Kambah Pool is popular with both swimmers and canoers, with a 500 metre long stretch of tranquil water that banks up behind a
natural rock bar in the river, all located within a natural bush setting. Enter the water from the sandy beach at the upstream end of the pool,
or from one of the canoe entry points near the rock wall. Immediately downstream of the pool, in a more heavily vegetated section
of the river, is a designated nude bathing area.
Above: The swimming beach in the Murrumbidgee River at Kambah Pool
(Order this image)
To reach the beach, when you enter the Kambah Pool Recreation Area, turn left to the beach car park. From there it is a very steep walk
down to the river, with many large steps, so avoid carrying too much gear. Once you reach the bottom of the hill, the bright, wide, sandy beach
unfolds on a bend in the river with a view down the length of the pool.
From here you can drift down to the rock wall or swim up and back at your leisure. Stepping off the beach, the water gets deep quite quickly,
which makes it less attractive for inexperienced swimmers, but one of the best spots along the Murrumbidgee corridor for those looking to
swim for exercise.
For adults wanting to swim unhindered by bathing attire, you can take a skinny dip in the river downstream of the rock wall. As you
enter the Kambah Pool Recreation Area, turn right to the pool car park. From there, follow the concrete path below the toilet block, past
the "nude bathing area" sign and up over the small rise. The concrete path peters out into a number of smaller sandy paths that lead down to little
enclosed beaches surrounded by reasonably thick vegetation. For swimming, there is less room to move around here, with lots of submerged
rocks (visible under most river conditions) and small casuarina pines occupying the rocky islands poking out of the water. You
can however navigate your way past these to some deeper pools of water. The current is swifter here than the main Kambah Pool, because the
river is more constricted.
Above: The sign to the nude bathing area at Kambah Pool
(Order this image)
When I last visited on a mild late Autumn day, there were two or three people swimming naked in the water, indicating that it is well frequented by
local naturists. I also saw a guy meditating quietly under the trees, adding to the positive energy of this spot. Beach space is limited in the
nude bathing area, so if you cannot find a spare spot for your towel on a hot summer's day, keep wandering along the narrow paths further downstream.
If you are hoping to catch some sun on these beaches, avoid visiting in the early morning when they are in shade.
Kambah Pool is one of six swimming spots that were formally recommended by the ACT Minister for Territory and
Municipal Services. The Minister described it merely as "a popular swimming spot" (20/12/12), but was silent on the nude
Other Information Before You Go:
Kambah Pool Recreation Area, Kambah Pool Road, Kambah, ACT, 22 km (approx. 25 min. drive) south-west of Canberra Central.
From Parliament House, head west along Adelaide Avenue / Cotter Road and then south
along Tuggeranong Parkway. Follow the signs to the pool heading west into Sulwood Drive and then Kambah Pool Road.
At Kambah Pool, turn left to go to the car park nearest the beach, or turn right for the car park nearest the nude
Car park, toilets, walking tracks
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. No rubbish bins provided, so take your
rubbish home with you. Collection of standing or fallen timber is illegal.
Shade available out of the water (but not on the main beach). Limited to no shade available in the water in the main pool.
Partial shade available in the water in the nude bathing area.
Gates open 8am to 6pm in winter, and 8am to 9pm during daylight savings
There is no camping at Kambah Pool. The nearest campground is at
, which is 22 km to the north. The campground is managed by the ACT Government.
If you are visiting Canberra and want to stay near this swimming spot, you can try the following options. All distances below are by road, not as the crow flies.
Nearby attractions: Pine Island Beach
swimming hole, 7 km upstream, or
swimming hole, 12 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 the beach at Kambah Pool.
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I'm particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in conditions, etc.
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