Lysterfield Lake was constructed in the 1930s to supply drinking water to the Mornington Peninsula.
The State Rivers and Water Supply Commission purchased nearby farms in the 1940s and reforested the
lake catchment to protect the quality of its water supply. This was mostly successful, which is why the
quality of water here is generally better than any other rivers and lakes within the Melbourne metropolitan area.
However the lake is still plagued by occasional blue-green algae outbreaks. Don't let that put you off - the quality
of water in the lake is closely monitored, so you will see warning signs if it is unsafe to swim.
Parks Victoria will also post notification of this on its website. When the quality of water in the lake
is good, as it is most of the time, this is arguably the best natural outdoor swimming venue in Melbourne.
The lake is now managed as a nature reserve
with passive recreation. The eastern side of the lake is a recreation area for picnics, bbq's and
canoe launching. Two constructed beaches at the south-eastern end of the lake are designated swimming
areas. The two curved bays are around 150 m long and the sand stretches back about 15 m from the shore.
The western and northern shores of the lake are inaccessible by foot. A number of well-kept nature trails
wind through tea-tree forests inhabited by lively native bird species. The Acacia Nature Walk is a
particularly good way to warm up before a swim. Lysterfield Lake Park is ideal for the Sunday
family picnic. The kids can have a swim, a windsurf or go for a bike ride, whilst adults can take a
stroll around the lake before firing up the barbi, having a feed and laying down under a shady tree.
A lot of Melbournians are in on the secret though, so if it is going to be hot, make sure you get there early.
Three people have drowned in separate incidents at Lysterfield Lake since the year 2000, with a further near miss in 2002.
The latest drowning was in February 2014. Even though Lysterfield Lake is a relatively safe place to
swim, the statistics speak for themselves, so please be careful.
Here is a video that I took when visiting the lake. It was shot on two separate days, one
of which was during an algal bloom.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Lysterfield, 30 km east of the Melbourne CBD
From Melbourne take the Monash Freeway to Wellington Road or Heatherton Road.
The entrance is in Horswood Road off the Belgrave-Hallam Road
Toilets, bbqs, tables, lawns, parking, public telephone, nature walk, bike paths, cafe
Water temperature, water clarity, conditions under foot in the water, maximum water depth,
minimum swimming proficiency required, prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: Order the full guide
Shade available out of the water
Restricted opening times. Order the full guide
for more details.
Bitumen trail extends through the picnic area and across the dam wall.
Toilet facilities for the disabled.
There is no camping available at Lysterfield Lake. If you are travelling from outside
of Melbourne and want to stay near this swim, you can try
accommodation around Narre Warren North
2 km south of the lake.
If Lysterfield Lake is full, head to Cardinia Reservoir Park to see some kangaroos
Before you head out, make sure to read the
swimming safety information.
The marker indicates the approximate location of the shallower swimming beaches at the lake.
Change of Conditions:
According to the managing authority, some of the mountain bike trails at the lake are currently closed due to storm damage or scheduled
upgrades in November and December 2016. The cafe is also currently closed, pending the outcomes an expression of interest for a new lease.
If you are visiting this swimming 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.