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Uriarra Crossing
Murrumbidgee River, Corree ACT


 
There are several swimming spots along the Murrumbidgee River at the three picnic areas in the vicinity of Uriarra Crossing. The best of these is the sandy beach at Uriarra East Picnic Area, because it is protected somewhat from the river currents by a rock barrier that extends out into the river immediately upstream. However, all three picnic areas are within a few hundred metres of each other, so you can readily move between them by car, foot or, during low river flow periods, in the water. Swamp Creek Picnic Area also has a sandy beach, but with a slightly steeper entry into the water, whilst Uriarra West Picnic Area has mainly rock outcrops. The Murrumbidgee River from the Uriarra West picnic area, looking upstream Above: The Murrumbidgee River from the Uriarra West picnic area, looking upstream. Image source: Washed Over

The river is typically lower and the current less swift in late summer and early autumn, with the visibility in the water reasonably good under these flow conditions.
However if you are coming for a swim in spring, expect the river to be higher, the water muddier and the current swifter, which will make it more difficult to swim upstream, and more difficult to see the submerged rocks around the Uriarra West Picnic Area. The Murrumbidgee River can swell considerably during floods, when you should stay out of the water here at those times.

Apart from swimming, this site is also enjoyable for a picnic at any of the three areas, or for a walk along the river on one of several walking trails. The 2 km Uriarra Loop is a pleasant walk that starts and ends at the Uriarra East Picnic Area and takes you near the Molongolo River junction with the Murrumbidgee.

This swimming spot is a designated dog off-leash area, so don't be surprised if you are sharing the water with a pooch. If you are a dog owner, make sure you clean up after your dog, so that no one has to swim in its poo. Note that dogs are not allowed on the nearby walking trails (Uriarra Loop, Woodstock and Shepherds Lookout walking trails).
Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Uriarra Road, Stromlo, ACT, 26 km (approx. 30 min. drive) west of Canberra Central.
Latitude:-35.246302 Longitude:148.952851
Getting there: From parliament house, head west along Adelaide Avenue / Cotter Road / John Gorton Drive to Wright, then turn left along Opperman Ave and then right into Uriarra Road, which takes you to the river. At the Murrumbidgee River, the turnoff for the Uriarra East Picnic Area is roughly 1 km before you reach the bridge. After crossing the bridge, head left and then left again to the Uriarra West Picnic Area, or right and then right to the Swamp Creek Picnic Area.
Facilities: All three picnic areas have a car park, toilets, wood barbecues (BYO wood) and picnic tables. Uriarra West and Swamp Creek Picnic Area also have a picnic shelter if it rains.
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear to cloudy
Under foot: Sand, rock
Maximum water depth: 1-2 metres
Suggested minimum swimming proficiency required: Beginners during low flow conditions, under supervision. Experienced at other times.
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: Dogs permitted at the picnic areas and in the water, but cannot be taken on the walking trails. No rubbish bins provided, so take your rubbish home with you. Collection of standing or fallen timber is illegal, so BYO wood for the barbecues.
Sun shade: Shade available out of the water. No shade available in the water in the middle of the day. Limited shade available in the water early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
Opening times: Always open
Wheelchair access: None
Accommodation Options: There is no camping at these picnic areas. The nearest campground is at Stony Creek Nature Reserve, which is about 10 km to the north by road. Alternatively, if you are staying overnight in Canberra, you can try accommodation in Canberra, with areas around Yarralumla, Deakin, Forrest, Curtin and Barton being some of the suburbs closest to this swimming spot.
Managing authority: ACT Government
Nearby attractions: Cotter Reserve
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information. 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. As a general rule, avoid swimming here after rain due to agricultural runoff from upstream areas (i.e. poo, fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides, etc.). 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.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the beach at the Uriarra East Picnic Area.
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.
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