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Lake Burley Griffin at Weston Park
Yarralumla ACT


 
The eastern side of Weston Park has a sheltered bay for swimming in Lake Burley Griffin that looks across the Tarcoola Reach towards Black Mountain Peninsula. From the sandy beach you can swim out to either of the two swimming pontoons located about 60 metres offshore, or continue on to the rope boundary which is about another 40 metres further on. There is also a fenced enclosure at the edge of the lake for toddlers. Swimming in Lake Burley Griffin at Weston Park Above: The shallow toddler enclosure with the swimming pontoon in the distance at Weston Park (Order gifts or prints of this image)

I swam out to one of the pontoons and the views were panoramic, including uninterrupted views across the lake, as well as up over the small hill in Weston Park towards Black Mountain. As I stood astride the gently rocking pontoon and looked across to the near identical swimming bay on Black Mountain Peninsula, I wondered to myself whether I could make it? Not today, at least, but maybe one day.
To ease into your swim, you can walk out about 15 metres before it gets too deep and you need to start swimming.

Swimming in Lake Burley Griffin is not as enjoyable as some of the swimming spots in the Murrumbidgee River corridor out of town because of the poor visibility in the water. It has a greeny-brown hue that you don't really want to submerge your head in, but this area is well monitored for water quality over summer, and the beach will be closed when the water quality is unsuitable for swimming. Swimming in Lake Burley Griffin at Weston Park Above: The view from one of the pontoons, looking across Tarcoola Reach to Black Mountain Peninsula (Order gifts or prints of this image)

The main attraction of this spot is that it allows you to cool off in between lazing around on the beach or having a picnic or barbecue, in a location that is very convenient to much of Canberra. Even if you don't want to swim, you can wade in to cool off your legs and feet. The pontoons provide a goal for more energetic visitors, but on my visit the steps were covered in slime, and bird poo was scattered all over the pontoon. Hopefully it is cleaned a bit more often during the height of summer. When I was swimming, despite it being a relatively cool day, two kids got inspired and stripped down to frolick in the water, and seemed to be having a lot of fun, which shows what you can enjoy when you make the most of what you have.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Weston Park Road, Yarralumla, ACT, 7 km (approx. 10-15 min. drive) west of Canberra Central.
Latitude:-35.292966 Longitude:149.093359
Getting there: On Commonwealth Avenue, just before you reach parliament house, head west for 3 km along Coronation Drive / Alexandrina Drive / Brown Street. Then head north into Weston Park Drive. The car park for the beach is 800 metres from the park entrance, on the right hand side.
Facilities: Car park, toilets, powered barbecues, picnic tables, drinking fountain, life saving buoy, lawn area, beach, rubbish bins (at the top of the hill near the toilets). There are various other facilities throughout the park, but these are only the ones near the swimming beach.
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Murky
Under foot: Sand
Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Suggested minimum swimming proficiency required: Beginners (under supervision)
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No dogs
Sun shade: Shade available out of the water near some of the picnic facilities, but not on the beach. Limited to no shade available in the water.
Opening times: The gates on the road to the park are open 7 am to 10 pm during daylight saving and until 8 pm outside of daylight saving time. The toilets are open over the same hours.
Wheelchair access: Wheelchair accessible toilet, but no wheelchair accessible paths down to some of the picnic facilities and the beach.
Accommodation Options: There is no camping in Weston Park. If you are visiting Canberra and want to stay close to this park, you can try accommodation in Yarralumla, which is the suburb in the ACT nearest to this swimming spot.
Managing authority: ACT Government
Nearby attractions: Weston Park Miniature Railway and water feature, which are on the other side of Weston Park. Turn left 100 metres further up the road.
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. Signs on site indicate when the lake 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 urban and agricultural runoff from upstream areas (i.e. animal faeces, fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides, etc.).
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the beach at Weston Park.
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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