The Avon River at Stratford meanders through wide pebbly beaches either side of the Princes Hwy. On your way
between Melbourne and Bairnsdale, the riffles catch your eye from the bridge above as they glisten in the sunlight.
The river is a moderately popular swimming spot, and when I last passed through here around Christmas 2013, I watched
a family drive up to the edge of the water in their 4WD and unload the kids for a splash in a shallow, fast flowing
section of the river.
Above: The view of the riffles looking upstream
To get to the river, turn right into the Apex Park on the eastern side of the Princes Hwy bridge and park in the
playground car park. You can drive down to the river, but unless you have a 4WD, chances are you will get stuck in
the loose pebbles, so it is safer to just walk down. The Apex Park also has an artists trail plus a very cool kids adventure
castle with its own Excalibur sword locked into a giant stone. I couldn't pull it out, but maybe you will be the
chosen one. Stratford is home to a Shakespeare festival in April of each year, which is a good time to visit if you
enjoy the Bard's plays.
This swimming hole did not make it into my top 50 in Victoria. The main reason being the poor water quality. When
I visited there was a stench of horse poo and the water had both an odour and a green tinge along its length, presumably the effects of upstream
agriculture. My number one swimming hole in Victoria is not far from here, so if you want an amazing swim in crystal clear
water near Stratford, grab a copy of the guide to
Freshwater Swimming Holes in Victoria.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Apex Park, McMillan St, Stratford, 230 km (approx. 2.5 hr drive) east of the Melbourne CBD
From the Princes Hwy, park in the Apex Park on the eastern side of the bridge crossing
the Avon River. Walk down to the river along the dirt road running from the park to under the bridge.
Public toilets, playground, artists trail, car park, bmx track, bbqs
Maximum water depth:
Less than 1 metre
Minimum swimming proficiency required:
Beginners (in the shallow pools away from the main current)
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog:
No prohibitions specified on site
Shade available out of the water (under the bridge)
None to river. Toilets are wheelchair accessible.
Shire of Wellington
Camping is not available alongside the river at Stratford. If you are staying overnight in the area you can try
accommodation in Stratford.
The Apex Park
Before you head out, make sure to read the
swimming safety information.
The marker indicates the approximate location of this swimming spot. You can park in the Apex Park and walk to the river.
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.
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 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.