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.
Above: Shallow water flowing over the concrete ford and sandy river bed upstream
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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
Above: The picnic area at Murrays Corner
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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.
Other Information Before You Go:
Paddys River Road, Paddys River, 30 km (approx. 30 minute drive) south-west of Canberra Central
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
Toilets, bbqs, sheltered picnic tables, lawn area, car park. No bins are provided so take
your rubbish home with you.
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.
Shade available out of the water. Limited to no shade in the water except during the early
morning and late afternoon.
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.
There is no camping at Murrays Corner. The nearest camping is at
, 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.
Nearby attractions: Cotter Campground
, 6 km to the west along the Paddys River Road, or
, 21 km to the south via Paddys River Road.
Before you head out, make sure to read the
swimming safety information
and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions. 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.).
The marker indicates the approximate location of the car park at Murrays Corner.
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.
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© Brad Neal 2019. All rights reserved.