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Kambah Pool
Murrumbidgee River, Kambah ACT


 
Kambah Pool is popular with both swimmers and canoers, with a 500 metre long stretch of tranquil water that banks up behind a natural rock bar in the river, all located within a natural bush setting. Enter the water from the sandy beach at the upstream end of the pool, or from one of the canoe entry points near the rock wall. Immediately downstream of the pool, in a more heavily vegetated section of the river, is a designated nude bathing area. The swimming beach in the Murrumbidgee River at Kambah Pool Above: The swimming beach in the Murrumbidgee River at Kambah Pool (Order gifts or prints of this image)

To reach the beach, when you enter the Kambah Pool Recreation Area, turn left to the beach car park. From there it is a very steep walk down to the river, with many large steps, so avoid carrying too much gear.
Once you reach the bottom of the hill, the bright, wide, sandy beach unfolds on a bend in the river with a view down the length of the pool. From here you can drift down to the rock wall or swim up and back at your leisure. Stepping off the beach, the water gets deep quite quickly, which makes it less attractive for inexperienced swimmers, but one of the best spots along the Murrumbidgee corridor for those looking to swim for exercise.

For adults wanting to swim unhindered by bathing attire, you can take a skinny dip in the river downstream of the rock wall. As you enter the Kambah Pool Recreation Area, turn right to the pool car park. From there, follow the concrete path below the toilet block, past the "nude bathing area" sign and up over the small rise. The concrete path peters out into a number of smaller sandy paths that lead down to little enclosed beaches surrounded by reasonably thick vegetation. For swimming, there is less room to move around here, with lots of submerged rocks (visible under most river conditions) and small casuarina pines occupying the rocky islands poking out of the water. You can however navigate your way past these to some deeper pools of water. The current is swifter here than the main Kambah Pool, because the river is more constricted. The sign to the nude bathing area at Kambah Pool Above: The sign to the nude bathing area at Kambah Pool (Order gifts or prints of this image)

When I last visited on a mild late Autumn day, there were two or three people swimming naked in the water, indicating that it is well frequented by local naturists. I also saw a guy meditating quietly under the trees, adding to the positive energy of this spot. Beach space is limited in the nude bathing area, so if you cannot find a spare spot for your towel on a hot summer's day, keep wandering along the narrow paths further downstream. If you are hoping to catch some sun on these beaches, avoid visiting in the early morning when they are in shade.

Kambah Pool is one of six swimming spots that were formally recommended by the ACT Minister for Territory and Municipal Services. The Minister described it merely as "a popular swimming spot" (20/12/12), but was silent on the nude bathing area.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Kambah Pool Recreation Area, Kambah Pool Road, Kambah, ACT, 22 km (approx. 25 min. drive) south-west of Canberra Central.
Latitude:-35.399008 Longitude:149.010935
Getting there: From Parliament House, head west along Adelaide Avenue / Cotter Road and then south along Tuggeranong Parkway. Follow the signs to the pool heading west into Sulwood Drive and then Kambah Pool Road. At Kambah Pool, turn left to go to the car park nearest the beach, or turn right for the car park nearest the nude bathing area.
Facilities: Car park, toilets, walking tracks
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear to cloudy
Under foot: Sand, rock
Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Suggested minimum swimming proficiency required: Experienced
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No dogs, no camping, no fires. No rubbish bins provided, so take your rubbish home with you. Collection of standing or fallen timber is illegal.
Sun shade: Shade available out of the water (but not on the main beach). Limited to no shade available in the water in the main pool. Partial shade available in the water in the nude bathing area.
Opening times: Gates open 8am to 6pm in winter, and 8am to 9pm during daylight savings
Wheelchair access: None
Accommodation Options: There is no camping at Kambah Pool. The nearest campground is at Cotter Campground, which is 22 km to the north. If you are staying overnight in Canberra and don't want to camp, you can try accommodation in Canberra, with areas around Kambah, Greenway (Tuggeranong) and Woden Valley being some of the suburbs/areas closer to this swimming spot.
Managing authority: ACT Government
Nearby attractions: Pine Island Beach swimming hole, 7 km upstream, or Casuarina Sands swimming hole, 12 km downstream.
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information. Specific to this site, the managing authority advises that there are strong currents, shallow water, submerged objects, deep water, slippery and uneven ground, steep banks and snakes. The managing authority also advises that mobile phone reception is not reliable throughout the Murrumbidgee River corridor, so do not depend on your phone for safety or directions.

Water quality in the Canberra area can sometimes be unsuitable for swimming. For regular updates on whether the water quality at this site is suitable for swimming, see the ACT Government's water quality alerts. Signs on site indicate when the river is closed for swimming due to poor water quality. As a general rule, don't plan to swim here after rain because the river may be closed to swimming due to agricultural runoff from upstream areas (i.e. animal faeces, fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides, etc.).
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the car park for the beach at Kambah Pool.
Change of Conditions:
I am not currently aware of any change of conditions reported at this site by the managing authority, or by swimmers on this website. If you are visiting this swimming spot and have any further updates on any change of conditions, let me know via the comment form below.
Comments:
If you would like to leave a comment about this swimming spot, please fill in the comment box below. I'm particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in swimming conditions. Make sure you let me know whether you consent to having your comments published on this website.

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