You can't ignore the call of the great outdoors in the Murrumbidgee River Corridor, easily accessible from Canberra. All kinds of natural communion are possible along this short, lovely section of the river's epic 1,600km journey from the mountainous Australian Alps. Take short walks near Uriarra Crossing or Tharwa or tackle the 27km Murrumbidgee Discovery Track. Swim, kayak and picnic at Casuarina Sands and play cards in the shade of Cotter campground. Fish for Murray cod and listen to native birds warble in the bushland. Pick your day destination from Canberra or combine a few scenic spots on a riverside camping trip.
It's only a 20 minute drive from Canberra to Uriarra Crossing, at the corridor's northern entrance. Unpack your picnic next to families of yellow-tailed black cockatoos, swim or hit the water in a canoe. A number of easy, well-marked walking trails also weave through the area. Spend two hours and meet a colourful array of birds on the Woodstock Nature Reserve Walk. Follow the Uriarra Loop along the Murrumbidgee and Molonglo Rivers or hike from Sheperd's Lookout to Molonglo River through stands of black cypress pine.
Further south lie the family-friendly beaches and picnic areas of Cotter Junction. Fish beneath the slender casuarina trees at Casuarina Sands or pitch your tent in the well-equipped Cotter campground. Walkers can follow the stroller-friendly Cotter Explorer Track along the banks of the Cotter River or continue to Cotter Caves on the Bullen Loop. For more of a workout, head uphill on the Stony Creek Skyline Track.
Casuarina Sands also marks the start of the 27km Murrumbidgee Discovery Track to Point Hut Crossing, in the corridor's centre. Tackle the track in sections or walk the whole way, camping overnight. The first, challenging 8-hour hike connects Casuarina Sands with the pretty swimming spot of Kambah Pool. Along the way, you'll take in river oaks, red stringy barks, scribbly gums and breathtaking views. Walk 7km from Kambah Pool to Pine Island, past native forest and farmland and the dramatic Red Rocks Gorge. Take a dip or fire up the barbeque at Pine Island or walk an extra hour to Point Hut Crossing for rewarding river views.
Along the corridor's south, Tharwa Bridge, Tharwa Sandwash and Angle Crossing are more idyllic, gum-lined spots where you can swim, picnic, fish and canoe. From Tharwa, you can detour into the wildlife-rich bushland of Namadgi National Park. Or stay near the river on short bushwalks - one leads you to the burial site of a local Aboriginal warrior, another to a unique nineteenth century cemetery.
Fishermen can snare trout, golden perch, redfin and Murray cod all along the river, except at the Gigerline Nature Reserve near Angle Crossing. Off-limits are protected species such as the Murray River crayfish, Macquarie perch, silver perch, two-spined blackfish and trout cod. There's many a peaceful place to drop in a line.
Whether it's adventure, recreation or relaxation you are seeking, there's something for everyone along the Murrumbidgee Corridor.