The unofficial sports capital of Australia, Melbourne, is a lively city with many ‘happening’ places to visit like museums, parks, markets, eat streets and the likes.
The capital city of Victoria is also known for the many lakes in Melbourne – water bodies scattered all over the city.
There are many recreational facilities and activities based on the banks of these natural reservoirs, which makes them a favourite place to visit for both locals as well as tourists.
Beautiful Lakes In Melbourne
Here is a rundown of some of Melbourne's most notable lakes, all of which are well worth seeing if you're in town. These lakes play a crucial role in the city's water system, which serves the entire metropolitan area and its surrounding suburbs.
Albert Park Lake
In the City of Port Phillip, just 3 kilometres from Melbourne, you'll find one of the city's most popular lakes, which sees an average of 5 million visitors per year.
The parkland that surrounds the lake is quite large, and the lake itself spans 120 acres. You can play some golf or go for a run/walk on the park's walking track or use any of the other sports facilities available.
Moreover, the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit is a major tourist attraction. Legend has it that a massive Red Gum Tree, estimated to be around 300 years old, has seen its fair share of corroborees and is still standing strong today, ready to share its stories. There are nine designated picnic areas in the park, each with its own grill, restroom, and canopy. You can go for a boat ride on the lake, take your kids to one of the many playgrounds, or simply enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
Pink Lakes of Murray-Sunset National Park
Some of the unique lakes in Victoria are found at Murray-Sunset National Park, where you can hike along trails that weave in between pink lakes.
Depending on the time of day, these lakes range from bubblegum bright to pastel pink. A red algae gives these salty lakes their rosy tint, making it a prime place to visit if you’re a keen photographer.
An inland lake at the Westgate Park in Melbourne’s west has transformed itself into an Instagram-sensation thanks to a tiny organism.
The lake is currently experiencing ideal conditions for the lake algae, which grows in the salt crust at the bottom of the lake, to produce a red pigment as part of its photosynthesis process.
The result is a candy-hued bright pink lake that has to be seen to be believed, and although the water may look pink, the water is actually crystal clear, albeit very salty.
Unfortunately, the natural phenomena in the lake aren’t permanent, so you’ll have to visit the park if you want to see it for yourself and catch a snap.
Conservationists explain that the water is more likely to turn pink during the warmer months when high salt levels, high temperatures, increased sunlight and low rainfall. Still, when the temperature cools and the rain returns, the lake will return to its previous clear-water state.
FAQs Best Lakes In Melbourne
Taking a picnic, camping, witnessing flora and fauna and visiting some of the on-site restaurants are some of the lake water activities you can try in Melbourne.
No, you cannot swim in protected lakes, reservoirs and lakes, which are meant for the drinking water sources in Melbourne.
The lakes in Melbourne are open to the public, and tourists from 08:00 am to 07:00 pm, and you can enjoy the same during these hours.
Lake Aura Vale
This lake plays an important role in the water supply system in the city of Melbourne. In addition, the place holds major significance in the drainage system within the city, and hence, is known as one of the primary lakes of Melbourne.
Although the waters are not fit for swimming, there are many other water activities like canoeing and sailboarding which can be enjoyed here. In addition, the surrounding park area is a favourite among the locals for picnics and small parties.
You will find picnic tables, toilets and separate washrooms for both genders in this area. Choose a spot overlooking the splendid lake view and relax in the calm and peaceful ambience. The parking area has two rows for easy wheelchair access too.
Westgate Park Lake
This pink lake in Melbourne is one of the natural wonders with a scientific explanation and is well worth seeing if you find yourself in the city during the warm summer months.
This incredible phenomenon can only take place in areas with relatively high temperatures and very few rainy days. The high concentration of salt in the water causes the algae to turn a vivid red when heated.
If you look at the water under direct sunlight, you'll notice a pinkish hue caused by this alga. If you find yourself in Melbourne, Australia, during the summer, you should not pass up the opportunity to witness this spectacular natural event. The stunning hue of Melbourne's Pink Lake is guaranteed to captivate any visitor.
Blackburn Lake Sanctuary
Among the many Melbourne lakes and rivers, this one deserves a special mention. This is one of the few remaining bushland reserves in the city located in the City of Whitehorse.
The place boasts significantly important bushland complete with extensive flora and fauna, a sprawling lake and well-maintained walking trails. In addition, there are many educational programmes organized at regular intervals here for the benefit of young learners.
