When Pine Island Beach is too crowded, head further upstream to Pine Island South, where you will find
deeper water and a steeper entry beach, but still plenty of sand, and similar amenities. The beach itself is
unusual in that it extends behind a row of vegetation that separates most of the beach
from the water, with only a short section of sand extending uninterrupted, down to the river. The steeper entry
into relatively deep water close to the shore makes it more suited to experienced swimmers.
Above: Two rope swings on a flimsy twig at Pine Island South
(Order gifts or prints of this image)
There are two main entry points to the water, namely the sandy beach at the upstream end, and a scrubby grassed area that
leads to a rockier section of river downstream. Between these two points is a small section of thick streamside vegetation and a set of rapids
with a half metre drop, deep holes and swirling eddies. A flat grassy floodplain connects the two access
points to the river. This floodplain area, which is set back from the river, is suitable for picnics and ball games, and is home
to a mob of kangaroos that graze along here just before dusk. For some uniquely Canberran architecture, look out for the
concrete floodplain wall that runs along one edge of the lawn, which echoes the shape and style of many of the city's bus shelters.
To reach Pine Island South, when you enter the Recreation Area, turn left and follow the road to the end. From the car park,
it is about a 30 metre walk down to the beach.
Above: Downstream of the rapids in the Murrumbidgee River at Pine Island South
(Order gifts or prints of this image)
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, turn
left and follow the signs to the Pine Island South car park at the end of the road.
Car park, toilets, lawn, barbecues, picnic tables. No rubbish bins provided, so take your
rubbish home with you.
Clear to cloudy
Maximum water depth:
Greater than 2 metres
Suggested minimum swimming proficiency required:
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog:
No dogs, no camping, no fires. Collection of standing or fallen timber is illegal.
Shade available out of the water. Limited to no shade available in the water.
Gates open 8am to 6pm in winter, and 8am to 9pm during daylight savings
There is no camping at Pine Island South. 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: Point Hut
swimming hole, 2 km upstream, or
Pine Island Beach
swimming hole, 700 metres 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 South.
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.