Best Rivers And Lakes Near Sydney To Swim In With Kids

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It’s no secret that Sydneysiders love large bodies of water—and who can blame us? The array of harbour beaches, action-packed surf beaches and rock pools that we’re spoiled with makes for very happy swimmers. But have you considered skipping the beach in favour of rivers, lakes or lagoons? The super calm waters can be extra-soothing for the soul, and especially good for kids that aren't that confident in the surf yet. Here’s where to head in Sydney with the family for a day of beach-free freshwater swimming.

Lake Parramatta


Image: oursay.org

Located in the Lake Parramatta Reserve—a stunning 73-hectare habitat that’s a super-popular choice among bushwalkers, picnic’ers and families in search of a great day out in nature. The lake boasts a designated swimming area as well as being home to non-motorised boating facilities, a children’s playground, walking trails, BBQs and picnic facilities. 

If your kids are nervous swimmers, this could be the perfect spot to ease them in gently. The area is patrolled by lifeguards during the daytime from late October to late March on weekends, public holidays and school holidays. 

Kangaroo Creek, Royal National Park


Image: david-noble.net

If it’s pristine water and the stunning backdrop of Sydney’s Royal National Park you’re after, look no further than Kangaroo Creek. Set against a wide waterfall that tumbles over small cliffs, this swimming hole is the ideal visit during a day of fun at the National Park.

The area is unpatrolled by lifeguards, so a good option for kids that are more confident with swimming and wanting to cool off after a bushwalk!

Nayook Creek, Blue Mountains


Image: theguardian.com

Take a refreshing plunge in cool water on your next visit to the Blue Mountains at Nayook Creek. A truly stunning spot on the edge of Wollemi National Park, the creek boasts one of the region’s most swimmable stretches—Deep Pass Canyon. Accessible as part of a 2.2km hike circuit, it’s an ideal pick for older kids that don’t mind a bit of a walk.

Nepean River, Penrith


Image: dailytelegraph.com

Located just 50kms west of Sydney CBD, Nepean River is the perfect location for a family day out. Brimming with natural beauty and the option to kayak, camp, picnic or simply float about lazily on an inflatable, the river is one of the deepest swimming holes in NSW—worth bearing in mind if you’ve got really small kids. 

The rapids of Bents Basin will delight adventure-seeking kids, and the dramatic, wooded backdrop is ideal for a true escape from the city. 

Jump Rock, Macquarie National Park


Image: Pioneer Walks

With an abundance of swimming spots located within the park, Jump Rock is one of many idyllic swimming spots in the Illawarra region. Set amongst native wildlife, an array of impressive fauna and trees covered in vines and ferns. it’s certainly one of the most picturesque lakes to swim in near Sydney.

So-called jump rock because of the option to climb up the walls with the aid of ropes before jumping back into the water, adventurous kids will love giving it a go! Jumping platforms range from 3-10 metres to suit all confidence levels.

Narrabeen Lakes


Image: Best Sydney Walks

Located within Narrabeen Lagoon State Park, these lakes combine the best of both salt and freshwater swimming. The expansive body of water is revered by lovers of all types of water sports, as well as cyclists and hikers who make use of the extensive bushland tracks within the lagoon’s surrounds. 

It’s the perfect spot for little ones, thanks to its calm, picture-perfect conditions. 

Hero image: fatherly.com

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