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Paddys River at Murrays Corner
near Canberra in the ACT


 
Murrays Corner is a ford in the Paddys River that is awash with golden sand on either side of the submerged road. In the summertime, usually only a thin sheet of water passes over the road, with the areas immediately upstream and downstream similarly shallow. When the river is low at the ford, this swim is more of a spot to splash around rather than a genuine swim, and is therefore well suited at these times to inexperienced or reluctant swimmers. Paddys River at Murrays Corner Above: Shallow water flowing over the concrete ford and sandy river bed upstream (Order gifts or prints of this image)

You can run through the water for a good twenty metres or stand end to end with a frisbee or tennis ball while keeping your feet cool. You can double that distance if you have one person on either side of the road. There are also small sandy beaches out of the water both upstream and downstream of the road crossing.

A line of boulders runs alongside the road to discourage cars from veering off the road, which also serves as a barrier if you are in the water, but you still need to be aware of any vehicle traffic.
There's not much reason to head across the ford, so cars rarely cross here, with most people stopping to stretch their legs, have a picnic and dip their feet in the water on a hot day. The picnic area has plenty of grass, a view of the surrounding hills and a couple of sheltered barbecues. Paddys River at Murrays Corner picnic area Above: The picnic area at Murrays Corner (Order gifts or prints of this image)

The ACT government website indicates that there is a "more secluded swimming hole" a few hundred metres downstream that is accessible from the track on the other side of the river. I haven't gone searching for it yet, but if anyone has any more precise directions, let me know, as I'm keen to locate this deeper water for swimming.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Paddys River Road, Paddys River, 30 km (approx. 30 minute drive) south-west of Canberra Central
Latitude:-35.363363 Longitude:148.952476
Getting there: From parliament house, head west along Adelaide Avenue / Cotter Road. Paddys River is a continuation of Cotter Road after you cross the Cotter River. From the Cotter River Bridge head south for 6 km until you see the turnoff for Murrays Corner. The gravel car park is just a few metres down the dirt road.
Facilities: Toilets, bbqs, sheltered picnic tables, lawn area, car park. No bins are provided so take your rubbish home with you.
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Sand, concrete
Maximum water depth: Less than 1 metre
Suggested minimum swimming proficiency required: Beginners (under supervision and during low flow conditions)
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No camping, no fires. Dogs are permitted. Collection of standing or fallen timber is illegal.
Sun shade: Shade available out of the water. Limited to no shade in the water except during the early morning and late afternoon.
Opening times: Always open
Wheelchair access: There is a sealed road running across the river that would be wheelchair accessible during low flow conditions, when the water depth is about an inch or two deep. The toilets are not wheelchair accessible.
Accommodation Options: There is no camping at Murrays Corner. The nearest camping is at Cotter Campground, 6 km downstream on Cotter Road, which is available on a first come first served basis for a nominal camping fee. The campground is managed by the ACT Government. If you don't want to camp, this spot is within easy reach of Canberra for a half-day trip. If you are visiting Canberra and don't want to camp, you can try accommodation in Canberra, with areas around Yarralumla, Deakin, Forrest, Curtin and Barton being some of the suburbs closer to this swimming spot.
Managing authority: ACT Government
Nearby attractions: Cotter Campground, 6 km to the west along the Paddys River Road, or Gibraltar Falls, 21 km to the south via Paddys River Road.
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information. Specific to this site, be advised that the ford is a public road, so watch for cars if you are splashing around close to the road. The managing authority provides general advice on site about swimming in the ACT's rivers 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 at Murrays Corner.
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 conditions, etc. All fields are required if you would like your comments published on this website.

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