St George's Lake, Creswick VIC
Freshwater Swimming Holes in Australia

 
St George's Lake was drained, dredged, refilled and re-furbished in 2015 so that it now boasts a swimming beach, a couple of barbecues and a couple of picnic tables. The beach is at the deeper end of the lake, so it drops off into the water quite quickly to several metres deep within a few strides from the shoreline. It's great for experienced swimmers, but you would need to keep a close eye on young kids because of this steep slope. Having said that, when I visited there was one couple who had a little baby on the beach with them who was still having fun on the sand without venturing into the water.

Swimming at St George's Lake, Creswick near Ballarat

Above: The picnic area looking down to the water

The lake itself is quite pretty with a pine forest on one side and native bush on the other as your backdrop for a swim, and the water looked clear and felt fresh. According to The Courier newspaper in Ballarat (29/11/2011) the lake was used for long distance swim training by a local Ballarat swimming identity when there was a delay in opening his municipal pool in Ballarat. At over 400 metres long the lake is definitely large enough to train in.

The beach at St George's Lake, Creswick near Ballarat

Above: The beach looking down towards the spillway

When I visited on a weekday morning, people were out walking their dogs or setting up picnics, including a local group of intellectually disabled kids who were having a whale of a time on the lawn. You can walk the 1.8 km loop around the perimeter of the lake along a mostly dirt walking track that takes you over boardwalks, through the pine forest and even across the top of the spillway. It would be a fascinating walk (and swim) when the lake is just below the spillway level.
The loop also takes you past the other two designated picnic areas at the eastern end of the lake, however these areas are smaller and do not have facilities. That end of the lake is also very shallow and full of reeds that makes swimming difficult. The loop walk also hooks into the Goldfields Track, which can take you all the way from Ballarat to Bendigo.

Below is a video that I took when I staged the unofficial re-opening of St George's Lake for swimming. It was a black tie event with a very exclusive invite list. It was also a beautiful, peaceful sunny morning.

Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: St Georges St, Creswick, 120 km (approx. 1 hr 20 minute drive) north west of the Melbourne CBD
Latitude:-37.43316 Longitude:143.90783
Getting there: From Melbourne head along the Western Fwy and turn off when you see the Creswick exits. From Creswick town centre, the lake is about 1.3 km down Melbourne Road. St Georges St is a short unsealed road that takes you down to the car park. It is suitable for mini-buses and 2WD vehicles.
Facilities: Order the full guide
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild to cold
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Order the full guide
Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Order the full guide
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: Order the full guide
Sun shade: Shade available out of the water
Opening times: Always open
Wheelchair access: Yes
Managing authority: Parks Victoria
Accommodation Options: No camping is permitted at the lake. You can try accommodation in nearby Creswick.
Nearby attractions: The Goldfields Track
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the car park near the swimming area 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 swimming spot and have any further updates on any change of conditions, let me know via the comment form below.
Comments:
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.

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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.