Expedition Pass Reservoir is a popular swimming and fishing spot near Castlemaine in central Victoria. Close to Golden Point Road
at the southern end of the dam wall, there is a short gap between the reeds where you can access the water via a gravel and rock
beach. As long as you don't stir up the bottom, the water here is reasonably clear, but gets deep quickly away from the shore.
Above: The main swimming area at Expedition Pass Reservoir
(Order gifts or prints of this image)
The deep water means that it is great for swimming and floating, but not particularly suitable for inexperienced swimmers. Bring
something to float on if you want to spend the afternoon here.
If this small beach is full, you can also access the water on the other side of the dam wall. Walk along the road across the wall
and then cross over the spillway if it is safe to do so (don't cross if the reservoir is actually spilling).
Around the corner from the spillway you will find a pine tree that provides shade in the afternoon, and an area clear of reeds. The
water is again quite deep here once you move out from the shore.
Above: Expedition Pass Reservoir from the other side of the dam wall
There is a walking track that runs around the lake, but access to the water elsewhere is fairly restricted due to the reeds
that grow along the water's edge.
Here is a video of my historical re-interpretation of Major Thomas Mitchell's journey through Expedition Pass, as re-imagined by
a swimming hole enthusiast:
For some more professional footage of swimming in Expedition Pass Reservoir, take a look at Glitch Season 2, which is running on
ABC TV in late 2017. The reservoir has a starring role in the first episode with some beautiful scenes of the main characters at the lake's
edge and in the water, but I'm reluctant to keep watching in case one of my favourite swimming holes is transformed into a sinister place
that I don't want to go back to!
Essential Information Before You Go:
Golden Point Road, Golden Point, Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park
From Melbourne take the Calder Fwy (M79) to the Elphinstone exit (B180). After exiting west towards
Elphinstone, turn immediately right along Harmony Way (C794) and follow it for approximately 6 km. Just before the
road goes under the Calder Fwy, turn left into Golden Point Road. Follow this road for 1.7 km until you see the reservoir
on the right hand side. There is an open area for about a dozen cars next to the road.
Clear (but the sediment does get stirred up in the shallows when you walk on it).
Gravel, coarse sand and rock
Maximum water depth:
Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency suggested:
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog:
No camping, no fires, no dogs
Shade available out of the water
No camping is permitted at Expedition Pass Reservoir. If you are staying overnight in the area,
you can try
accommodation in Castlemaine
10 km to the east.
Nearby attractions: Turpins Falls
approximately 20 km to the south-east.
Before you head out, make sure to read the
swimming safety information.
Specific to this site, the managing authority advises
that there is deep water and that limbs can fall from the trees.
The marker indicates the location of the parking area next to the main entry point to the water.
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.
If you would like to leave a comment about this swimming hole, please fill in the comment box below. I'm particularly interested in your
experiences after visiting, and any changes in swimming conditions.
© Brad Neal 2017. All rights reserved.