The eastern side of Weston Park has a sheltered bay for swimming in Lake Burley Griffin that looks across the Tarcoola Reach towards
Black Mountain Peninsula. From the sandy beach you can swim out to either of the two swimming pontoons located about 60 metres offshore,
or continue on to the rope boundary which is about another 40 metres further on. There is also a fenced enclosure at the edge of
the lake for toddlers.
Above: The shallow toddler enclosure with the swimming pontoon in the distance at Weston Park
(Order this image)
I swam out to one of the pontoons and the views were panoramic, including uninterrupted views across the lake, as well as up over the small hill
in Weston Park towards Black Mountain. As I stood astride the gently rocking pontoon and looked across to the near identical swimming bay on Black
Mountain Peninsula, I wondered to myself whether I could make it? Not today, at least, but maybe one day.
To ease into your swim, you can walk out about 15 metres before it gets too deep and you need to start swimming.
Swimming in Lake Burley Griffin is not as enjoyable as some of the swimming spots in the Murrumbidgee River corridor out of town
because of the poor visibility in the water. It has a greeny-brown hue that you don't really want to submerge your head in, but this
area is well monitored for water quality over summer, and the beach will be closed when the water quality is unsuitable for swimming.
Above: The view from one of the pontoons, looking across Tarcoola Reach to Black Mountain Peninsula
(Order this image)
The main attraction of this spot is that it allows you to cool off in between lazing around on the beach or having a picnic or barbecue, in
a location that is very convenient to much of Canberra. Even if you don't want to swim, you can wade in to cool off your legs and feet. The pontoons
provide a goal for more energetic visitors, but on my visit the steps were covered in slime, and bird poo was scattered all over the pontoon. Hopefully it is
cleaned a bit more often during the height of summer. When I was swimming, despite it being a relatively cool day, two kids got inspired and
stripped down to frolick in the water, and seemed to be having a lot of fun, which shows what you can enjoy when you make the most of what you have.
Other Information Before You Go:
Weston Park Road, Yarralumla, ACT, 7 km (approx. 10-15 min. drive) west of Canberra Central.
On Commonwealth Avenue, just before you reach parliament house, head west for 3 km along Coronation Drive /
Alexandrina Drive / Brown Street. Then head north into Weston Park Drive. The car park for the beach is 800 metres
from the park entrance, on the right hand side.
Car park, toilets, powered barbecues, picnic tables, drinking fountain, life saving buoy, lawn area, beach,
rubbish bins (at the top of the hill near the toilets). There are various other facilities throughout the park, but these
are only the ones near the swimming beach.
Maximum water depth:
Greater than 2 metres
Suggested minimum swimming proficiency required:
Beginners (under supervision)
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog:
Shade available out of the water near some of the picnic facilities, but not on the beach.
Limited to no shade available in the water.
The gates on the road to the park are open 7 am to 10 pm during daylight saving and until 8 pm outside
of daylight saving time. The toilets are open over the same hours.
Wheelchair accessible toilet, but no wheelchair accessible paths down to some of the picnic facilities
and the beach.
No camping is permitted in Weston Park. 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.
Weston Park Miniature Railway and water feature, which are on the other side of Weston Park. Turn left 100 metres
further up the 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. 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 website/app used by the ACT Government to notify swimmers of
water quality alerts
. Signs on site indicate when the lake 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 urban and agricultural runoff from upstream
areas (i.e. animal faeces, fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides, etc.).
The marker indicates the approximate location of the beach at Weston Park.
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I'm particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in conditions, etc.
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