From Debussy's Reflets dans l'eau (Reflections in the Water) to Claude Monet's Water Lilies, artists have been paying homage to the healing power of water for centuries. So as the winter wanes and the spring sun beckons, take time out to find that peaceful place by the water. Victoria's rich and varied landscapes offer countless opportunities to reflect both figuratively and literally.
1. Pink Lakes
Take a sun-soaked drive to the northwest corner of Victoria to see the magical Pink Lakes of the Murray-Sunset National Park. Enjoy a picnic on the shore and marvel at the striking pink waters of these four natural salt lakes. The lakes' distinct colour comes from the red algae, which grows in the water. And don't forget to pack your camera for that post-meditation Insta moment.
2. The Murray River
There's no better remedy to the clang and clamour of city life than a canoe ride past River Red Gums on the Murray River. Wills Bend offers some of the best kayaking and canoeing experiences in the world. It's also a popular camping, fishing and picnicking area. Designated campsites at the sandbars coupled with direct river access makes launching a kayak a breeze. And twitchers will love the diverse range of birdlife that call the river home.
3. Alfred Nicholas Gardens
Reconnect with nature and soothe the soul at the lush Alfred Nicholas Gardens, nestled in the Dandenong Ranges region. Soak up the peaceful surroundings and then wander past waterfalls, water features and the iconic ornamental lake and boathouse. Take in the blend of native and exotic trees including mountain ash, ginkgoes, maples and liquid ambers, and keep a look out for king parrots, colourful rosellas and the laughing kookaburras.
4. Blue Pool
Relive those childhood memories with an afternoon down at the waterhole. Take a journey out to the Briagalong State Forest, north of Sale, to take a dip in Blue Pool. This natural swimming hole carved into the Freestone Creek boasts a pebbly beach and rocky outcrops rising up on all sides. Bring the kids and make use of the shallows or swim out further to get cool in the deep water. After a swim, enjoy a walk up to the lookout to enjoy views over the creek.
5. Dunkeld Arboretum
Discover a living collection of the world's trees in a dramatic and beautiful setting at the base of the stunning Grampians National Park. The Dunkeld Arboretum offers a truly unique experience, complete with labyrinth, old sawmill, walking trails and picnic facilities. Birdwatchers will enjoy the myriad birdlife, with thorn bills, waterfowls and laughing kookaburras all close at hand.
6. Lake Elizabeth
Get off the beaten track and uncover the striking beauty of Lake Elizabeth, the hidden jewel of the Otways. Hire a canoe and paddle around the eerily calm waters punctuated by the trunks of dead trees that were drowned when the valley was flooded more than 50 years ago. Go in search of the elusive platypus, wander the picturesque trails, or pitch a tent at the campground, only a 20-minute walk from the water.
7. Mallacoota Inlet
Travel as far east as you can from Melbourne and be rewarded by the pristine beaches, sparkling waters and hinterland of Victoria's southeast coast. Cut across the waves to explore the wild terrain of Tullaberga Island, unwind with a visit to the islands in Mallacoota Inlet, and enjoy the birdwatching around Goodwin Sands. Keen anglers will leap at the chance to snag everything from bream, tailor, and flathead to trevally and salmon.
7 ways to unwind by the water
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