We might be living in a country girt by sea, but the closest thing to the ocean out here in Central Victoria is the flake available at Kyneton’s fishmonger.

And while we might lack in those terrific oceanic views, Central Victoria has an impressive array of outdoor pools and swimming holes, minus the crowds.

There’s something oh-so-nostalgic about an outdoor pool in regional Victoria, many of which were built in the 1950s and ‘60s, following on from the Olympic excitement and visits from the Queen that the countryside experienced.

But these pools are more than just a hole in the ground filled with water, they are community drivers, entertainment for the kids and a place to enjoy your spot in the sun after a cool dip.

At the sight of an outdoor pool, memories come flooding back, filled with towel turbans, zinc cream, Sunny Boys and Killer Pythons. So, whether you are a water baby, a diving queen, or perhaps the biggest fish in the sea, there’s a cool pool waiting for you this summer.

It may be known as one of the coldest parts of regional Victoria (it snows here in winter), but when Trentham heats up it’s all taking place poolside. Established in 1959, Trentham Pool has a two-metre-deep end, where you can dive down to the coolest parts before enjoying a homemade picnic under the trees or an ice block from the kiosk. Be beckoned by the classic breeze block, which provides ample privacy for a quick change out of the togs before heading down the street for pizza at The Cosmo.

Twenty minutes down the road is the vibrant Woodend Swimming Pool…or should I say, pools. Three pools of various sizes and shapes, built for the water babies through to the school carnival kids, and it’s an absolute summer statement. Shuffle your way across the hot concrete, or lay down your towels on the slanted hills beside families and friends, until the sun goes down. Fix your starvation levels from handstands and cannonballs with burgers and fries from Super Lekker, located just around the corner.

Fancy some laps before a poolside play? The Lancefield Memorial Swimming Pool is a classic outdoor summer destination with a twist. The L-shaped design provides a resting space for those who just want to cool off and several lap lanes for the more energetic swimmers. Score a picnic table nice and early and set yourself up for a day of water activity.

Over the summer months, life can go by in a flash with little kids in tow, which is why a splash park beckons the young (and the young at heart) on those real scorchers. Check out Kyneton Community Garden (within the Kyneton Botanic Gardens) for a cooling cruise through the rushes, with surprise sprinklers and little fountains set to delight. Over in Creswick, the council-run Splash Park is free for anyone who is daring enough to run the gauntlet through the rainbow of sprinklers.

StGeorge Janith HettiArchchige scaled uai
St George's Lake. Photo by Janith HettiArchchige

Just down the road is the ultimate in summer swim spots: Calembeen Park. Featuring an historic multi-level dive tower, there’s nothing left to do for those brave enough to climb to the top but to dive into the cool depths below. And always with a squeal of delight on the way down! Pack a picnic from Le Péché Gourmand and enjoy your French bakery treats while watching other keen divers make the tower trek.

Just outside town in Creswick, another popular swimming spot in is St George’s Lake. Follow the 1.8 kilometre Lake Loop Walk before taking a dip in this picturesque spot. Many an hour can be spent here relaxing on the beach or the adjoining grassy picnic area.

Further lake adventures can be enjoyed at Lake Daylesford and Jubilee Lake (just outside Daylesford). Lake Daylesford features a sandy beach and jetty, while Jubilee Lake features multiple entrance points, along with a beach area. Jubilee has the added bonus of canoes and paddleboats available for hire.

Back over on the Macedon Ranges side of the region, you can escape the city crowds by dipping your toes or flying off the Tarzan swing at local Macedon swimming hole, locally known as ‘The Res’. On the hottest days, a swim out to the middle is not only refreshing, but an achievement.

For a more relaxing adventure, head a little further north to the Metcalfe Cascades. A hidden gem, here you can settle into the rock pools as water cascades over you. Insider tip: head there after some rain for the best experience.

Another hidden gem is the Loddon River pool at the picturesque Vaughan Springs just outside Castlemaine. There’s a rope swing for the adventurous and giant gum trees for those who prefer to relax in the shade. The kids will also love the giant slide in the adjoining park.

If you’d prefer to stick to a man-made pool, you’ll find the Chewton Pool nearby. Other options include Daylesford Olympic Swimming Pool and the Newstead Swimming Pool. Don’t forget your coins for the kiosk!

Jubilee lake Daylesford Visit Vic Global Safari 29 2 2 scaled uai
Jubilee Lake. Photography by Global Safari

Woodend Swimming Pool, 2 Margery Crescent, Woodend
Lancefield Memorial Swimming Pool, 62 Chauncey Street, Lancefield
Trentham Swimming Pool, 26 Market Street, Trentham
Daylesford Olympic Swimming Pool, 63A Central Springs Road, Daylesford
Chewton Pool. Main Road, Chewtown
Newstead Swimming Pool, 2 Panmure Street, Newstead

Lake Calembeen, 121 Cushing Avenue, Creswick
The Res, Macedon Regional Park, Nursery Road, Macedon
Loddon River Pool, Greville Street, Vaughan Springs
Metcalfe Cascades, Cascades Road, Metcalfe
St Georges Lake, St Georges Lake Road, Creswick
Lake Daylesford, Leggatt Street, Daylesford
Jubilee Lake, 151 Jubilee Lake Road, Daylesford

Creswick Water Splash Park, 46 Albert Street, Creswick
Kyneton Community Park, Clowes Street, Kyneton

About the author

Ali Webb House of Webb
Ali Webb, House of Webb
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Kyneton-based Ali Webb adventures the state as a tiny tourist, exploring the littlest to the largest corners of our sweet slice of Victorian heaven.

A writer, a publicist, an artist manager and a downright good human being, Ali’s a curious cat, always on the hunt for a tale to share, especially if it involves digging for treasure in a local secondhand haven, scouring the seasonal delights of our favourite kitchens or simply finding a golden spot to pitch her tent after a day of bushwalking. Follow her tiny tourist tracks across the state at @houseofwebb.