13 January 2023

Canberra Day Trips: Eight swimming spots to try in the Canberra region

| Canberra Day Trips
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Acton Beach

The new beach at the Acton Waterfront. Photo: ACT Government.

When it’s sweltering hot, a day trip to an ice-cool swimming spot can be just the remedy for the summer heat.

There is nothing quite like swimming in an open area surrounded by nature, and many popular swimming destinations are right on Canberra’s doorstep.

Here are some of our favourite local spots for a refreshing dip when the mercury is high.

Just remember to stay safe and check conditions and water levels before you head out!

1. Kambah Pool

Kambah Pool

Kambah Pool is the perfect spot for those on the Southside. Photo: PairePaire Pattheera.

Kambah Pool is easily accessible, and you don’t have to leave Canberra to get there. There are many shady locations to set up your towel, picnic, or just enjoy the sunshine. If you’re feeling energetic and want to work up a sweat before your swim, there’s a walking trail to the beautiful Red Rocks Gorge or through to Pine Island that begins here.

2. Uriarra Crossing

uriarra crossing

Who needs to go to the beach when Uriarra Crossing has its own BBQ areas, picnic tables and sand? Photo: Swimming Hole Heaven.

If you enjoy swimming with your pooch, then Uriarra Crossing is for you. It has on-leash and off-leash areas and the drive to get there covers some lovely grazing country. There are plenty of areas by the river to set up your picnic blanket. The beautiful Uriarra Loop walking track also starts here.

3. Casuarina Sands

Casuarina Sands

Casuarina Sands at the Cotter has great spots for picnics and BBQs. Photo: Bree Anforth.

Casuarina Sands has several sandy sections where you can wade into the deep pool formed by a weir across the river. There’s shade, grass, picnic areas and places to launch your kayak or canoe. It’s a short drive from Weston Creek and Molonglo Valley via Cotter Road.

4. The Cotter

A very full Cotter Dam at capacity at the beginning of October.

A very full Cotter Dam. Photo: Michael Weaver

Not far from Casuarina Sands is the Cotter, a long-time favourite for many Canberrans keen for a swim or paddle. It’s decked out with barbecues and picnic areas and has gorgeous shady trees to relax beneath. While you’re there, check out the imposing Cotter Dam and take the Cotter Dam Discovery Trail which tells the story of Canberra’s water history. The Cotter is around 23 km from the CBD.

5. Pine Island

Pine Island Beach

Pine Island is a popular spot for picnics, swimming, canoeing and fishing. Photo: Jessica JB.

Pine Island is on the Murrumbidgee River, alongside the Tuggeranong suburb of Bonython, just minutes from South.Point shopping centre. Despite what its name suggests, it’s not actually an island, but there are expanses of grass to stretch out on, and the wide-open spaces make it perfect for big gatherings. There are several areas to swim in the river, a generous amount of sand to kick back on, plus a playground and several grassy areas where you can take it easy or enjoy a game of cricket or footy after your swim. Get to it via Pine Island Road in Greenway.

6. Tharwa

Tharwa bridge

Tharwa Bridge. Photo: ACT Government.

Head to the historic village of Tharwa for a dip in the river underneath the oldest surviving bridge in the ACT, dating back to 1895. Tharwa Sandwash is a great little swimming and picnicking destination, where, as a bonus, you’ll find scenic views of Mt Tennent and the rolling hills. We’re told the fishing is good there too. Get to it from Lanyon Drive – a stone’s throw from the fringes of the south Tuggeranong suburbs.

7. Point Hut Crossing

Another Tuggeranong favourite, Point Hut is an easy-to-access swimming spot where dogs are allowed if they’re on a leash. The sandy beaches are perfect for swimming or water fun and from here, you can take a fantastic 4 km walk to Pine Island along the Murrumbidgee Discovery Track. Get to it from Jim Pike Avenue in Gordon.

8. Gibraltar Falls

Gibraltar Falls

Gibraltar Falls is a waterfall on the Gibraltar Creek. Photo: Madie Bundy.

With spectacular views overlooking the Gibraltar Creek and Paddys River valleys, Gibraltar Falls might become your new favourite spot.

The pool is relatively shallow, but with crystal clear water, clean sand and rocks that won’t hurt your feet, Gibraltar Falls is the perfect place to check out with family and friends. There are also great picnic and BBQ spots to enjoy too.

9. Yerra Beach

Yerra Beach

Yerra beach is perfect for the littlest ones, thanks to a toddler enclosure. Photo: Jess Jones.

Located on Lake Ginninderra at MacDermott Place in Belconnen, you’ll find Yerra Beach. It is a long, curved sandy beach with two different bays situated on the western foreshore of Lake Ginninderra. The designated swimming area is around 150 metres long and up to 60 metres wide. Yerra Beach is a 20-minute drive northwest of the CBD. It’s got a smaller toddler enclosure so it’s perfect for young ones to swim too.

Do you have a favourite swimming spot in the Canberra region that we should share with readers? Let us know in the comments.

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