When you think of lakes, you probably think of the Great Lakes in North America, or the huge bodies of water within the African continent. Even New Zealand has a bunch of lakes we’ve heard of. But did you know there are tens of lakes in Victoria? So many in fact we had to whittle our list down to our top nine. If you fancy a holiday by the lakeshore, there are plenty of places to choose from.
We know that travel is especially difficult right now. But alongside the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates, we want to continue to inspire you with new travel content so that when the world opens its doors again, you’ll be ready. Check Victoria’s Department of Health and Safety for the latest travel restrictions before your next trip.
What are the best lakes in Victoria?
With so many lakes in Victoria to visit, it can be a challenge to know which ones stand out above the rest. Our favourite place for lakeside adventure is the region known as Gippsland Lakes, but there are so many bodies of water offering different things that it’d be a crime not to see them, too. We chose our lakes based on available activities and accommodation.
The best lakes in Victoria are:
- Lake Eildon
- Silvan Reservoir
- Lake Hume
- Sugarloaf Reservoir
- Lake Buffalo
- Yan Yean Reservoir
- Gippsland Lakes
- Pink Lakes of Murray-Sunset National Park
- Lake Elizabeth
Want more inspiration for 2021?
Sign up to get email updates on popular destinations, COVID-19 travel updates and the latest deals right to your inbox.
Dreaming of your next trip?
Stay inspired for when the time is right. Get travel tips, news and deals sent straight to your inbox.
Distance from Melbourne: 3 hours 30 minutes (235km)
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 flock 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.
Distance from Melbourne: 1 hour (51km)
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 which makes it ideal for a picnic day trip with the family. However, if you want to stay by its serene shores a little longer there are plenty of accommodation options dotting the shore.
Distance from Melbourne: 3 hours 30 minutes (340km)
Lovely Lake Hume, fed by the Murray River, sits right on the border between Victoria and New South Wales and is brilliant for a recreational holiday. There are campsites all around the lakeside, large grassed areas, and opportunities for boating, bird watching, and fishing if you’re so inclined.
Distance from Melbourne: 1 hour (46km)
Just near the Christmas Hills lies the Sugarloaf Reservoir. This beautiful watering hole is perfect for sailing, fishing and picnicking, but it’s also a great place for a hike. In fact, you can circumnavigate the reservoir, a walk that is about 15km in total. It’s likely if you visit Sugarloaf, you’ll clap eyes on eastern grey kangaroos and wallabies. And if you’re really sharp, you could spot an echidna or two.
Distance from Melbourne: 3 hours 20 minutes (312km)
At the foot of Mount Buffalo, you’ll find a lake of the same name. This scenic lake is known for its excellent swimming holes. The water is clean and shallow enough for children, making Lake Buffalo and idyllic family holiday destination. There are BBQ areas and a playground to boot.
Yan Yean Reservoir
Distance from Melbourne: 1 hour (67km)
This sprawling reservoir is the oldest in Melbourne, having been established as far back as 1857. The wetlands about here are a haven for birdlife, and if you’re an old hand at bird watching, or even just getting into it, this is a stellar spot to spend the day. This reservoir is ideal for anyone looking to get out of Melbourne city for the day, as it’s a prime spot for picnicking.
Distance from Melbourne: 3 hours 20 minutes (277km)
The glorious Gippsland Lakes are the jewel in Victoria’s crown when it comes to large bodies of water. The area is made up of three lakes, Lake King, Lake Victoria and Lake Wellington. They are separated from the ocean by a long stretch of coastline known as the 90 Mile Beach.
Quite frankly, if you’re looking for lakes in Victoria, this is the place to be. Watersports abound across this region which stretches between Lakes Entrance, Bairnsdale and Sale. Within this area there are islands only accessible by boat, which makes it perfect for exploring.
Make time in particular for Rotamah Island and Raymond Island, home to adorable koala colonies, and Raymond Island. If you want to stay longer in this lovely part of Victoria, we recommend Metung or Paynesville.
Pink Lakes of Murray-Sunset National Park
Distance from Melbourne: 5.5 hours (500km)
Some of the most 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.
The best way to see the pink lakes of Victoria is on a nature walk. If you tread lightly, you might spot wildlife like kangaroos, wallabies, parrots, emus, echidnas, and more. Come springtime and the lakes are often surrounded by blooming wildflowers—the perfect accent to these pretty lakes.
Distance from Melbourne: 2 hours 10 minutes (170km)
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 look out for glowworms illuminating rocky ledges once the sun goes down.
Common questions about visiting lakes in Victoria
Victoria has tens of lakes within its borders. The largest body of water is Tyrrell Lake, a salt lake fed by the Tyrrell Creek that spans 20,860 hectares. Hume Lake is the second largest lake at 20,190 hectares.
The Gippsland Lakes are some of the best for swimming due to the sheer size of the three lakes that make up the region. This means you can almost always find a spot to yourself that’s uncrowded. If you have children, go to Lake Buffalo for the shallow and clear swimming holes.
There are over 50 lakes in Victoria with a surface area greater than 70 hectares.
Victoria has 12 wetland sites that act as homes to a vast variety of wildlife. Wetlands can be areas covered by fresh or salt water. These wetlands include the Gippsland Lakes, Hattah Lakes, Kerang Lakes, and Western District Lakes.
Discover where you can go
Are you making plans to get back out there? Find out whose borders are open with our interactive global map, and sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.
- Where to find Australia’s pink lakes
- The most beautiful lakes in Australia
- The most beautiful places to visit in Australia
- The best camping spots in Victoria
At Skyscanner Australia, we can help you find cheap flights, but we can also help you find great car hire deals and affordable hotels if you’re intending to stay closer to home. Just go to our website or use our mobile app.