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Canberra’s best swim spots that aren’t pools

Canberra’s best swim spots that aren’t pools

You don’t need to head to the beach or a man-made pool to beat the heat this summer – there are countless natural swim spots in the ACT where you can take a dip, cool off and relax. Whether you’re after a shady river, a beautiful bay, a picturesque watering hole or a clear sparkling creek, Canberra’s got something for you.

The Cotter Avenue Recreation Area is one of Canberra’s most popular locations for the locals in summer, with numerous swimming areas, barbeque facilities, picnic tables, bushwalking tracks, playgrounds and loads of green space. Here you’ll find the Cotter Bend swimming area located at the junction of the Cotter and Paddy’s rivers, offering ample shade from the overhanging pine trees situated on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. Nearby, you’ll also find Casuarina Sands, a riverside beach with 360-degree views of the surrounding hills – a picturesque place for a dip.

Photography by ABC News

Yarralumla Bay is home to one of Canberra’s hidden gems and arguably one of the capital’s most picturesque locations for a summer dip. The area here comprises a sandy beach and enclosures for both swimming and paddling. The nearby Weston Park site offers an adventure playground, picnic tables, electric barbeques, cycle paths, and gorgeous views of Black Mountain Tower.

Photography by ACT Government

This summer, the super-fun Canberra Aqua Park experience will once again return to Lake Burley Griffin. Located at Black Mountain Peninsula, this giant inflatable obstacle course is made up of slides, ladders and a huge jumping pillow. If you haven’t been before, then add this to the top of your list and prepare to have an awesome day out. All sessions must be booked in advance, so don’t miss out.

Photography by Canberra Weekly

Uriarra Crossing is situated along the Murrumbidgee River and has three fantastic swimming spots for you to enjoy this summer – Uriarra East Picnic Area, Swamp Creek Picnic Area and Uriarra West Picnic Area. All three areas are perfect for picnics and are located within a few hundred metres of each other. There are several walking trails close by, notably the 2km Uriarra Loop that starts and ends at the Uriarra East Picnic Area and takes you along the Murrumbidgee River near the Molonglo River junction.

Photography by ABC News

Flea Creek in the Brindabella National Park is home to one of the region’s prettiest swimming holes. Situated by the Goodradigbee River, the gently flowing waters here make it a dream to visit on a hot summer’s day. While you’re here you can also enjoy bird watching, fishing, or reading a good book under the shade of the casuarina trees. What adds to the charm is its remote location, only accessible via 4WD, but it’s worth the trip, especially if you like to camp.

Photography by NSW National Parks

Pine Island Beach is located at Pine Island Reserve on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River and has long been one of south Canberra’s most popular watering holes. Locals love the bay of calm water that has formed behind the small island in the river, not only perfect for swimming, but canoeing and fishing too. Here you’ll also find playground equipment, electric barbecues, picnic tables, a picnic shelter, and various walking tracks through and around the reserve.

“Locals love the bay of calm water that has formed behind the small island in the river, not only perfect for swimming but canoeing and fishing too”

Photography by Swimming Hole Heaven

The Point Hut Recreation Area spans both sides of the Murrumbidgee River and is home to Point Hut Crossing, a local Canberra favourite for swimming on a hot summer’s day. Here you’ll find a large, flat dog-friendly beach with both shallow pools and deeper waters, plus good access for launching kayaks and canoes, picnic tables and toilet facilities. You’ll find several walking trails nearby, notably the easy and scenic one-hour walk to Pine Island South. Dogs are welcome on-leash and off-leash in designated areas.

Photography by Parks ACT

At Gigerline Nature Reserve you’ll find sparkling clear waters, sandy beaches, a rugged gorge, lush native vegetation and lots of grassy space that’s perfect for picnicking. The site is known for the Tharwa Sandwash on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River, a large sand mound with water on both sides – shallow on one side, deep on the other. The area has picnic tables and is frequented by birdwatchers on the lookout for one of the 200 bird species known in the area. To the south of the reserve you’ll discover Angle Crossing, a lovely scenic place to paddle in shallow waters, take a stroll on one of the bushwalking tracks, or launch a kayak or canoe.

Photography by Parks ACT

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