Venus Baths, The Grampians
Freshwater Swimming Holes in Victoria

 
Venus Baths was enjoyed as a bathing spot for ladies as far back as the early 20th century, with the earliest postcard I could find dating back to 1907. The uppermost pool was originally referred to as Venus' Bath, and over time, perhaps because of its popularity or perhaps because of the challenging apostrophe, the lower pools have been included in the site's name. The baths are flanked by sloping sandstone walls on both sides, in a small river gorge. It's only a one kilometre walk each way from Halls Gap, but in the often searing heat of the Grampians, you will delight in slipping into the rounded holes in the sandstone shelf over which Stony Creek flows. Swimming in Venus Baths near Halls Gap in the Grampians Above: Some modern day Venus' (and some little Mars') balancing near the water's edge at Venus Baths

The creek can dry up in summer and on my most recent visit in early January, after a relatively wet spring, you could see that a couple of the pools were disconnected from the flow in the creek and were becoming stagnant.
If you see that water is no longer flowing into or out of a pool, stay out of the water in that pool. The best time to visit here is on a hot spring day, when you are most likely to find better quality, flowing water here. If the sun is out, even in early spring, the area around the baths warms up quickly due to the heat radiating off the rock shelf and the surrounding, sparsely vegetated rock slopes.

I had a dip in several pools, including a little slide into one of them. Most of them were about waist deep on my visit. The lower pool was the only one that you could really swim in because it was slightly longer than the other pools, with the others just for bathing. A video of my visit is coming soon.

This swimming hole did not make it into my top 50 in Victoria. The main reason being the stagnant water and lack of flow in summer when you need it the most, and because the size of the pools limits your ability to swim. If you want to find swimming holes nearby that did make it into the top 50, grab a copy of the guide to Freshwater Swimming Holes in Victoria.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Grampians National Park, near School Rd, Halls Gap, 250 km (approx. 3 hr drive) west of the Melbourne CBD.
Latitude: -37.139016 Longitude: 142.509188
Getting there: From Melbourne take the Western Fwy (A8) to Ararat, then take the Ararat-Halls Gap Road (C222) to Ararat. Park in School Road behind the swimming pool. To get to Halls Gap by public transport you can catch a train/bus to Halls Gap from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne. Once in Halls Gap, the start of the walk to Venus Baths is on the western side of School Road, on the southern bank of Stony Creek. Follow the track that runs around the edge of the caravan park reserve. The walk formally starts at the back of the caravan park, where you will see Agnes Folkes' grave and tombstone, with a sign to start the walk a few metres beyond this. The walk is 1 km return from this point along a relatively flat grade, but it includes some steps. Alternatively, you can walk along the track on the opposite bank of Stony Creek, which runs past the botanic gardens.
Facilities: None
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Rock
Maximum water depth: Less than 1 metre
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Beginners
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No dogs, no cats, no firearms. Do not feed kangaroos or other wildlife. Take rubbish home with you. Fires may only be lit in fireplaces provided at designated campgrounds. Wash your boots before entering and after leaving the national park to avoid the spread of plant and animal pests and disease.
Sun shade: No shade available except in the late afternoon when the sun starts to disappear behind the mountain range.
Opening times: Always open. May be closed during extreme weather conditions (e.g. for fire safety)
Wheelchair access: None
Accommodation Options: Camping is not permitted at Venus Baths and there is no bush camping permitted nearby. There are however lots of accommodation options in Halls Gap, which is within walking distance of Venus Baths.
Managing authority: Parks Victoria
Nearby attractions: Swimming at Lake Fyans and Lake Lonsdale
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information. Specific to this site, the rocks can be very slippery when wet. Also avoid swimming here when the creek flow is high or in flood.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of Venus Baths.
Change of Conditions:
I am not currently aware of any other change of conditions reported at this site by the managing authority, or by visitors to this website. If you are visiting this swimming hole and have any updates on any change of conditions, let me know via the comment form below.
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© Brad Neal 2017. 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.