The place is a haven for bird watchers, and you can spot Chestnut Teals, Eurasian Coots and Pacific Black Ducks among some of the many species of birds found in the area. This place is just ideal for spending some tranquil moments and being with the serene natural atmosphere.
Located in the suburbs of Scoresby, this is one of the lakes of Melbourne, which is spread out over an area of 100 acres, including the lake, adjoining gardens and a full-fledged market area.
A perfect fun place for the entire family where there is something for everyone. The place has many picnic grounds with plenty of tables and barbecues under the natural canopies offered by Pine, Elms and Gum trees. There are many rides like Jungle safari, toy train, Chairlift.
The last one takes you over the lake so that you can admire the beauty from up above. The general market, which has around 1200 stalls offering clothes, fresh produce, plants, handicrafts, toys, gift items, and other knick-knacks, is open on Wednesdays and Sundays.
An artificial lake with a recreation centre, this is one of the lakes in Melbourne where you can have a perfect day out and spend some relaxing and joyful time.
Along with the picnic and barbecue area, the place is full of parks for children equipped with the best of rides and swings. The walking track is as long as 10km.
You can also enjoy fishing and boating in the lake waters. The place has a community room too, which can be hired for private parties and functions. One of the highlights of this place is a Liberty Swing which is a unique opportunity for people in a wheelchair to ride on a swing.
This lake, constructed in the 1960s as a flood retention measure, is part of the well-known wetlands of coastal Altona and can be found in Melbourne's outer suburbs.
Important wildlife sanctuaries and a popular tourist recreation hub, the waters and their surroundings have attracted people from all over the world.
Every amenity necessary for a pleasant day trip is present, including a paved walking path, playground equipment, including rides for kids, picnic tables, covered pavilions, and clean restrooms. The fishing and boating opportunities, as well as the security of the water, are additional selling points for the area.
Following a day of excitement, visitors can refuel their appetites at one of the area's many eateries or street vendors.
Upper Yarra Reservoir
The most important part of the city’s water supply system is located in the Eastern part of Melbourne in Reefton.
This is one of the most beautiful places, with the Yarra River flowing in the background. You can have an amazing time walking down the trails surrounded by tall Eucalyptus trees.
The view of the reservoir from different points is just breathtaking. A place is an apt place for camping. You will have to book the campsites online. Be it walking, picnicking, camping or just spending some soulful time with the self, and this spectacular place is guaranteed to leave you with heartfelt memories.
Lake Nillahcootie is 36 kilometres south of Benalla and 25 kilometres north of Mansfield (about two and a half hours drive north-west from Melbourne) and a great place to picnic and swim. Boating areas are open from 8 am to sunset, and a map for boating is here.
There are many places to stay within a short drive, including The Delatite Hotel at 85 High Street in Mansfield, a lounge and a bar, and the Comfort Inn at 48 Bridge Street West in Benalla.
Yarra Yarra River
The Yarra River, more commonly referred to as "Yarra Yarra," flows through the centre of Melbourne. The riverbanks are home to a wide variety of tourist destinations, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Park, Herring Island Park, and many others. Many major events, including the Melbourne Festival, the Moomba Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival, and the Rowing Festival, are held on the river.
Along the banks of the Yarra River, you'll find an abundance of high-end eateries, stylish cafes, bustling markets, peaceful picnic spots, and scenic walking paths. Take a cruise down the river, or charter a yacht for a special occasion. If you want to get to know the city and its culture, you have to check out this spot.
Lake Elizabeth is just under two hours drive from Melbourne, heading southwest toward The Otways. Parks Victoria encourages visitors to discover its inspiring beauty with heavily timbered flanks and calm waters punctuated by the trunks of dead trees, drowned when the valley was flooded more than 50 years ago.
The nearest town is Forrest (about 15 minutes drive from the lake). There is a Lake Elizabeth campground, but Forrest also has several places to stay, like the quaint guesthouse at 16 Grant Street.
Tucked into the Otways, Lake Elizabeth is one of the best lakes in Victoria to spot an elusive platypus. Formed 50 years ago after a flood, towering tree trunks punctuate the water and provide an obstacle course for canoers and kayakers.
Nearby trails welcome mountain bikers and hikers who want to explore the lake and the neighbouring Barwon River.
If you want to spend the night (after all, the best time to see a platypus is at dusk and dawn), there’s a campsite just a 20-minute walk away. Keep a lookout for glow worms illuminating rocky ledges once the sun goes down.
