With Canberra in the midst of its hottest December in years, everyone’s looking for some relief from the heat. While the beach may be the first point of call for most Australians in the summer, Canberrans need not worry about our lack of coastline. We have some great places for picnics, relaxation, and most importantly swimming.

These five secret swimming spots prove that you really don’t have to travel far to escape the heat.

Cotter Bend
Cotter Bend is a favourite swimming hole for many Canberra families in the summer. Not only is the water refreshing, it also has a reserve area that is fantastic for a game of cricket and a number of barbeques perfect for a family day out. DIRECTIONS

Casuarina Sands
Just down the road from the Cotter Bend is Casuarina Sands, probably the closest thing to a beach that Canberra will ever get! Casuarina Sands is a slightly smaller area than Cotter Bend but nevertheless is a great swimming spot. It also has its own barbeque area and playground. DIRECTIONS

Angle Crossing
Angle Crossing is a great little hideaway for a day of swimming and relaxation. It has lots of shaded areas and two different swimming holes, one a little shallower than the other. This makes it a perfect place for families with different swimming capabilities. DIRECTIONS

Pine Island Reserve
Another popular spot, especially on the weekends, is Pine Island Reserve. With a large shaded area leading to the water, Pine Island is the main recreation area on the Murrumbidgee River. DIRECTIONS

Gibraltar Creek
Located 30 minutes from Tuggeranong, Gibraltar Creek is a lesser known treasure on the Canberra swimming-hole scene. A bit of exploring will lead you to Gibraltar Falls – just remember to wear shoes in the water to protect your feet from sharp rocks! DIRECTIONS