According to the RSPCA, 39% of Australian households have a dog as a pet. Being a dog owner means looking after its well-being, taking it for walks every day and giving it a varied and interesting lifestyle. If you have a bigger dog, then you may need some wide open spaces so they can go for a run and wear off some of that excitable energy. Thankfully, if you are a dog owner in Canberra there are many places to give them a run, with fenced dog parks located all around the city and a variety of leash and off-leash areas to choose from.
If your pooch likes to have a run and a splash, there are two reserves along the Murrumbidgee River where they are allowed to cool off in the water and really let go. Why not hop in the car, wind down the window and let those doggy ears flap all the way to the Murrumbidgee River - your dog is sure to be as happy as this one...
Image supplied by ACT Government website - Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate
Dog-friendly reserves along the Murrumbidgee River - (1) Uriarra Crossing Reserve (with river swimming), (2) Murrays Corner and (3) Point Hut Crossing (with river swimming). Original map supplied by ACT Government website
1/ Uriarra Crossing is a scenic picnic and river swimming area (for both humans and dogs), located less than half an hour from Canberra, via Weston Creek. This riverside area is the largest of the three options, with Uriarra Reserve East on one side of the river and Uriarra Reserve West on the other. Both sides have toilet facilities, picnic tables, plenty of areas for the dogs to have a runaround and sandy beaches to access the river. Just a short walk away is also Swamp Creek, which is another area that dogs can freely play. Please read the swimming warning signs as there are no lifeguards or rescue aids along the Murrumbidgee River. See here for a Google map and here for details. For a full article on Uriarra Crossing, see here.
* For a birds-eye view of the Murrumbidgee River, dogs are also allowed at Shepherds Lookout, above Uriarra Crossing.
Spend the day at the scenic Uriarra Crossing - with interesting places to sniff and explore!
Map of the dog friendly areas at Uriarra Crossing. Please note that dogs aren't allowed on the walking paths
2/ Murrays Corner is a reserve located at a bend of Paddys River, which eventually joins up to the Murrumbidgee River. It can be found along Paddy's River Road (Tourist Drive 5), just a short drive from The Cotter Recreation Area. Dogs are free to run off-leash around the Murray's Corner picnic area and large grassy reserve, however it is not a designated river swimming area. For the humans there are toilets and picnic tables, so you can stay longer and enjoy a picnic and relaxation time with the whole family. See here for a Google map and here for details.
Let the dogs out of the car and let them run around Murrays Corner picnic area
3/ Point Hut Crossing is located near the suburb of Gordon, 25 minutes south of the city. This leafy reserve has both off-leash and leash areas, so ensure you read the signs carefully to determine where your pooch can play. For the humans, there are picnic tables and toilets at this reserve, so you can stay for awhile and take a picnic. Although dogs aren't allowed on the walking trails from the reserve, they are allowed to walk (on leash) to the Dog Exercise Area, a short walk up the river walking trail.
Each time I drive past Point Hut Crossing however, the most popular spot for people and their dogs is at a little swimming beach on the opposite side of the river - which is marked in yellow on the map as an "off leash" area. Here the dogs can cool off in the river and have a run on the sandy shores - and owners can take a dip too. See here for a Google map and here for details.
* Before going for a swim at Uriarra Crossing or Point Hut Crossing, check the latest updates on the water quality, with some places unsuitable to swim after heavy rain.
Map at the Point Hut Reserve (red area is leashed. yellow is off-leash)