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Pine Island South
Murrumbidgee River, Greenway ACT

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. Two rope swings on a flimsy twig at Pine Island South Above: Two rope swings on a flimsy twig at Pine Island South (Order 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. Downstream of the rapids at Pine Island South Above: Downstream of the rapids in the Murrumbidgee River at Pine Island South (Order 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:
Location: Pine Island Reserve, Pine Island Road, Greenway, ACT, 25 km (approx. 30 min. drive) south-west of Canberra Central.
Latitude:-35.433998 Longitude:149.067207
Getting there: 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.
Facilities: Car park, toilets, lawn, barbecues, picnic tables. No rubbish bins provided, so take your rubbish home with you.
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear to cloudy
Under foot: Sand, rock
Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Suggested minimum swimming proficiency required: Experienced
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No dogs, no camping, no fires. Collection of standing or fallen timber is illegal.
Sun shade: Shade available out of the water. Limited to no shade available in the water.
Opening times: Gates open 8am to 6pm in winter, and 8am to 9pm during daylight savings
Wheelchair access: None
Accommodation Options: There is no camping at Pine Island South. 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 accommodation option:Distance from swim:
Alpha Hotel 2 km
Abode Hotel Tuggeranong 3 km
Abode Hotel Woden 12 km
Further options… More than 12 km
Managing authority: ACT Government
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.).
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the car park for at Pine Island South.
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