The Cotter Reserve is one of the most popular Canberra picnic areas, located near one of the main reservoirs for the city (now viewed from a lookout, once you could walk along the dam wall). There is ample parking, barbecues, toilets, and grassed areas for recreation. You reach Cotter shortly after Casuarina Sands and only about 20km from the city. It is sheltered among the hills and is pleasantly cool in summer. With its huge deciduous trees making a picture of colours during the autumn, you could be anywhere in the world rather than in the Australian countryside. Even during winter, with the sun coming through, we have had many enjoyable barbecues there.
Campers might care to note that there is a low cost camping area in delightful surroundings alongside the Murrumbidgee River, located between Casuarina Sands and Cotter Reserve. The camping fees are low and are paid into an 'honesty box'.
What’s the Murrumbidgee River Corridor I hear you say…. Well, the Murrumbidgee travels 1600km from the Snowy Mountains to the Murray River. For about 66km of that distance, it is in the ACT and much of that distance is available for recreation. At most public recreation areas there are toilets, mown grassed areas, picnic facilities with free barbecues, shelters and walking tracks. Depending on what takes your fancy, you also can go swimming, take your dog for a walk, go fishing (no licence required, but some restrictions apply), go canoeing, or even rip off everything and legally go skinnydipping (at Kambah Pool). Just be sure that what you do is permitted where you are doing it!
This photo is at Casuarina Sands, a popular swimming area in the warmer months (the photo was taken in late Autumn). You also can go swimming at many other spots, from Uriarra to Tharwa. The Casuarina Sands reserve is off the side of Cotter Road, after you have passed Mount Stromlo – be careful as you leave the main road, the exit is on a hairpin bend.
General enquiries Canberra Connect 13 22 81
Murrumbidgee River Corridor (02) 6207 2425
Fishing enquiries (02) 6207 2425
'Mysterious Lake George' lies 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of Canberra. It is about 2,000 feet (600 meters) above sea level. When the lake is full, it is about 16 miles (25 kilometers) long and 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide, and covers an area of 37 square miles (96 square kilometers). The lake dries up from time to time. The moniker 'mysterious' comes from local myths about the lake's loss and gain of water.
Feeding the Black Swans on Lake Burley Griffin has to be a favourite activity. If you're up early, go to The Boathouse, Menindee Drive, Barton and take as much bread as you can carry. There are usually 20-30 black swans, lots of ducks, seagulls and the occasional pelican. Some of the swans are tame enough to eat the bread from you hand.