Cuttagee Lake is an ideal spot for young families because it offers a relatively safe, fun environment with a
range of water depths and current speeds to suit all swimmers from toddlers to adults. The main feature of the lake is a wide, ankle deep sand
bar which is great for water play. Part of the sand bar is elevated above the water's edge, where most people lay out their towells and beach tents.
Above: Under the bridge to the estuary mouth at Cuttagee Lake
(Order this image)
Conditions at the lake can vary depending on whether the mouth is open or closed, and if the mouth is open, whether the tide is moving
in or out. The mouth can be closed for years at a time during drought. The water is usually salty, but freshens up a little when
the mouth is closed. The lake is swimmable at all times, but when the mouth is open on an
outgoing tide, you have the added fun of being able to float under the bridge and out to Cuttagee Beach. Bring a flotation device to hold onto
while you cruise along.
Above: A calm Cuttagee Lake when the estuary mouth was closed
(Order this image)
The main danger here are the rocks with sharp edges. It's easy to avoid them because they are generally visible in the water. If you are
touching down with your feet, make sure it's in a sandy area. On my most recent visit there were hundreds of hermit crabs along
the sandbar, which I had not seen on previous visits. They did their best to avoid you by hiding in the sand, but some kids were getting freaked
out by them. They may have been around in such large numbers because the river mouth was closed.
Parking is on the side of the road on the southern side of the bridge. There are no facilities at Cuttagee Lake, so please take your
rubbish with you to keep it in pristine condition.
Here is a video that I took when the lake was open on a fast, outgoing tide. Heaps of fun. Sorry about the wayward finger that pops up in
the corner of the screen, and the sound quality is a bit ordinary as it was one of my earlier videos.
Other Information Before You Go:
Sapphire Coast Drive, Cuttagee, 390 km (approx. 5 hrs 30 mins drive) south of Sydney and
260 km (approx. 3 hr 20 min drive) south east of Canberra.
The lake is at the northern end of Cuttagee Beach, below the wooden bridge.
Cuttagee is on Sapphire Coast Drive, which is the coastal road from Merimbula to Narooma.
There is a solitary picnic table on the ocean side of the road that is rarely used.
Sand with occasional rocks in the deeper water
Maximum water depth:
Minimum swimming proficiency required:
Beginners on the sand bar. Experienced in the river channel.
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog:
None specified on site. Dogs permitted.
None except under the bridge, where you can sit if you don't have a beach shelter
There is no camping at Cuttagee Lake. If you want to stay near this swimming spot, you can try the following options in nearby Bermagui.
All distances below are by road, not as the crow flies.
Bega Valley Shire Council
The Four Winds Festival for classical music, every second Easter on a farm up the road,
and for swimming, the Blue Pool
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 marker indicates the approximate location of the sandbar in the lake where I swam.
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I am particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in conditions, etc.
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