Pine Island Beach is a bay of calm water in the Murrumbidgee River that has formed behind the small island
in the river that gives Pine Island Reserve its name. The water in this inlet is slightly warmer than
the main current, and under low flow conditions is better suited to less experienced swimmers than most
other spots along the Murrumbidgee River corridor in the ACT. The sand accumulated behind the island creates a 40 metre
stretch of beach that extends well back from the water, with patches of sand also on the island itself.
Above: Pine Island Beach viewed from the steps
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It's quite fun to explore around this tiny island, with its rocky outcrops, gently undulating dunes and little pools
around its edge. The island is only around 30 metres in both directions. When the river is low and
the anabranch is not flowing, it is difficult to recognise the island as such, because it is connected to the beach.
When the water is slightly deeper, you can wade or rock hop out to the island, where there are patches of sand and shade.
To reach Pine Island Beach, when you enter the Recreation Area, look for one of the car parks immediately to the right.
Here you'll find a lawn area, which tends to dry out in summer, picnic facilites, a toilet block, and a kids' playground that
is at the far end of the furthest car park, and well away from the beach. To reach the beach, follow the signs and
head down the steps towards the sand, which you can see from the top of the hill before you descend. There are no facilities
on the beach itself.
Above: The tip of Pine Island from the water's edge
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Pine Island Reserve is one of six swimming spots that were formally recommended by the ACT Minister for Territory and
Municipal Services. The Minister described it as "a long-time family favourite" (20/12/12). Pine Island South is around 700 metres upstream of
Pine Island Beach, with its own car park and facilities, so I have documented its features separately from Pine Island Beach.
Other Information Before You Go:
Pine Island Reserve, Pine Island Road, Greenway, ACT, 25 km (approx. 30 min. drive) south-west of Canberra Central.
From Parliament House, head west along Adelaide Avenue / Cotter Road and then south
along Tuggeranong Parkway / Drakeford Drive. At Greenway, turn right into Athllon Dr and after 700 metres turn left
into Don Dunstan Drive and immediately right into Pine Island Road. When you reach the Pine Island Reserve, the
Pine Island Beach car park is on the right hand side just after going through the reserve entrance.
Car park, toilets, lawn, barbecues, picnic tables, playground. No rubbish bins provided, so take your
rubbish home with you.
Clear to cloudy
Maximum water depth:
1 to 2 metres
Suggested minimum swimming proficiency required:
Beginners under low flow conditions close to the main beach. Experienced
at other times and in the main current on the far side of the island
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog:
No dogs, no camping, no fires. Collection of standing or fallen timber is illegal.
Limited to no shade available on the beach or in the water.
Gates open 8am to 6pm in winter, and 8am to 9pm during daylight savings
There is no camping at Pine Island Beach. The nearest campground is at
, which is 26 km to the north by road.
If you are staying overnight in Canberra and don't want to camp, you can try
accommodation in Canberra
with areas around Greenway (Tuggeranong), Monash and Oxley being some of the suburbs/areas closer to this swimming spot.
Nearby attractions: Pine Island South
swimming hole, 700 metres upstream, or
swimming hole, 7 km downstream.
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, 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.).
The marker indicates the approximate location of the car park for at Pine Island Beach.
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.