This Is Where You Can Swim In The Yarra River

Some great swimming spots!

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Our beloved Yarra River isn't the first place most Melbourne residents consider for a swim - but don't totally count it out this summer!

If you're ready to take the plunge, there are a few things you need to know. 

First of all, it is illegal to swim downstream of Gipps Street in Abbotsford. That means under no circumstances can you jump into the Yarra in Richmond, Hawthorn, or anywhere in the CBD.

Secondly, before even contemplating swimming in the Yarra you should make sure to check the current water quality forecast. This will advise you whether the water is suitable for swimming or not. If there has been rain in the last two days, you shouldn’t swim in the Yarra.

So where can you swim? Technically, anywhere upstream from Gipps Street. But the water quality generally isn’t great, and as swimming isn’t common in these areas you’re likely to be looked at with a bit of confusion by any local dog walkers.  

There are four sites where Yarra water is monitored:

Launching Place

By keeping an eye on the water quality of these sites, you can work out where else is safe to swim. 


Under the Chandler Hwy Bridge

This is the closest spot to the CBD with regular water testing where it is okay to swim, and if you get a good water forecast you could have a dip here. Historically, there used to be a Yarra swimming pool just up the river at Alphington Park.

As someone who grew up very close to this spot I can’t say I ever recall seeing anyone swimming here, so you’ll probably have it all to yourself apart from the Fairfield Boathouse rowers. There are several places along this stretch of the river where it is easy to get from the bank into the water, so if you're feeling brave you might want to try it. 



Laughing Waters

This freshwater swimming hole is an excellent spot for a swim. There are several deep pools here which are great for floating, and it is well known to locals. On busy days it can be difficult to get a parking spot on the nearby roads. There aren't a lot of facilities here so make sure you plan ahead.



Pound Bend

This is the best Melbourne swimming spot along the Yarra. It’s a popular one, so on a hot day or a summer weekend you’ll definitely be joined by other swimmers. There are some light rapids that create a kind of natural spa, or plenty of gentler waters to bathe in.

It’s located in Warrandyte State Park, so there are toilets, tables and parking available. There are also several other spots in this region of the river for having a dip.


Kangaroo Ground

Bourchiers Rd

This is a popular skinny dipping spot. It’s known for it, and if that’s not your thing then you’re best to avoid this location. However you can definitely still hit the waters in your swimsuit, so if you’re not worried about what other people are doing then there’s no need to avoid this location. There are some shallow spots near the car park that make it easy to enter the water.


Other popular spots to swim on the Yarra include:

Warburton – Thomas Ave near the Warburton shops
Healesville – Everard Park off the Maroondah Hwy

Before contemplating swimming in the Yarra always check the official water forecast at Yarra Watch.

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Fox Team

17 December 2019

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