Point Hut Recreation Area spans both sides of the river, with the best spot for swimming at the dog-friendly beach on the western side. Here you
will find a large, flat, wide open beach that offers gradual entry into the water. Nearest the shore there is a shallow pool formed by a makeshift
stone wall that spans a river anabranch, or head out into the river or slightly downstream to reach the deeper water in the main stem of the river.
Above: The shallow pool behind the stone wall that you can step into off the beach
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What I immediately liked about Point Hut was the sense of discovery that you feel that is similar to many remote ocean beaches. From the unassuming car park
next to the road, there is a short narrow track flanked by light scrub. You can't see much more than the promise offered by the sound of the river, and
the sand and gravel track that beckons you to follow and find more. Point Hut delivers on that promise, abruptly opening up to an expanse of blinding sand, a glistening river
and a view of Point Hut Hill smiling down on you, like a balding old man who's glad you've finally come to visit.
You can step directly off the beach into the fast flowing little wading pool, where you can sit yourself down on the river bed and
let the water rush around you. There are some submerged rocks, but when the water is clear they are easily seen and can be avoided, or
they can be used to prop your feet up against the current.
This beach is a dog off-leash area, so you can expect to be sharing your swim with dogs, particularly on the weekend. If you are
worried about whether the water will be clean if dogs are there as well, try and stay on the upstream side of any dogs in the water, or
move out into the deeper water on the other side of the little island, where dogs are less likely to swim. A line of rocks neatly
divides the shallow and deeper water for several metres downstream of the island. On the island itself there is a small sandy beach that
is not visible from the main beach, and can only be accessed by wading through the water upstream, but this spot can also be an option
if you want to avoid the dogs.
Above: The beach looking across to Point Hut Hill
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There are no facilities at the dog-friendly swimming beach, with the Point Hut Picnic Area located slightly upstream on the other side of the river
and only accessible by road from the dog beach. The picnic area is strictly dogs on leads. The lawn here is situated in amongst tall,
mixed European trees and is much better for a picnic, with toilets and tables on hand. However access to the water here is only via a
steep dirt track. It takes you down to a bend in the river that drops straight into deep water, with the bank lined with reeds, poorer
visibility and more stagnant water, so I don't recommend it for swimming, but keep the picnic area in mind for lunch or tea after your swim.
Other Information Before You Go:
Point Hut Road, Point Hut Recreation Area, Paddys River, ACT, 28 km (approx. 30 min. drive) south of Canberra Central.
From Canberra head south along the Monaro Hwy / Tharwa Dr, Tuggeranong Pkwy or Yamba Dr to the
suburb of Gordon. From Gordon head west along Woodcock Dr, turn into Jim Pike Ave (which runs alongside Point Hut Pond), and
then into Point Hut Road. Go past the picnic area, cross the river and the swimming beach car park is immediately on
the right hand side. The beach is a 20-30 metre walk from the car park. Note that the car park is quite small and may fill
quickly on hot weekends.
Only a car park at the swimming beach. Across the river at Point Hut Picnic Area there is a car park,
picnic tables, walking trail, toilets, lawn.
Maximum water depth:
Greater than 2 metres
Suggested minimum swimming proficiency required:
Experienced. Although shallow close to shore, the water can be fast flowing
with many submerged rocks.
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog:
No camping. There are no
rubbish bins provided, so take your rubbish home with you. Collection of standing or fallen timber is illegal.
Limited to no shade available in or out of the water. The picnic area across the river has plenty of shade.
No camping is permitted at Point Hut.
Point Hut is within easy reach of Canberra for a half-day trip. If you are visiting Canberra and want to have better
access to this swimming spot, you can try
accommodation in Greenway (Tuggeranong)
which is the closest of Canberra's commercial centres to this swimming hole.
Nearby attractions: Pine Island South
which you can reach by foot along the 4 km walking trail that starts at the northern end
of the picnic area, or 7 km downstream by 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. 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 the dog-friendly swimming 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.