Lakes and waterways of the Great Dividing Range
The lakes and reservoirs north of the Great Dividing Range are controlled by Goulburn Murray Water (irrigation) or Coliban Water (domestic) so their purposes and rules differ. The Parks Victoria map shows dark green parks and light green 'selected' parks (accessibility?). The Maldon Historic Area is left of centre.
The top right-hand lake is Eppalock, the largest in the system. It has four caravan parks dotted around, Knowsley, two at Eppalock, and Redesdale. They can serve up to 5000 campers and visitors for all water sports and conviviality (some parks have swimming pools as well), It's a big reservoir with many valleys and coastline to explore.
Upper Coliban is less salubrious, difficult road in, just a car park and access to the water. It's a hidden gem, though – dog walkers unite. These hills have some serious estates dotted around, as the farms sell out and city escapees build on the hills. Then there's Malmsbury, which was emptying when visited, so no pretty pics. It's another picnic area, like Lauriston, but just above town.; below is Upper Coliban.
Due south of Eppalock near Kyneton are the more tranquil reservoirs of Upper Coliban entry from Kyneton-Springhill Road; Lauriston (to the north), Lauriston Reservoir Rd; and Malmsbury, in town at Sullivan St. These belong to Coliban Water and are open daily from 8am until dusk – water quality is paramount so no swimming or boating. Coliban encourages fishing, bush walking, relaxations such as painting and photography, picnics with free electric barbeques at Lauriston and Malmsbury, and unlike the holiday parks, leashed dogs are allowed.
The Coliban group are a great half-day wander from Maldon. They're in picturesque dairy-type country, all rolling hills and farms giving way to serious estates. Each has a character of its own, even if they are so close to each other.
Lauriston is gorgeous and the pick of the southern lakes.
The Murray Goulburn Water reservoirs have different rules. Like Eppalock, they are social places for (regulated) water sports and family fun.
One that slips in between is Tullaroop Reservoir at Rodborough Rd near Carisbook. It's just a picnic spot, but it has a church hidden on a promontory, over-used by artists – Bucknall Church peeping out of the trees. Closer access is limited, probably 4-wheel drive.
Lake Cairn Curran has the lot. Sandy beaches, family bays, water sports, and it's closest to Maldon.
Sightseeing advised, especially at sunset.
Maldon (and everyone else) is playing down at Laanecoorie, 20 minutes from Maldon along the Laanecoorie -Eddington Rd. It has a large caravan park and it wasn't like this on Australia Day!
Last and smallest, south of Bendigo, there's little No 7 Reservoir aka Crusoe on the old Coliban Channel, Crusoe Road, Good for swans, joggers, walkers, bikes, and family fun - swimming and board sports (no engines).