The swimming holes of Canberra as the mercury rises

george and orwell at the river

SHANE Rattenbury is reminding families about the beautiful, natural and free swimming spots we have in Canberra.

“Despite being located a couple of hours from the ocean, we have many beautiful swimming spots along the majestic Murrumbidgee River Corridor. Some of these hidden treasures include Pine Island, Angle Crossing, Casuarina Sands, Kambah Pool, Cotter Bend and Uriarra Crossing,” Shane said.

“A long-time family favourite, Pine Island, is a popular recreation area along the Murrumbidgee River in south Canberra. Conveniently located near the Tuggeranong town centre, the island features three separate barbeque areas with picnic tables and toilets, a playground, and a series of swimming holes and sandy beaches to relax on and settle in for the day. For young families looking for a safe place to paddle, Pine Island also has some shallow water holes.

“If you’re looking for a shady, green hideaway, perfect for picnics on lush grass then Angle Crossing is the spot for you. The crossing has two swimming holes, one either side of the low level road that cuts through the river. The river on the top side of the road has a deep swimming pool, where water gathers before filtering under the crossing to trickle over the rocks and reeds on the lower side of the road. Angle Crossing is ideal for families with different swimming capabilities.

“Casuarina Sands is a lovely lunch picnic spot, with barbecue facilities, shelter, drinking water, picnic tables and toilets. After a swim in the river take a stroll upstream to the historic pumping station. For the energetic there is a 14km marked walk along the river to Kambah Pool, with views of the spectacular Bullen Range along the way. Allow eight hours one way.

“You can keep a family busy all day with activities at Kambah Pool. Starting at the pool there are a range of bush walking trails varying in difficulty, all with lovely views, native spring flowers and wildlife to discover. Kambah Pool also has a great swimming spot and a lunch area equipped with picnic tables and toilets.

“Tucked in a bend in the river, where Cotter River meets Paddys River, is Cotter Bend. Enjoy a picnic on the grass, read a book under a large shady tree or relax with a swim along the meandering river. Cotter Bend has barbecue facilities, picnic tables, drinking water, toilets and is wheelchair accessible. After a swim take the short drive to Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre for a snack at the cafe or stay longer and discover the wildlife in the nature reserve, open 9 am to 5 pm every day.

“Another local treasure is the Tharwa Sandwash located in a bend along the Murrumbidgee River. Stop at the Tharwa General Store for directions, advice on what wildlife to look out for and some picnic snacks. The area has a calm, sandy and open stretch of river suitable for swimming, kayaking and water play. There are 128 species of birds known to inhabit this space of only two hectares, so it’s a perfect spot to lie under a big eucalyptus tree and listen out for the native bird calls.

“Looking for a swimming spot you can enjoy with your dog? At Uriarra Crossing dogs are welcome to join you for a play and swim with both on-lead and off-lead exercise areas. Uriarra is also a great picnic spot with tables, shelter, toilets and barbecue facilities.”

Summary of facilities available at Canberra’s top swimming spots

MRC Recreation Area Toilets BBQs Picnic tables Shelter Play- ground Dogs allowed Wheelchair access
Pine Island Y Y Y Y Y
Angle Crossing Y
Casuarina Sands Y Y Y Y Y Y
Kambah Pool Y
Cotter Bend Y Y Y Y
Tharwa Sandwash Y
Uriarra Crossing Y Y Y Y Y

Note: all recreation areas have walking trails and canoe entry points.

[Photo: John’s Kelpies of Few Accomplishments at Uriarra Crossing]

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