The Best Waterfalls You Can Swim Under Near Melbourne
Forget TLC. Go chase some waterfalls in Victoria.
February 09, 2024
As the warm weather rolls in, you'll be back to finding ways to stay cool all summer long. Sure, you can try all of your standard attempts to keep refreshed in and around Melbourne this summer. A dip at the local pool is always a solid option, as is a trip to the beach. Or you can stick your head in the fridge.
For those of you feeling a little more adventurous, we recommend a swim beneath one of Victoria's many beautiful waterfalls. Here are four such locations within a reasonable drive of the city. Whether that's natural or man-made, up a mountain, along a riverbed or within a national park, this list has you covered.
NIGRETTA FALLS, GRAMPIANS NATIONAL PARK
While swimming under most of the Grampians National Park's waterfalls is strictly prohibited, you can still swim at one of its many cascades. Located seven kilometres west of Hamilton (a short detour from the Glenelg Highway), Nigretta Falls is one of few Grampians spots where swimming is encouraged. The secluded waterfall is fed by the nearby Wannon River and offers clear waters that are perfect for relaxing. When you're not swimming, head up the stairway to the top of the falls, where a picnic area and barbecue facilities are waiting.
LADIES BATH FALLS, MOUNT BUFFALO NATIONAL PARK
Located in Mount Buffalo National Park, the water of the Ladies Bath Falls cascades into a crystal clear pool below. Despite being rather chilly all year round (it is up a mountain, after all), we guarantee you won't be able to resist taking a dip. In the warmer months, this swimming hole is a perfect respite from the heat of the nearby Ovens and Buckland valleys. If you want to get in on more waterfall action while you're here, head up to the Upper and Lower Eurobin Falls. It's only a short walk between all three, but the national park is a four-hour drive northeast of Melbourne — so we recommending staying overnight in nearby Bright.
POLLY MCQUINNS, STRATHBOGIE
Alright, so this one's kind of cheating. The small, man-made waterfall at this popular swimming hole near Strathbogie doesn't quite have the same natural splendour as the others. But what it lacks in magnificence it makes up for in history. Legend has it that the weir is named for an early settler, Polly McQuinns, who could not grow a beard and drowned in the waters after one too many sherries. Despite the gnarly history, this deep swimming pool offers a welcome respite from the heat. Apart from the man-made waterfalls, there's rapids and a purpose-build diving board for plunging and belly-flops. It's a day-trip for those looking for something a little different and with a bit of character.
TURPINS FALLS, KYNETON
Situated on the Campaspe River about a 1.5-hour drive from the Melbourne CBD, the bracingly cold waters of Turpins Falls will require some bravery, but it's a refreshing plunge nonetheless. The 20-metre falls empty into a lagoon that's larger than an Olympic swimming pool and surrounded by high rock walls on three sides (not for jumping off, mind you). It's a beautiful spot to enjoy a picnic or a sneaky drink along the rocks. You can also treat yourself to a high-pressure natural shower under the waterfall. But it can be a bit hard to find, so be sure to bring Google Maps along for the ride while you hunt for one of the best waterfalls to swim under near Melbourne.
Top image: Josie Withers via Visit Victoria.
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