New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published December 1st 2017
For exercise or a cool off, all year around
As the weather warms up, there are many indoor and outdoor swimming pools around Canberra to enjoy. Whether you want to escape the sun indoors, swim outside in the fresh air, take the kids to a splash park or do some laps for exercise - there are a great range of options to choose from. Some facilities are open all year around, however others are open for the summer period only, so ensure you check their websites before you leave. Enjoy your swim!
CITY & NORTH
Canberra Olympic Pool is run by the YMCA and is conveniently located in the heart of the city, making it easily accessible for local workers and tourists to duck in for a swim. It has a 50 metre indoor pool, toddler pool, 25 metre outdoor dive pool, picnic areas and a kiosk. As well as recreational and lap swimming, there are also gym classes, aqua aerobics, children's swimming lessons, school holidays programs and swimming and water safety lessons for people with disability. See here for details.
Dickson Aquatic Centre is an outdoor pool located just 4km north of the city, which is open in the warmer months only. The centre has a 7 lane, 50 metre outdoor pool, outdoor (shaded) toddler and learners pools as well as kids water park. With BBQ areas and café, this pool is a popular one with families, with plenty of space to spread out. See here for more information.
Big Splash Waterpark in Macquarie opens every November for the summer period and it is a highlight of the summer period for many families. For thrill-seeking older kids and adults there are 9 waterslides which you can ride as many times as you like, after paying the entry fee. For smaller kids there is a popular toddler pool and play area, as well as plenty of shade nearby to relax and have a break. There is also a 50 metre pool (which often has an inflatable obstacle course for the kids in summer) - with lap swimming available earlier in the day. They have a food outlet selling hot and cold food, coffees and ice cream. See here for more information and pricing. For a full article on Big Splash Waterpark, see here.
* Open in the warmer months only
Enjoy the thrills at Big Splash Waterpark!
The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Bruce have public swimming times in their 25 and 50 metre indoor pools - when not in use by the AIS. The public swimming timetable is very specific and changes regularly due to AIS commitments, so ensure you check this before you go. See here for the timetable and pricing.
The Canberra International Sports and Aquatic Centre, located in Belconnen, is run by Club Swim and has a 10 lane, 50 metre Olympic grade swimming pool, indoor water slide, pool with beach entry and fun water features for the kids (such as a Water Hedgehog which sprays water into the air and a large Water Mushroom) This is one of the most popular pools in Canberra, with more than 2000 people a week using the indoor water slide in summer!
If you like a pool to be on the warmer side, there is also a 5 lane, 25 metre pool which is heated to 32 degrees all year round which is perfect for slow lap swimming, gentle exercises and their Learn to Swim Program. See here for details and if you are interested in the Kids Mega Pass, which includes slide and an inflatable Aqua Castle in the school holidays, see here.
Gungahlin Leisure Centre is a newly-built facility, run by the YMCA, with a 50 metre indoor pool, toddler pool and a 25 metre pool for programs. This large facility also has a crèche and gym, with a wide range of classes to try. If you are looking for a cool place to swim with the kids this summer, out of the sun, this indoor facility also has a popular toddler area to have a splash. See here for more information.
Manuka Pool is a historical outdoor pool, located less than 10 minutes south of the city centre. It opens each October for the summer season only, with a 30 metre outdoor pool, shaded toddlers pool, playground and café. This pool is particularly popular with families, due its shady toddler area and pirate ship playground that is enjoyed by all ages. See here for details. For a full article on Manuka Pool, see here.
* Open in the warmer months only
Have a splash in the toddler pool at Manuka Pool
Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre is located in Woden, 20 minutes south of the city. It has an outdoor swimming area that is open in the warmer months only, with an 8 lane, 50 metre pool, a 20 metre learner's pool, toddlers pool, waterslide, BBQs and kiosk. This centre open for ice skating in winter and swimming in summer, so it is a handy location for family fun all year around. See here. * Swimming pool is open in the warmer months only
Have a slide into the smaller, children's pool
Lakeside Leisure Centre is run by the YMCA and located in Tuggeranong, 25 minutes south of the city. This popular indoor swimming pool has a café, baby pool, shallow toddler pool and a 50 metre lap pool. In the warmer months they open up the large doors to the outside - so although the pool is inside, there is airflow to the outside. Outside there are shady, grassy areas to sit and a popular splash park with buckets, sprays and fountains shooting water in all directions. See here for details. For a full article on Lakeside Leisure Splash Park, see here.
* Indoor pool is open all year around and the Splash Park is open just in the warmer months only
Colourful splash park at Lakeside Leisure Centre
OTHER WATER PLAY OPTIONS FOR KIDS
Weston Park, on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, has a playground area with a small water play area. Suitable for toddlers, the kids can splash their hands in the water and play in the playground before a picnic in the shade nearby. For a full article on Weston park, see here.
The Murrumbidgee River has a number of family friendly areas to have a BBQ and splash for the younger ones. The most popular area is Casuarina Sands in the Cotter region, as well as Kambah Pool and Pine Island in the south. These 3 areas have sand to sit on, so take your bucket and spade for a few sandcastles!
Queen Elizabeth Park II is located in Queanbeyan, 20 minutes east of Canberra. This new park has a series of water jets that shoot up in the warmer months, as well as a playground nearby to explore. For a full article on Queen Elizabeth Park II Water Play, see here.
With so many swimming pools, splash parks and river swimming areas in Canberra - as well as the coast only two hours away - there will be somewhere close by for everyone to enjoy a swim, all year around.
Have a splash off the beach at Pine Island, south of the city