Take in the brilliance of this blue, peaceful oasis
Googong is a new residential area that is located 25 minutes from Canberra's city centre and just 15 minutes from the southern suburbs of Tuggeranong. For the residents who have moved to this new area, they are fortunate to be living just a stone's throw from Googong Dam and Foreshore, which is a scenic spot for fishing, walks, birdlife and family picnics overlooking the water. The alpine dam has been there since 1979 and has a number of restrictions for fishing and boating, as it is the water supply for Canberra, Queanbeyan and Googong. This also means that - although it is tempting in summer - there is no swimming or putting your feet in the icy cold water. Due to its large expanse of fresh water, it is surprisingly blue and a stunning sight to see as you drive down the hill towards the foreshore.
Along the edge of the dam, there is a scenic 4 kilometre return Shoreline Walk which begins from just opposite the main boat ramp at Drumstick Point. There is a parking and picnic area on the hill just above the start of the walk, so walkers can park the car and then wander down the pathway and look at the view on the way down...and what a view!
As you start your walk, ensure you take some time to enjoy the large congregation of water birds on the shoreline - which you can view from two small piers that jut out from the path. From here, you can also look right and see the walking track carved into the side of the hill. Although this track is 2 kilometres one way, if you want to make it longer the path continues inland and circles back to the start via the Western Foreshores Walk (number 6 on the map). I decided to walk along the shoreline path there and back, to take in the stunning, water views in both directions. The clear path travels over small bridges, up rocky steps and along the ridgeline, with just a few trees for cover.
There were two things that I found particularly stunning about this location. Firstly the colour of the alpine dam was so blue, it felt like I was looking at the ocean - despite being 2 hours inland. The other memorable feature about this unique location was the silence. If you stopped for a moment all you could hear was the wind, the birds and then in the background - absolutely nothing. This meant that when the birds called across the water, it appeared to be amplified around the wide open dam. As well as the cormorants and water birds on the water's edge, there were also small finches hopping along the side of the path, rosellas flying through the treetops and birds of prey circling high up in the sky. Even if you aren't a bird-watcher, you can't help but be impressed by the range of birdlife along this one shoreline path.
This easy 4-kilometre return walk only takes about 30 - 40 minutes if you don't stop, however I stopped frequently to watch the kangaroos on the hillside watching me, cormorants drying their wings on the shoreline, finches in the bushes and lizards sunning themselves on rocks. If you feel like a rest, there are two seats to sit on and take in the view and serenity. The first one is just a short way into the walk and the second is near the end of the Shoreline Walk, just before the path turns inland and continues onto the longer track.
They are the perfect places to sit with a flask of hot coffee and simply stop, listen and enjoy the beauty and brilliant blue, of this peaceful inland waterway.
* Whilst in the area, also check out the short walk to Cascades Lookout, for a view of the other side of the Googong Dam wall. If walking in summer, please be aware of snake activity on the path and take plenty of water, as there is little shade.