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Published March 18th 2016
A family friendly swimming hole - with a surprise
Kambah Pool is located in Tuggeranong, less than 20 minutes south of the city. It is interesting to note that Kambah Pool isn't actually a pool. It is a stretch of the Murrumbidgee River that has a sandy beach for swimming and for kayakers to come ashore on their trip down the river. If you visit this area in Summer, you will find a family friendly beach with plenty of umbrellas, floating rings, pool noodles and boogie boards as visitors enjoy the refreshing waters of the Murrumbidgee.
Another important factor about this recreation area is that 500m or so downstream is a nudist beach - yes, you heard right. As you drive into Kambah Pool Recreation Area the general rule is: turn left for swimmers on, turn right for swimmers off. If you get this mixed up you are in for a surprise! This is Canberra's only nudist area, which began in the 1970s and is still used today. Unfortunately, any signage with the word "nudist" on it was souvenired by amused locals, so now it is described as the Rock Pool on the signage as you drive in.
Kambah Pool is easily accessible by road, however it is then a steep set of rock stairs down to the river from the carpark. This can be tricky with young children in tow or people with mobility issues. From the top of the stairs you get a great view of the river below, however, watch out for snakes in the summer months on the way down.
Kambah Pool is a sandy beach with enough room for plenty of people to spread out with towels and enjoy a cool dip. The water can be quite chilly in the winter months, so dip your toe in if you dare! During Summer however, it is a beautiful and refreshing place to swim, in such a scenic location under Bullen Range on the other side of the river.
If there are too many people on the beach (often on a scorcher Summers day after school hours), find a spot on the bank, or walk a little further up the river to get a quiet spot under the shade of a tree.
Along the edge of the river is the Murrumbidgee Discovery Track - a 27 kilometre track between Point Hut Crossing in the south, and finishes up at Casuarina Sands to the north. If you would like to do part of the walk, but not all, one idea is to leave a car at Pine Island (another swimming area on the Murrumbidgee) and another car at Kambah Pool, then you can walk or mountain bike between the two on a 7km, 3 hour walk one-way. See here for more information.
Kayakers often paddle by this scenic area and pull up their kayaks onto the beach for a break and swim. Fishermen are also seen out in boats or walking along the rivers edge searching for a quiet spot. If you would love to do the same, check out the Tams ACT website for more details about the Murrumbidgee River Corridor and its tributaries.
If you arrive early to Kambah Pool, keep an eye out for the resident wombats that call this area their home and there have been platypus sightings further up the river. Also look up and enjoy the birdlife around you with cockatoos, rosellas and parrots flying overhead. When you have finished your relaxation and exploration of Kambah Pool, get back into your thongs and make the trek back up to the top again… but make sure you turn back to enjoy the view!