Lake Eildon is three and a half hours north-west of Melbourne. Boating, waterskiing and picnics are favourite pastimes in this area. Houseboats are also available for hire, and most are fully equipped with kitchens, bedrooms, and creature comforts - this is a great holiday option with friends.
If you are on more of a budget, there are camping areas at Fraser and O'Toole Flat. Mansfield is a short drive from the northern section of the National Park for motels, and Eildon has some good value and family-friendly cabins at Eildon Riverside Holiday Park.
With over 500km of shoreline, it’s no small wonder why Lake Eildon is one of the most popular lakeside getaways in Australia. It is part of the Lake Eildon National Park and holds more water in its basin than Sydney Harbour.
Many flocks to Lake Eildon to take advantage of the outdoor activities abound here, like hiking, fishing, boating, and kayaking. There are numerous campsites, but there are also nearby townships with cosy hotels and bed and breakfasts you can stay in.
This pretty reservoir is nestled between Monbulk and Mount Evelyn at the tip of Dandenong Ranges National Park. It’s only an hour outside of Melbourne, making it ideal for a picnic day trip with the family.
Located in the Christmas Hills, this place offers the perfect picnic settings with the calm and tranquil waters of the reservoir serving as an ideal backdrop. The walking enthusiasts can enjoy the 15km long pathway, serving as a great watchpoint for the breathtaking natural surroundings.
The park has all the amenities and facilities and is a nice place to have a lovely time with friends and family. There are several rowing boats and sail clubs inside the park. Overall, it’s a great place to spend some fun-filled happy times with friends and family.
Lake Hindmarsh is in the Wimmera, about 400 kilometres north-west of Melbourne and is a large freshwater lake. The nearest town is Jeparit in the South and Rainbow to the North. If you approach the lake from the south, you'll come across the Wimmera Mallee Pioneers Museum at 5371 Dimboola-Rainbow Road in Jeparit.
The Museum exhibits old farm machinery in the beautiful historical buildings on site. They are open daily (but only in the afternoon on weekends). There are accommodation options like Nhill Oasis Motel or Victoria Hotel at Dimboola, both about 30 minutes drive from the lake.
Westgate Park, Port Melbourne
You might have spotted this peaceful wetland under the West Gate while you were stuck in traffic on the bridge above. Those will seem like the bad old days once you’re lolling beside a lake (take your pick: freshwater or saltwater), enjoying spectacular views of the bay and city skyline, and spotting native birds, including swans, spoonbills, ibises and lorikeets. It’s easy and pleasant to cycle there: follow the Main Yarra Trail downstream. Westgate Park has also been known to turn a delicious shade of pink from time to time.
It’s been doing so every year since the summer of 2012/13 when a collection of hot temperatures, algae combinations, lack of rainfall and excessive sunlight came together like a perfect pink witch’s brew. Luckily, the pink colour has no impact on birdlife on the lake, which you’ll regularly see frolicking around the shoreline.
Lake Tyrrell is Victoria's largest inland salt lake, and it can be found in the north-west of the state, about four hours from Melbourne. This stunning lake actually exists, and you'll be kicking yourself for not having heard of it sooner.
The salt content of this lake, which is about 208 square kilometres in size, is largely determined by weather patterns. In wetter and cooler months, the basin can fill to within a metre of its capacity, but in the dry summer months, almost all of the water evaporates. On a clear winter evening, when shallow water covers the lake, the sky above can be reflected in incredible detail and scale.
Lake Tyrrell's water takes on a pink hue during wet, warm periods of the year. In this case, the pink micro-algae, also known as red marine phytoplankton, are to blame for their coloration.
In Aboriginal culture, the word tyrille, which means sky or space, is the source of the name Tyrrell. Astronomy is an important part of the culture of Sea Lake's Indigenous Boorong people, and the night sky is seen as a repository of lore and history that spans millennia.
Native animals such as Mallee lizards, kangaroos, emus, and birds like white-fronted chats and seagulls frequent the area. You can't camp or drive on the lake bed, and you can't have fires anywhere near the lake.
Pink Lake, Dimboola
Another pink lake in northwest Victoria, the straightforwardly named Pink Lake, is found right beside the Western Highway. If you’re headed towards Little Desert National Park, this is a great stopover, and you can get a good view of the lake from the rest stop on the side of the road.
The brightness of the pink hue depends on how much rainfall the area has gotten – if it’s dry and there’s less rain, the concentration of pink is stronger—fun fact: the salt in this lake is harvested by the Mount Zero Olive company.