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Best of Canberra swim-off – rivers and lakes

By Gabrielle Kneipp - 12 October 2015 4

Casuarina Sands

I have been in Canberra for four years now and am ashamed to admit that I have not explored the area as much as I should have in that time. Actually, at all. So with the Best of Canberra moving away from food to the best things to do around here more generally, I am happy to begin exploring.

When the call went out for the best river and lake swimming holes in and around Canberra, some readers felt it best to stick to the local pool or crash at the neighbours’ place. Whilst tempted to lie on the warm tiles beside my mate’s pool for the afternoon, I put the adventure hat on, (got to be sun-safe), and went to test the waters at two of our readers’ favourites: Uriarra Crossing and Casuarina Sands.

Uriarra Crossing

Uriarra Crossing has a lush, shaded area filled with little BBQs and massive picnic tables. I love the look of it because it makes me want to come back with friends to have a picnic and throw the Frisbee around or bring the football to play a bit of touch. Pets are allowed and I can see that being a big attraction. I would absolutely love to take my Jack Russell with me next time. Having not been in a river for quite some time, venturing into the water is a bit slow and slippery but you easily get used to it. There is nothing quite like swimming in an open area and surrounded by nature. The cockatoo in the distance certainly had something to say about it!

Next stop was Casuarina Sands. It is a bit more established with metal BBQs and picnic tables and ramps for disabled access. Dogs aren’t allowed and there isn’t much room for running around until you get to the sand. However, once I reached the water I felt as though I was so far removed from everything and instantly relaxed. It isn’t close to rapids as Uriarra Crossing is, so everything seemed to be at peace. I loved watching the ducks fly up and land ever so gracefully in the water. I can see myself going back with an inflatable boat in summer to just drift in ignorance and bliss.

Despite the serenity of Casuarina Sands, I’m awarding the swim-off to Uriarra Crossing. I love a good patch of grass to run around on and a refreshing river handy to dive into when the heat becomes too much. I recommend Casuarina Sands though, for a chilled afternoon out with friends.

What’s Your opinion?


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4 Responses to
Best of Canberra swim-off – rivers and lakes
bj_ACT 10:48 am 19 Oct 15

I heartily recommend Lake Tuggeranong……….For dumping shopping trolleys and the bodies of organised crime victims.

But I don’t recommend it for much else.

Maya123 5:55 pm 18 Oct 15

oh_ said :

Swimming in rivers is one of the nice things about living in inland NSW. Many people who hail from capital cities on the coast this is foreign to them, which is fine, we can have to ourselves. Its fun to take the dog, horses, bbq and some friends for a picnic and float around in tubes, even camp there.

I agree. I grew up in several towns, but most were inland. I have never wanted to live near a beach, or even have a strong urge to visit one, except as an occasional novelty. The coast is pretty, but I often enjoy heading inland more. The coast does have more cafes and similar entertainments though and I’m more likely to want to visit these when at the coast, than the actual beach. My mother also grew up inland, and she once said to me that she has never wanted to live by the ocean either. Give me a lovely river to swim in over the ocean any day. As a teenager I would take my large piece of scrap polystyrene and ride the local rapids and then float gently in the pools between them, or clamber up on large boulders sticking out of the river. Shady places could be found under the local willow trees, which we also wrapped around our heads to made veils.
Most people grow up in coastal cities, but for those of us who didn’t, the coastal draw might not be as strong, or even non existent.

oh_ 12:49 pm 18 Oct 15

Swimming in rivers is one of the nice things about living in inland NSW. Many people who hail from capital cities on the coast this is foreign to them, which is fine, we can have to ourselves. Its fun to take the dog, horses, bbq and some friends for a picnic and float around in tubes, even camp there.

Zan 1:34 pm 13 Oct 15

Growing up in Canberra well before the lake, the only place to swim was Casuarina Sands, Cotter and Uriarra. All the rivers were clean and clear running. Lots of animals around including snakes. After storms and flooding, lots of logs get washed down into the rivers, but you can’t see them now as the rivers are too dirty. I would not swim in the rivers now though.

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