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Tim the Yowie Man names the five best swimming spots around Canberra

Flea Creek, Brindabella National Park

 Shady swimming spot on the Goodradigbee. Photo: Lynda McPaddenA shady swimming spot on the Goodradigbee. Photo: Lynda McPadden

The confluence of Flea Creek and the gurgling Goodradigbee River has long been a popular spot to cool off and despite the one-in-a-hundred year flood in 2012, which sadly swept away some of this valley's grand old she-oaks, this shady oasis is arguably still our region's prettiest swimming holes. In the late 1800s, it is alleged that three early settlers fired shots at a yowie near Flea Creek. Not surprisingly, a carcass was never found.

Micalong Creek, Wee Jasper

Splashing around in Micalong Creek. Photo: Tim the Yowie Man.Splashing around in Micalong Creek. Photo: Tim the Yowie Man.

Flowing for several hundred metres along the edge of a family-friendly camp ground is Micalong Creek, which, although only several metres wide is ready-made for kayak novices or a li-lo adventure with the kids. For the more adventurous, take the short scramble up to nearby Micalong Falls. Despite its somewhat grandiose name, it's more a series of cascades linking a number of smaller swimming holes.

Cotter River, Cotter

Lazing on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River near Casuarina Sands, just downstream of the Cotter. Photo: Tim the Yowie Man.Lazing on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River near Casuarina Sands, just downstream of the Cotter. Photo: Tim the Yowie Man.

Although the Cotter doesn't attract the bumper crowds of its heyday in the 1940-70s, as one of the closest waterhole to the city, it's still one of the most popular. Many mistakenly think of the Cotter precinct as the domain of just one river, but the bigger Paddys and Murrumbidgee rivers also meet here, making it triple the fun.

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Shoalhaven River, Deua National Park

The big hole: you can't swim in this natural depression but you can at the nearby river. Photo: SuppliedThe big hole: you can't swim in this natural depression but you can at the nearby river. Photo: Supplied

The river level near the car park to the Big Hole is usually quite shallow, but if you wander further upstream, especially after the rapids (approx 100m) there is an idyllic platypus pool. The littlies will love playing at the beach and building dams at the crossing. Watch out for echidnas and red-necked wallabies.

Gibraltar Creek, Woods Reserve

An inviting plunge pool on Gibraltar Creek. Photo: Tim the Yowie ManAn inviting plunge pool on Gibraltar Creek. Photo: Tim the Yowie Man.


Prior to the 2003 fires (and 2011 – 12 floods) a delightful walk followed the creek upstream from Wood's Reserve to the base of Gibraltar Falls. Due to regrowth and flood debris, you'd need a machete and a truck load of chain saws to follow this same route today. However, on a hot day if you don't mind getting wet you can rock-hop upstream to a number of very pretty swimming holes. None are big enough to train for that 50m freestyle event but several are deep enough for a cool-off before embarking on the walk back.

A collection of Tim the Yowie Man's columns is now available in a book. In the Spirit of Banjo is available at Smiths Alternative Bookstore, Book Passion or at www.pendragonpublishing.com.au

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