Stay cool, stay safe

Whether you're a white-water adventure-seeker, casual canoe day-tripper or you want a family-friendly swimming hole, Victoria’s parks are the perfect place to make a splash this summer. 

This summer is different. Many places in Victoria have been impacted by recent flood and storm events. Before you head off, research your destination. For more information, visit our Flood and Storm Affected Parks page.

Take a kayak journey along winding rivers or sail out onto placid lakes. Explore shipwrecks and unique marine life along Victoria's beautiful coast. Cool off in the waters near glistening waterfalls and relax and rejuvenate. 

With so many activities to choose from, make sure you’re ready for nature by planning ahead, whether it’s for a day trip or a longer stay. Water comes with different risks, so always keep water safety in mind. Recent storms and flooding mean higher than usual water levels and impacted water quality. Make sure you plan ahead if you plan to get into or out on the water this summer.  

Our rangers and Licensed Tour Operators have kindly shared their tips to help you stay safe while staying cool this summer.

Stay cool by… going for a dip

A young couple walk out into the small waves at a beach at Wilsons Promontory National Park.

There's no better way to cool off and rejuvenate than by getting into the water for a splash. Remember, our waterways can be especially busy over the warmer months, so always have a backup plan if your swimming spot of choice is busy. 
This summer is different – water quality has been impacted by recent flood and storm events. Before you swim, make sure to check EPA Victoria’s updates and alerts on water quality in Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra River. 

“If you are not a strong swimmer, the surf is not the place to be," warns Parks Victoria ranger Tim, from South Gippsland. "Can you identify a rip? Would you know what to do if you are caught in a rip?” 

“Nothing beats a refreshing swim on a hot summer day," agrees Lucy, a ranger at Wilsons Promontory National Park, “but even the calmest looking water can hide dangerous currents and undertows. Swim where it’s safe, by staying between the flags.”  

More tips for staying safe while swimming:

  • Only swim in areas where swimming is permitted.
  • Never go into the water by yourself.
  • Beware of hidden underwater hazards, like strong currents and debris.
  • Swim within the limits of your experience and comfort.
  • Beware of swimming near or under waterfalls. This can be dangerous due to strong currents, submerged hidden rock ledges and other hazards.
  • Be aware that some sites close for visitor safety, such as days with elevated fire danger, or concerns about blue-green algae. Before you depart, check the Parks Victoria website for changed conditions at your destination.
  • Jumping off piers and jetties is dangerous and not permitted.

Stay cool by… boating and sailing

A mother and daughter boating in Mallacoota Inlet, Croajingolong National Park

Want to visit lakes and rivers with your friends? Consider sailing at some of Victoria’s spectacular parks! 

Jodie Ashworth from H2O Tours and Adventures loves taking visitors on boat cruises to explore the Gippsland Lakes. Jodie's advice is, “be sun smart and always carry enough water to stay hydrated while out on the water”. 

More tips for staying safe while boating and sailing:

Stay cool by… snorkelling or diving

Two scuba divers at The Arches Marine Sanctuary

See Victoria's coast differently as you explore an underwater world. 

“While there are a lot of great places to see, always plan your marine park exploration with safety in mind,” says Monique, a marine ranger for Port Phillip Bay. “Many of Victoria's marine protected areas are in exposed locations, where local weather and sea conditions need to be carefully considered before getting in the water. Always dive or snorkel with a buddy and stay within your skill limits. Respect the flora and fauna in the marine protected area and take your rubbish home."

More tips for staying safe while snorkelling or diving:

  • Consider local weather and sea conditions carefully before getting in the water.
  • Always dive or snorkel with a buddy and stay within your skill limits.
  • If you're new to snorkelling and diving, or want to improve your skills, we recommend contacting a Licensed Tour Operator. Their expert instructors know the best local spots to see amazing marine wildlife, and they have all the right gear to get you in and out of the water safely.

Make the most of summer... safely

Although a great time to have a dip, remember that this summer is different than usual. Due to storm and flood events, some of your favourite parks may be impacted or closed due to safety. So make sure you check weather conditions and the Parks Victoria website for park closures before heading out. 

Remember due to heavy rain and flooding there is an increased risk of mosquito borne diseases. Wear suitable clothing and apply insect repellant regularly.    

Always have a backup plan. If the carpark is full, the park is too. Don’t cause overcrowding, find a quieter place to visit.

One of the best, and safest, ways to experience Victoria’s waterways is with a Licensed Tour Operator. There are more than 400 Licensed Tour Operators across Victoria who are ready to help you discover our magnificent parks and waterways. Find one today, and start exploring.

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