Swan Bay (Victoria, Australia)
Swan Bay is located on the Bellarine Peninsula near the heads of Port Phillip Bay at Queenscliff (approx. 1:40 drive from Melbourne).
This is a fabulous spot for flat-water-blasting and when the conditions are right it is one of the best speed sailing spots in Victoria.
The spot work with anything with North or West in it – N, NW, NE, W & SW. It could also work in an E breeze however there might be a bit of land obstruction if sailing on the east side of the lake. The best direction is west/north west.
It also works at any tide but high tide is best. You need to look at the Queenscliff tides for Swan Bay. There is about a 3 hour time difference e.g. if high tide is midday at Queenscliff, Swan Bay will be around 3pm. Use this link to see tides at Queenscliff
There are sandbars everywhere which you can sail over on higher tides but become very shallow on lower tides; even exposed – which is great for speed-sailing but it depends on the wind direction as to whether this spot would work at low tide.
Most of the sand bars seem to run east/west so westerly winds & easterly winds you would need a high tide to clear the sandbars whilst some of the channels between the sand bars might work in a N or S breeze might work in low tide.
The water in the bay is surprising clear (as it is fully tidal) and bottom of the bay is a mix of silty sand, weed and mud and is generally knee to waist deep making it a great place for people to learn.
When the wind blows from the W or the E, runs are up to 9km long are possible across the entire bay. N & S the runs become a bit shorter but still very respectable lengths.
The other great thing about this spot is it would be a great spot during winter in the warmer northly breezes so sailing here all year round is possible.
Access & Launching
Launch from Queenscliff Lonsdale Yacht Club at the southern end of the bay (almost right in Queenscliff).
There is a good grassy rigging area, picnic tables right on the water and toilets.
The water is shallow at the launch area but you only need to walk out 20 metres or so before it is deep enough to get going.
You can also launch half way up swan bay at the end of swan bay road (boat ramp & jetty) but you will have to walk through some mud to get out. The Yacht Club is much deeper as you sail in to the main channels.
Whilst a couple of local kitesurfers sail here there isn’t much room for rigging at the yacht club so it is not really suitable.
Most Kitesurfers tend to go to Point Henry near Geelong.
The obvious hazards are the sand bars. At high tide the water is about 30-40cm above the sand bars and weed so a raked weed fin is essential.
It is also said that there is the odd sea urchin in the bay so booties are highly recommended.
There are a few banjo sharks in the bay but these are harmless but can be a bit of scary moment if you hit one at speed.
Where To Stay
Whilst you could quite easily do a day trip from Melbourne to this spot, Queenscliff is a beautiful historic coastal town and an ideal place to stay for a night or more.
There are plenty of accommodation options from caravan and camping parks, hotels, motels, bed n breakfast and private houses and apartments.
The town has a good variety of cafes, restaurants, takeaways, pubs/bars and shops to browse.
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- Flat Water Blasting
- Speed Sailing
- Longboard Cruising
- Flat Water
- Cold Water
- Moderate Temp Water
- Salt Water
- Easy Launching
- On-site Parking
- Free Parking
- Public Toilets
- Sand Bars
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1 Review on “Swan Bay (Victoria, Australia)”
I had been eying this place off for several years and finally made it down there in April 2021.
Recently I had met some the locals over at Lake George in SA and they mentioned what a great place this is for flat-water-blasting and speed sailing.
The access and launch area at the yacht club are fabulous with minimal effort required to get blasting from the get-go.
I was also impressed with the water quality and clarity given the bay has a silty muddy bottom.
The day we sailed the wind came and went quickly (unfortunately) however we did get a taste of how good this spot is to sail.
When it was blowing we had about 15 – 18 knots from the WNW and the water was super flat. getting onto the plane was so easy due to the flat water.
Given the lake is shallow it was easy to stop and have a rest even way out in the middle and the silty bottom was firm enough that you could just beach start each time.
We will definitely return to this place as another option to Inverloch and particularly during winter to sail the northerlies.