Surrounded by the mountains of Grampians National Park, Lake Bellfield offers the opportunity through its chilly waters to escape the summer heat. It’s also a short distance from Halls Gap, where you can stock up for a picnic at the Lake Bellfield Picnic Area.
Water levels: High.
Water temperature: Cold.
Facilities: Picnic area and toilets. Camping available.
Restrictions: Powerboats not permitted.
Address: Grampians Rd, Bellfield (5km south of Halls Gap).
An oval-shaped gorge in picturesque surrounds, Blue Lake is found in an old quarry in Plenty Gorge in Melbourne’s outer north and sits between trees and a vertical cliff face. It’s a great place for Melbourne day-trippers to take a relaxing picnic by the cool waters.
Accessibility: No paved paths, limited accessibility.
Water levels: High.
Facilities: Camping available with restrictions. Toilets. Barbecues.
Restrictions: Dogs are only permitted in specific areas. No fires in the park.
Address: Plenty Gorge Park, Goldsworthy Lane, Plenty (via Greensborough).
Blue Rock Lake
Blue Rock Lake in West Gippsland features two designated swimming areas, including the popular area west of Willow Grove which includes a picnic area. Although there is no fishing allowed, the 50-metre wide swimming area offers a cool reprieve from the sun.
Water levels: 2 metres-plus
Water temperature: Mild.
Facilities: Picnic tables, barbecues, toilets, carpark.
Restrictions: Dogs must be on a leash. Camping, fires or errand rubbish not allowed. Opening hours and designated swimming areas apply.
Address: Blue Rock Lake Recreation Area, Old Tanjil Rd, Willow Grove (20km north-west of Moe).
St Georges Lake
A popular spot at Creswick in Victoria’s Goldfields region, St Georges boasts sand and lawn areas for those looking to relax between swims. There is a shallow beach towards the western end of the lake but beware that it is also near a steep drop-off.
Proficiency: Beginners to experienced.
Water levels: Maintained through summer
Facilities: Free gas barbecue, toilets.
Restrictions: No camping or powered boats. Dogs permitted on lead.
Address: St Georges Lake Road, Creswick (20km north of Ballarat)