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The Best Swimming Holes in the Grampians

Home > Victoria > Fun Things To Do | Outdoor | Swimming Pools | Lists
by Brad Neal (subscribe)
I'm the author of Swimming Hole Heaven and Waterfall Seasons - The Waterfall Guide
Published April 22nd 2014
The Grampians is an oasis of clean, fresh water in the western districts of Victoria, with several excellent swimming holes.

1. Lake Bellfield. This large lake is easily accessible from the tourist centre of Halls Gap. For the best spot to swim, continue past the dam wall for around one kilometre to the Lake Bellfield Picnic Area, where there is a small designated swimming area with a gently sloping beach and a lawn area behind it. The water can be cold, but you will be rewarded with 360 degree views of the surrounding mountain ranges once you've cast yourself away from the shore.

Lake Bellfield
Lake Bellfield

2. Burrong Falls. Burrong Falls consists of a series of steps ranging from 1-5 m in height, but stretching more than 20 m in width. On the ledges of the larger steps are paddling pools that you can sit in and let the water fall on your head while your feet dangle over the edge of the next step. If you sit quietly, you are likely to see a few blue tongue lizards come out to bake themselves on the rocks.

Burrong Falls
Burrong Falls

Pick up a map from the friendly staff at the visitor centre in Halls Gap before heading out.
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Why? The Grampians is an oasis of clean, fresh water in the western districts of Victoria, with several excellent swimming holes.
Where: Grampians, Victoria
Your Comment
With regards to swimming at Mackenzie Falls, i am aware that there are no swimming signs but looking at the pictures it is so tempting to cool off at the base pool. My question is from your experience, would i be breaking any law or risk being fined or even told off by locals?

by shaun (score: 0|3) 3855 days ago
Wow, someone died at Mackenzie falls last month?!
Due to the steep stairs and lack of phone reception it is incredibly hard for emergency services to make it there and even to be raised, if you were to have an accident there is no way ambulance Vic would cover you for going past signs saying no swimming. You would be up for a huge fine!

I understand it is inviting but please do not encourage people to swim there and potentially risk the lives of ambulance workers, or take the service away from someone who really needs it.
by liz_t (score: 0|3) 1909 days ago
Hello, a few comments from a member of your local law enforcement. Swimming at MacKenzie falls is strictly prohibited. Since 2004 six people have lost their lives. The most recent was a 28 year old man on Boxing Day 2018 - at the time of writing little over a month ago. He drowned in front of his wife of three months and friends. Truly tragic. In 2017 a 27 year old man drowned and even an off duty lifeguard who happened to be there diver in but was unable to save him due to the strong currents.

The waterhole looks very inviting however it is extremely dangerous. Strong currents can suck swimmers under the falls and pin them underneath a rock ledge the fall has carved out over thousands of years.

Comments in the original post about non swimmers falling in are inaccurate. I would ask the website to remove Mackenzie falls as a suggested swimming spot or risk being contacted by police.

For everyone else please choose somewhere else, it’s just not worth it.
by Stawe (score: 0|3) 1599 days ago
Hi Shaun, it's probably best to check with Parks Victoria (tel. 13 19 63) on the current status of Mackenzie Falls for swimming and your risk of prosecution. Ironically, there is a picture on the Parks Victoria website of someone sitting in the water at the base of the falls, which looks as equally inviting as my pics. When I was there mid last year, there was still some flood damage which made access to the base of the falls difficult - this will need to have been fixed to access the pool safely. Workers were on the site at the time, but it looked like a big job. If you end up going, it would be great if you could let me know via my website what the current conditions are.
by Brad Neal (score: 1|83) 3855 days ago
As the author of that article, I re-iterate the need to stay out of the water now that the swimming ban is in place. The section of the article related to MacKenzie Falls, which noted that a swimming ban was in place, has now been removed. It was originally based on my experiences of swimming there prior to the ban. All of the past drownings were tragic, but in my view, also highly preventable. To set the record straight about the circumstances around the 2004 drowning of 4 people, and whether my article in this regard was inaccurate as suggested by one reader below, according to The Age newspaper (27/12/2004), police acting Inspector Bob Thomson was reported as saying he believed that the 12 year old girl had been sitting on the rocks and had slipped into the water, and that all four who drowned were non-swimmers. With regard to the January 2018 drowning, The Age newspaper (22/1/18) quoted a witness as saying that the man who drowned "didn’t even swim there, he was sitting on the rock and must have slipped". The December 2018 drowning was the only one that involved someone who was actually swimming in the water. All who drowned in each of these events were overseas tourists, unfamiliar with local conditions. As far as I am aware, there were no reported drownings at MacKenzie Falls prior to 2004, but I am willing to be corrected on that if you know more. Thousands of people swim safely at waterfalls all around Australia every year, including at MacKenzie Falls, both before and after the ban, and the undercurrents at MacKenzie Falls are not unique. The problems as I see it are inadequate barriers, lack of on-site information about the specific risks at this site, and lack of education/awareness about waterfall undercurrents for swimmers in water safety campaigns. I can read through the relevant coroner reports if these can be provided by the police, to correct my understanding of events garnered from media reports. I can be contacted via my website if you wish to discuss this further.
by Brad Neal (score: 1|83) 1573 days ago
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