go for a longer walk along Pound Bend River Walk. The 2.4km, one-hour return journey is a gentle and easy forest walk that follows the Yarra River upstream. Note that dogs are not allowed at Pound Bend Reserve.
Pound Bend Reserve, Warrandyte State Park, Yarra River
4. Laughing Waters, Eltham
Don’t you just love the name?
Laughing Waters is a series of small rock pools connected by miniature rapids on the Yarra River at Eltham.
The site is entirely surrounded by native bushland, but it is only 30 minutes from Melbourne CBD.
Note that as access is via a narrow and steep dirt road this location is probably only suitable with older kids. There are also no facilities nearby so everything you carry in you should carry out.
Laughing Waters Road, Eltham
5. Lysterfield Lake, Lysterfield
This man-made lake is nestled in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges and is an unexpected oasis in the middle of the suburban south-east.
The lake contains two designated swimming areas with sandy beaches, clear water and mild temperatures. While generally the lake is good for beginners, there are some areas marked as no swimming due to steep drop-offs and unknown depths.
Lysterfield Lake offers picnic areas, barbecues, walking paths and bike paths. If you have time I recommend the Acacia Nature Walk that goes through the forest around the lake – see if you can spot some local wildlife! Dogs are not permitted.
Lysterfield Lake, Grants Rd, Lysterfield
6. Yarra River, Warburton
If you love the ‘lazy river’ rides at water parks then you’ll love floating down the Yarra River at Warburton.
If you forget to bring your own lilo or tube then just head to the local hardware store to buy one. Start near Warburton Water World / Warburton Caravan Park and leisurely float a few kilometres to Thomas Avenue in town.
If you don’t feel like floating all the way then at Thomas Avenue you can access the Yarra River for a dip via some rock steps.
The waters are usually quite calm, so it’s ideal for those looking for a relaxing paddle. Plus you can enjoy all the other attractions in Warburton such as the Redwood Forest and the cafes and shops in the town.
Thomas Avenue, Warburton