Murrumbidgee River Corridor
The Murrumbidgee River flows for 1,600 kilometres from its headwaters in Kosciuszko National Park to its junction with the Murray River near Balranald in NSW. Around 66 kilometres of the river's journey is through the ACT, from Angle Crossing in the south to Uriarra Crossing in the north.
The Murrumbidgee River and its catchment are a significant part of the Murray-Darling Basin, supplying water for people, agriculture and wildlife along its length.
The Murrumbidgee River is also important to Aboriginal groups including the Ngunnawal, Wiradjuri and Nari Nari. Descendants of these groups maintain a close interest and involvement in the management of the Murrumbidgee River Corridor (MRC).
The river and a narrow strip of land on either side make up the 9,800 hectares known collectively as the MRC, which includes five nature reserves, eight recreation reserves and a European heritage conservation zone. The MRC is extremely rich in Aboriginal and European heritage.
The MRC is one of Canberra's best-loved places for nature-based recreation. It is ideal for bushwalking, camping, picnicking, wildlife observation and bird watching, as well as water-based activities such as swimming, fishing and canoeing.
Recreation areas are well serviced with mown areas, playgrounds, picnic tables, and free electric or wood-fired barbecues. Staff take great pride in maintaining these areas to a high standard, so please help them out by taking your rubbish with you (as bins are not provided), abiding by local regulations as indicated on the signs at the entrance to all recreation areas, and reporting any maintenance issues to Access Canberra on 13 22 81. If you witness acts of vandalism or other illegal activities please report it to the police on 131 444.
Horse riding is permitted on the Bicentennial National Trail and on fire trails east of Old Boboyan Road. For more information refer to our Horseriding page.
Most of the MRC recreation areas are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, although Pine Island and Kambah Pool are closed to vehicles at night. During daylight savings time you can access these areas from 8 am to 9 pm, and during non-daylight savings times between 8 am and 6 pm.
Wood barbecues are located at Uriarra Crossing and the Cotter Campground. Fires are permitted unless a Total Fire Ban is in force. Wood is not supplied at the campground, so you must either bring your own or alternatively ask a ranger or the campground host (seasonal) to purchase a bag. Use wood sparingly and please ensure fires are extinguished before you depart. Fires are only permitted in the fire places provided. Collecting wood from the nearby surroundings is illegal. Please leave the wood in the bush for the many species of native animals which live in the MRC. More information on the MRC's recreation facilities can be found in the Murrumbidgee River Corridor Brochure (PDF 551KB) (Word 59KB).
The Cotter Campground is the only camping area within the MRC. For information on this and other camping areas within the ACT (including camping at the nearby Blue Range Recreation Area) please refer to our Camping in the ACT page.
Dogs are permitted at Point Hut Crossing (both sides of the river, though they must remain on-leash on the eastern side); Uriarra Crossing (including Swamp Creek); Shepherds Lookout; and Murrays Corner which is located along Paddys River Road. Dogs are not permitted in most of the recreation areas along the MRC, including the Cotter recreation areas and Cotter Campground. For more information visit Recreation with my dog.
All recreation areas (except Shepherds Lookout) have great swimming or paddling opportunities. When swimming at these recreation areas please take note of the warning signs advising of water hazards. At times, the water quality may be unsafe and not suitable for swimming. Remember that these swimming spots are not patrolled, so please look after yourself and others.
Diving and the use of rope swings may be fun but are also potentially lethal activities. Never dive into the water unless you have checked thoroughly for underwater obstacles, and remember that the river is a dynamic system and conditions can change rapidly. Rope swings also damage trees, are dangerous and will be removed by parks staff.
Large sandy beaches with a gentle slope into the water are located at Tharwa Sandwash, Tharwa Bridge, Point Hut Crossing, Pine Island (central, north and south), Kambah Pool (southern or upstream area), and Uriarra Crossing.
The ACT's only public nude bathing area is located 500 metres downstream of the northern car park at Kambah Pool. The nude bathing area is clearly signposted.
Fishing is a popular activity along the Murrumbidgee River. Fishing is permitted on the Murrumbidgee River except at the Gigerline Nature Reserve (from Angle Crossing downstream to the junction with the Gudgenby River). Although no fishing licence is required in the ACT, there are regulations and bag limits which must be adhered to. For more information, visit the Recreational Fishing page. Remember that some species such as the Murray Crayfish, Trout Cod and Macquarie Perch are protected and must not be taken.
Bicycles are permitted only on formed roads and management trails within the MRC. However, bicycle use along the Murrumbidgee Discovery Trail is permitted between Point Hut and Tuggeranong Creek. If you ride this section please follow the Mountain Bike Australia's Code of Conduct, keep your speed down, do not leave the track, avoid skidding, give way to pedestrians and respect other users.
The Murrumbidgee Discovery Trail between Kambah Pool and Tuggeranong Creek was upgraded in 2013 as part of the Centenary Trail and is accessible to walkers and bicycle riders. Excellent off-road cycling is also available on management trails and roads within Namadgi National Park and on management trails, roads and purpose built single tracks within pine forests and at Stromlo Forest Park. For more information about off-road cycling, go to Canberra Off-road Cyclists or refer to our Mountain Bike Riding page.
Events and activities
Events and activities conducted on unleased Territory land require approval.
Visit the Public Land Use page for more details on holding events on ACT public land.
Protecting our reserves
ParkCare, Water Watch and Frog Watch help to protect the natural and cultural values of the MRC. If you see people doing the wrong thing, or to report any problems, please record details or take a photo and report to Access Canberra 13 22 81.
Enlarged Cotter Dam
The Enlarged Cotter Dam was completed in September 2014. Information about this project can be found on the ActewAGL website.