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

Canberra Day Trips 28 February 2020

The Murrumbidgee, near Kambah Pool. Photo: file

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.

1. Kambah Pool

Kambah Pool is easily accessible, and you don’t have to leave Canberra to get there. There are lots of shady locations to set up your towel or picnic or 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.

Red Rocks Gorge on the Murrumbidgee Discovery Track. Photo: Lisa Martin

2. Uriarra Crossing

If you enjoy taking a swim 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. There’s another lovely walk that starts from here; the Uriarra Loop walking track.

3. Casuarina Sands

Casuarina Sands

Casuarina Sands. File photo.

Casuarina Sands has several sandy sections where you can wade into the deep pool formed by a weir across the river. There is 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

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 23km from the CBD.

5. Pine Island

With local swimming holes like Pine Island Reserve recently receiving a deluge of rain, authorities warn the water might be a little volatile. Photo: ACT Government.

Pine Island Reserve. Photo: ACT Government.

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. Photo: ACT Government.

Head to the historic village of Tharwa for a dip in the river underneath the oldest surviving bridge in the ACT, which dates 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; it’s 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 4km walk to Pine Island along the Murrumbidgee Discovery Track. Get to it from Jim Pike Avenue in Gordon.

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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