With warmer weather on the way, Canberran's seek all things outdoors for some fun in the sun. As Canberra is the only city not on the coast, local's and tourists find other ways to cool down and enjoy the recreation areas just outside the city.
There is 66km of the Murrumbidgee River running through the ACT, which provides swimming areas, fishing spots and BBQ areas to enjoy in Summer and all year around.
Cotter Recreation area
is truly a hidden surprise 23km west of Canberra. Cotter Avenue
is a popular spot with a large modern playground, plenty of BBQ's, Cotter Dam, walks, large grassy areas to spread out and swimming in the river. This would have to be the most popular reserve for Canberra local's over Summer, especially on Christmas Day.
Swimming at Cotter Avenue Recreation area
Cotter Dam - accessed from the reserve area or via the Cotter Dam Discovery Trail.
A short walk or car ride over the bridge is Cotter Bend
, where you can swim at a wide part of the river bend where Paddys River meets the Cotter River. With plenty of parking and BBQ's nearby this large reserve also has plenty of room for all.
Cotter Bend Swimming Area
Large reserve at Cotter Bend for picnics, BBQ's and games of cricket
A few minutes drive down the road is Casurina Sands
. This area was recommended to us by friends as a more family-friendly area to swim and we can see why. With a real sandy beach and protected swimming area with no river run close to the shore, it is a great spot for kids. Afterwards have fun at the little playground and have a BBQ at the several available.
Casurina Sands swimming area
Casurina Sands BBQ and playground area.
Please be aware that like all remote river swimming holes, there is no phone reception in these areas and no lifesavers on duty. In Summer we have been told that snakes are a common sight, so please be aware of this also as you walk to the water and have a BBQ. No dogs are allowed in the area and there are also no rubbish bins, so you need to take your rubbish back out with you.
For swimming areas to take your dogs to, Uriarra Crossing
, Murrays Corner
, and Point Hut Crossing
are the only dog friendly parks you can take them to along the river.
Point Hut Crossing
Point Hut Crossing with access from picnic area.
also has a little sandy area next to the bridge.
Point Hut Crossing little swimming beach
In Tuggeranong, 22km south of the city, the two most popular areas are Kambah Pool and Pine Island Reserve.
has a steep walk down rocky steps (which can be abit tricky with the young ones), however it has a good stretch of "beach" for people to spread out on with their towels and umbrellas.
Be aware if you go to Kambah Pool area there is a hidden nudist beach a couple of hundred metres downstream from the general swimming area which is signposted.
Kambah Pool gates are closed from 6pm to 8am over winter, and from 9pm to 8am during daylight savings.
Pine Island Reserve
is another family favourite with several BBQ's, playground and a more inviting sandy beach area to paddle from. Locals start swimming in the water after October as the water starts to warm up, and is a popular weekend recreation area in Summer.
Pine Island Beach.
Pine Island BBQ area.
Pine Island gates are closed from 6pm to 8am over winter, and from 9pm to 8am during daylight savings.
Other popular areas include Tharwa Sandwash and under Tharwa Bridge
Swimming area under Tharwa Bridge
Further south, Angle Crossing
has swimming areas either side of the bridge.
Although the water can appear murky in some parts of the Murrumbidgee River, it is a refreshing spot to have a paddle and swim if you are careful of the conditions.
Canberra has so many hidden places to explore, so pack the car and your esky and get out into Canberra's great outdoors this weekend.
Enjoy the many walking trails along the river, such as the Cotter Dam Discovery Trail at Cotter Reserve.