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Tambo River at Sardine Flat Road, Metung
Freshwater Swimming Holes in Victoria


 
I came across this spot on a trip to Metung and couldn't resist taking a dip. There are a few caveats on this swim, firstly that it is only for experienced swimmers, as the water gets very deep almost immediately after pushing off from the river bank. Secondly, it is in the tidal zone of the Tambo River. This means that the water can be salty, particularly at depth, and the currents can move in both directions, depending on the tides and how fast the river is flowing. Swimming in the Tambo River at Sardine Flat Road, Metung Above: The view downstream of the picnic area

I suggest that you throw a leaf or a stick into the water before you get in to check the direction of the current, so that you can maintain a position up-current of the picnic area when you are in the water.
There is a cleared area of riverbank around 10-15 metres wide, from which you can push off directly from the boulders under foot, into the water. At the time of my visit, there was algal growth around the reeds along the river bank, immediately upstream of the entry point, but none evident at the entry point. The river itself exhibited fairly clear water, which allowed me to see where to place my feet on the flat sections of boulder before pushing off. During my swim the current was almost non-existent, but you might want a pair of flippers if you are moving away from the bank at other times, into swifter moving water. Once in the water, the wide open river affords expansive views in both directions for several hundred metres. The picnic area beside the Tambo River at Sardine Flat Road, Metung Above: The grassy picnic area with picnic tables

This spot is popular with anglers, possibly looking for sardines. It will be of most interest to swimmers and picnic-goers if Metung is too windy, which it often can be.

This swimming hole did not make it into my top 50 in Victoria. The main reasons being the occasional boat traffic, the changing currents, the deep water at the entry point, and the salt content. There are several excellent swimming holes in Gippsland that did make it into the top 50, so if you are looking for a swim with easier access, less salt and fewer risks than you will find here at Sardine Flat Road, grab a copy of the guide to Freshwater Swimming Holes in Victoria.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Sardine Flat Road, 6 km north of Metung, or 300 km (approx. 3.5 hr drive) east of the Melbourne CBD
Latitude:-37.844772 Longitude:147.851022
Getting there: From Bairnsdale, follow the Princes Hwy (A1) to Swan Reach, then head south towards Metung along the Metung Road (C606). Sardine Flat Road is 3 km south of the Princes Hwy. The picnic area and swimming spot is right next to the Metung Road.
Facilities: Car park, picnic tables, toilets, rubbish bins
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Rock boulders
Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Experienced
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No camping. Dogs permitted.
Sun shade: Shade available out of the water
Opening times: Always open
Wheelchair access: Wheelchair accessible toilets. There is a steep bank down to the water that is not wheelchair accessible.
Accommodation Options: There is no camping permitted along Sardine Flat Road. If you are staying overnight in the area, you can try accommodation in nearby Swan Reach or Metung.
Managing authority: East Gippsland Shire Council
Nearby attractions: Metung Splash Park, 6 km to the south of Sardine Flat Road.
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the car park on Sardine Flat Road.
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 swimming spot and have any further updates on any change of conditions, let me know via the comment form below.
Comments:
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