Aura Vale Lake, VIC
Freshwater Swimming Holes in Australia

 
Aura Vale Lake was a popular swimming spot on the outer eastern fringe of Melbourne until some time in the mid-1980s. I would swim there several times a year in summer. The lake now is a shadow of its former self - the people are gone, the picnic areas are overgrown and swimming is prohibited. The official line is that swimming is prohibited due to poor water quality and submerged objects. Historic swimming hole Aura Vale Lake The lake was built at the same time as Cardinia Reservoir in 1973 and was designed to divert runoff from nearby farms and prevent it from flowing in to Cardinia Reservoir, which is part of Melbourne's drinking water supply system. It seems that it took at least a decade for the nutrient levels to build up and thereafter there were frequent algal blooms in the lake. Managing the expectations of people visiting the lake for a swim got all too hard for the park managers, so they shut down swimming altogether.
As for the submerged objects, there are granite boulders under the water near Henley's picnic area. Not a danger if you know they are there and it was always easy to swim past them to deeper water. I've been told stories of cut feet on broken glass in the water, but did not ever notice anyone getting cut when I visited.

You can still visit Aura Vale Lake for fishing, canoeing, sailing or a picnic. Unfortunately Bob's Picnic Area, which used to be a bustling bbq area at the northern edge of the lake, has been shut down too. I'm not sure why, but it certainly wasn't due to lack of popularity. Henley Picnic Area has some nice picnic tables near the water's edge, a toilet, and a boat ramp. You have to bring your own barbecue.

This swimming hole did not make it into my top 50 in Victoria for the obvious reason that Parks Victoria prohibit swimming here. A nearby swimming hole did make it into my top 50. If you want to know where it is grab yourself a copy of the guide to Freshwater Swimming Holes in Victoria.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Aura Vale Lake Park, Wellington Rd, near Cardinia Reservoir, 50 km (approx. 45 min drive) south east of the Melbourne CBD
Latitude:-37.936571 Longitude:145.389357
Getting there: Exit the Monash Fwy at Wellington Rd and follow Wellington Rd until you reach the lake.
Facilities: Public toilets, car park, picnic tables, water tap, boat ramp
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Cloudy
Under foot: Mud
Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Not applicable, no swimming permitted
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No swimming, no dogs, no motorised boats, no rubbish bins so take your rubbish home with you, fishing from bank only
Sun shade: Shade available out of the water
Opening times: 10am to 6pm during daylight savings. Can be closed earlier outside of daylight savings.
Wheelchair access: Yes, including disabled parking and wheelchair accessible toilet
Managing authority: Parks Victoria
Accommodation Options: Camping is not permitted at Aura Vale Lake. If you are planning to stay overnight in the area, you can try accommodation in nearby Emerald.
Nearby attractions: Kangaroos at Cardinia Reservoir Park
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the location of the car park at the lake.
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 spot and have any further updates on any change of conditions, let me know via the comment form below.
Comments:
If you have any memories of swimming at Aura Vale Lake I would love to hear about them. Please fill in the comment box below.

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© Brad Neal 2016. All rights reserved. This work is not to be sampled, copied, modified, adapted or reused for commercial purposes without the written consent of the author.