Tharwa Bridge is a riverside picnic area between the beautiful Murrumbidgee River and the historic town of Tharwa. The area has great river views, with picnic tables and toilet facilities. You can also use your visit here to explore the rich history of Tharwa village and surrounds. Walk down to the nineteenth century De Salis Cemetery or wander along the river’s edge and read about the history of iconic Tharwa Bridge. Or go even further back in time and read about the rich indigenous history of this region.
Because the river is shallow at Tharwa it was a crossing point for the Ngunnawal people as they travelled to and from the mountains. For the same reason, it was also chosen by European settlers as one of the few places where you could usually cross the Murrumbidgee safely. Despite this, drowning were still common.
After decades of public demand, and many bureaucratic wrangles over sites and cost, the Tharwa Bridge was built. There was much excitement, - a public holiday was declared for its opening on 27 March 1895. Tharwa Bridge has served the region well for over 120 years, and has recently had some structural strengthening in order to preserve this wonderful piece of our heritage.
No bins are provided - please take your rubbish home with you.
No dogs allowed.
Located close by:
- Tharwa Sandwash
- De Salis Cemetary
- Namadgi National Park
Map showing the location of Tharwa Bridge and Tharwa Sandwash as well as walking trails, toilets, picnic tables and barbecues.
Note: If you have difficulty accessing the information in this map please contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81.
Facilities and activities
- Picnic tables
- Gas barbecue
- Canoe entry points
- Walking trails
Tharwa Explorer Track
Distance: 2.8km return
Time suggested: 1 hour
This track begins at Tharwa Bridge and follows the Murrumbidgee River upstream to a unique 19century cemetery. The 135 year old De Salis cemetery is the resting place for some 19 members of the De Salis family and employees of Cuppacumbalong Station. Originally the family buried their loved ones next to the river. However, when the flooding river had carried away three coffins and all the granite, making digging impossible, the family decided upon a unique solution. Instead of digging down, they raised the cemetery up. You can see this cemetery and learn more about the rich history of this area as you walk this interesting track.
The Tharwa Sandwash Track
Distance: 2km return
Time suggested: 45 minutes
This track starts at the car park at Tharwa Sandwash and follows the river upstream. Keep a lookout for some of the 200 species of birds known from this area.
Located on Tharwa Drive, 30 minutes south of Canberra city centre.
Please remember the following
- There are no bins provided, please take your rubbish home and recycle.
- Bring your firewood with you. Collection of standing or fallen timber from all public lands, including roadsides, is illegal and environmentally damaging, as it removes important habitat.
- Be aware that phone reception is not reliable throughout the Murrumbidgee River Corridor. Do not depend on your phone for safety or directions
- Please check the water quality conditions before you go swimming
More information and feedback
For more information or to provide feedback, contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or complete an online feedback form.