Come bathe in Harrietville's pristine waters – the summer snow melt that has trickled down the curves and creases of the majestic Mount Feathertop. Wade in swimming holes surrounded by the tranquility of nature on the east and west branches of the Ovens River; or swim out through the deep cool waters of the Tronoh Dredge Hole to bask in the sun on the pontoon.
TRONOH DREDGE HOLE
The Tronoh Dredge Hole in Harrietville is a small lake surrounded by tranquil bushland. Its refreshingly cool waters make it a popular place to swim for people of all ages: it's large enough for lap swimming, it has a shallow netted section for small children, and teens will love the jetty and floating pontoon.
The hole is also a great spot to kayak or paddleboard, have a picnic or go fishing, with the water stocked with trout each year.
A lovely walking track, circles the lake for about 1.5km, with a number of other short loop walks branching off from the trail's southern end.
Nature has beautifully reclaimed what was once the Southern Hemisphere's biggest bucket-dredge gold mine, which operated between 1942 to 1954. The remains of the dredge hole are a fraction of the size of what once housed the 167m long, 4,813t machine, and while the hole remains deep, it is nowhere near the 41m depth the machine was capable of dredging.
HOW TO GET THERE
Turn onto Feathertop Track in Harrietville. After 550m, turn right onto the dirt track. Keep to the left of the fork in the road.
There are many quiet places to take a refreshing dip in summer along the east and west branches of the Ovens River. The two river branches run either side of the centre of Harrietville, merging just north of Tavare Park.
In summer, when the waters are warm and calm enough for swimming, many spots – like alongside Tavare Park – are shallow and suitable for young children to wade in.
Various spots along the rivers, often where dams have been built, offer deeper waters for plunging in. To find a spot on the East Branch, take a walk along the East Ovens River Track or the Riverside Walk. For the West Branch, walk along the Charlie Miley Walking Track.
River levels can change quickly. Avoid strong currents and never swim during heavy rains or floods.