Fancy a dip in the Yarra River?

8 years ago
2 minutes

Any Melburnian knows it’s wise to keep well away from the Yarra River when it comes to refreshing dip in the summertime.

Sure, current water regulations make swimming in Melbourne’s iconic waterway illegal, and the water quality is at best questionable, but not-for-profit group Yarra Swim Co believes a floating swimming pool could change all of that.

The group has teamed up with UK-based architect Studio Octopi to conceptualise the 25 metre lap pool, which will also come with a smaller, children’s only play-pool within a planted, floating pontoon, changing rooms, and a cafe.

Melbourne’s very own waterway pool would be stationed on the river’s banks next to Enterprize Park, and is costed between $6 - $8 million.

Yarra Swim Co released the plans as part of Australia’s entry in the 15th Venice Architectural Biennale.

“Waterway pools are a growing concept globally, with famous examples already in place in Berlin, Paris and Zurich, and plans underway for New York and London.”

“[it will] serve to activate the river bank and provide a vibrant new public destination in Australia’s rapidly growing cultural capital.”


The innovative idea drew inspiration from a similar design in London’s iconic River Thames, which was launched in 2013, and has since received almost $300,000 in crowdfunding support.

“A key driver behind the proposal is an ambition to change people’s perception of the river and drive support for improving its quality. Similar waterway pools exist in Copenhagen, where that city’s Harbour Baths have been a catalyst for drastically reducing pollution in the urban water systems.”

The pool’s water will be purified river water, which will involve the dredging of an existing salt wedge. 

A Yarra River plunge may not be as far away as you’re thinking, with a pop-up version in the works for summer 2017.