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Ankle Deep Water, Melbourne
Splash Parks, Shallow Beaches, Lakes and Streams

From shallow entry beaches on the Mornington Peninsula to artificial streams in the burbs, here are over a dozen places to cool down from the bottom up on a hot Melbourne day. Ankle Deep Water is my collection of shallow water recreation areas that I collated incidentally while compiling the Guide to Freshwater Swimming Holes. Most of these are too shallow for a swim, but great for a frolick, a splash, or simple respite from the heat without having to fully commit to a swim.
Select Your Shallow Water Area:
Click or tap on the title of each shallow water recreation area below to find out how to get there and what to expect, or alternatively search by map. These areas have been divided into free splash parks and splash pads, shallow entry beaches and shallow entry lakes. I have visited and enjoyed all of these sites.
Shallow Entry Beaches:
Ankle Deep Water at Mentone Beach, Mentone The nearby headland has created a very shallow beach with firm sand that is probably the closest shallow entry beach to the city. It's also dog friendly, so if you have kids and dogs in tow, this is the beach for you… Ankle Deep Water at Mothers Beach, Mornington As the name suggests, this beach is well frequented by mums (and dads) bringing young kids for a play in the water. Amazing views of the harbour from above and a tranquil beach down below that is well protected from the waves and wind…
Ankle Deep Water at Rickett's Point, Beaumaris When the tide is out there is lots to explore in the shallow pools that are left behind in the sandy hollows. Bring a bucket to collect some shells or build a sandcastle, then follow it up with a coffee in the upmarket beachside cafe…

Free Splash Parks and Splash Pads:
Ankle Deep Water at Plum Garland Memorial Playground, Albert Park A little splash pad on the beach foreshore within a beach inspired playground. There's lots of sand and inquisitive sparrows to play with, as well as a view of the beach. Here's how to find the partly hidden button to turn it on… Ankle Deep Water at Rockpool Waterway, Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens A wide artificial stream flows over raised, non-slip concrete blocks in this designated wading area within the gardens. Make sure you stay between the flags. After your dip, enjoy a picnic in one of the architect designed gardens or wander through the extensive themed plantings… Ankle Deep Water at Ron Barassi Snr Park, Melbourne Docklands This playground typifies everything Docklands: New and shiny, with amazing city views, but windswept, desolate and noisy. Here is my suggestion for when to visit to enhance the positives and minimise the negatives at this water feature and playground… Ankle Deep Water at Harleston Park, Elsternwick A twenty metre long constructed concrete and stone meandering stream provides plenty of opportunity for balancing, rock hopping and waltzing through the gently flowing water. This quiet suburban park in the backstreets of Elsternwick also contains a playground and a long slide built on a hill… Ankle Deep Water at Booran Reserve, Glenhuntly Booran Reserve in Glenhuntly is a water-inspired playground on the site of a former Melbourne Water service reservoir. The water features include a giant frog, artificial stream, hand pumps and screws, splash pad, mini-aqueducts and a wet sandpit… Ankle Deep Water at Kingston Botanic Gardens, Heatherton A pebble laden artificial stream with two branches running through the eucalypt forest at the botanic gardens. It can be a bit uneven under foot, so this one probably works best with gumboots. The small but welcoming botanic gardens has a couple of lush lawns for picnics… Ankle Deep Water at Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden, Melbourne Several water features operate here including the spiral fountain, the beehive fountain and a meandering stream. This place gets very busy on hot days, so arrive early to secure your patch of lawn… Ankle Deep Water at Halliday Park, Mitcham A hand pump feeds two hand operated sluice gates for budding young dam engineers in this innovative playground that also includes flying foxes and a giant cradle swing. Watch out for falling acorns though, particularly if you've recently read Chicken Little… Ankle Deep Water at Royal Park Nature Play, Parkville Located next to the Royal Children's Hospital in Royal Park, this adventure playground houses a spacious splash pad and an artificial stream that is powered by kids pressing down on some very cool steel mushroom pumps, with the water spilling into a sandpit downstream… Ankle Deep Water at Crocodile Park, Point Cook Water spurts out of a metal crocodile's mouth into a shallow trough, which spills into a meandering stream complete with giant stepping stones. The stream then continues on to a splash pad around the corner. If you come to this park to stay dry on the adjacent play equipment - forget it, it's not going to happen, so admit defeat before you leave home and at least pack a towel… Ankle Deep Water at Seville Water Play Park Seville Water Play was the first community splash park of its kind in Melbourne. It has some of the most powerful water jets around in this innovative re-purposed public space in the Yarra Valley. The park now includes a brand new playground next door… Ankle Deep Water at Wombat Bend Playground, Lower Templestowe Wombat Bend playground in Lower Templestowe has a long mini-aqueduct that empties into a huge sandpit. As a playground, Wombat Bend is one of the best in Melbourne, but its water feature, as designed, performs poorly. Here's my advice on how to turn this water feature back into the fun water play activity that it was intended to be… Ankle Deep Water at Riverwalk Splash Park, Werribee A large interactive splash park with heaps of bubblers, jets, pumps and tanks to play in, that was designed to attract young families to a new housing estate. It's the biggest free splash park that I've seen so far in Melbourne…
Splash Parks and Splash Pads With Entry Fees:
Ankle Deep Water at Hippo Beach, Werribee Zoo If you are planning to visit Werribee Open Range Zoo, bring your kid's water play gear and head to Hippo Beach. It's a shaded splash pad next to the hippopotamus enclosure, complete with life-size hippo sculptures. The splash pad only operates on hot days in summer, but the adjacent hand operated water pump and aqeducts can be used all year round…

If you are looking for a day trip further afield than Melbourne, check out shallow water recreation areas in regional Victoria.

Before you head out, make sure to read the water safety information. In addition to your own independent planning, risk management and safety measures, I suggest that if you are visiting these spots, bring bathers, sunscreen, a hat, a towel, a pair of crocs or sandals, a set of warm clothes, a bucket and spade, and any inflatables that you want. Bring a swimming nappy if your child is not yet toilet trained. You can also visit some of these spots in winter if everyone is wearing gumboots.

© Brad Neal 2017. All rights reserved.