Lerderderg State Park, Victoria, Australia

Posted on November 29, 2015






Graham’s Dam


Further along the track from Graham’s Dam: another deeper part of the river and a quiet place to be alone.





Graham’s Dam






On the way to the water…




I’d had enough of the world on the day I decided I’d say hello to Lerderderg. You know those times where everything has built up and you just don’t know what to do with yourself. This was one of those days. I wasn’t sure whether to cry or scream but I was sure I needed a nature hit and that somehow it would make things better.

I’d read about Lerderderg in a book of bush walks in Victoria and I’d made a mental note of it. There’s some serious bush walking in this park and the park itself is a really big slab of land with entry points that come off entirely different parts of the highway from what I can gather. I got a taste of one tiny bit of Lerderderg (with so much more still to explore!). The idea of getting to Graham’s Dam where I knew I could swim was what brought me to this particular part of the park. I hadn’t realised you can camp, bring dogs and do multiple day hikes.

To get right in to where the nicer swimming spots are you’ll be walking for about 30mins and it’s a beautiful walk. Along the way I saw birds I don’t know the names of and birds I do – sulphur crested cockatoos are my favourites. Their screeching banter and antics brings me right back to earth. There were bees and trees and long spats of walking where I was alone or alone with a herd of wild goats across the river. That was a highlight, watching those guys talking amongst themselves and climbing up the steep rocky hill.

When I got to Graham’s Dam I had no idea that it was actually it. I kept going. I asked a guy where I was and he consulted his map (yes I never bothered with one of those!) and told me how steep the hiking was further along. So I planted myself along part of the river and watch a mother duck and her ducklings. There was no one around for an hour or more — I lost track of time. I just sat and spoke with the wind and left some of my troubles behind by a old camp fire there.

Back at Graham’s Dam I lay out on the rocky bank. It was only about a 22 degree day but by the dam it feels protected and the surrounding rocks seems to warm you up. I dunked myself in, and, freshly baptised, I felt brilliant.

On a hot day this place might feel a bit intense as there’s not much shade, but it is so worth the visit and a dunking in the water. The rocks and the rugged landscape feel so grounding.

Enjoy this place. Please use the Confessions Code when you visit and say hello to rocks and the bees and goats from me.

x Allison



Where: Lerderderg State Park is on the outskirts of Melbourne. It’s about an hour’s drive from the city.


Getting there:  You’ll need to head to Lerderderg Gorge Road. At the end of the road is the car park at Mackenzie’s Flat Picnic Ground. There’s plenty of information on the park online with downloadable maps available. If you’re going for a walk in the park a map is a really good idea. The tracks are visible but there’s not loads of signage. This makes the park beautiful in an untouched way, but it’s easy to loose track of where you are.


Accommodation: You can camp in the park. Alternatively, the area surrounding the park is not quite rural so you’d be best to stay either in Melbourne or a little further out around the Mount Macedon, Daylesford or Kyneton area for a bit more of a country feel. 


Facilities: There’s toilets at the Mackenzie’s Flat Picnic area where you park your car.


Dogs: Yes (please be aware of wildlife)


About the area: I’m not terribly familiar with this part of Victoria and the park itself is huge so I’m yet to explore other entry points into it and other places to swim. Daylesford is not far away and famous for it’s bath house and springs so if you fancy more water (in a more gentrified environment) then you can head to spa territory there.


Nearby known swimming spots: I believe there’s other parts of the Lerderderg River in the park you can swim in and there’s also Hepburn Pool in Hepburn. In Victoria, close to the city, you can check out Warrandyte, Pound Bend (also around Warrandyte) and Blue Lake in Plenty Gorge. Further out in the Gippsland area take a look at Blue Pool and Coopers Creek. There’s also Turpins Falls, Ladies Bath Falls, Polly McQuinns Weir. Laughing Waters, Buchan Falls, Burrong Falls and Lysterfield Lake. (I’m still making my way through this list, so stay tuned for more listings on Confessions!)


Nearby towns: Melbourne, Mount Macedon, Daylesford or Kyneton.