Where can I swim in the Parramatta River?

There are currently four places in the Parramatta River where you can swim. From our first success story at Lake Parramatta to the scenic beauty of Cabarita Park beach, these sites represent some of the different ways you can spend time in the river, and what’s being planned at other sites in the future.


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Existing sites

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Cabarita Park beach

Cabarita Beach

Cabarita Park beach is located at the northern end of Cabarita Park. There is a long, wide strip of sand bordered by rocks at either end, which makes it a fun and interesting place for children to explore the river foreshore. Swimming is permitted at Cabarita Park beach except for up to three days after heavy rain. To check the water quality, visit Beachwatch water quality monitoring.

The beach is backed by beautiful parklands with picnic and BBQ facilities, a playground, public toilets and wheelchair access. There is easy access to Cabarita Rivercat wharf and buses as well as ticketed parking. It’s the perfect place for a quick dip, relaxing picnic, or fun day out to entertain the kids at the weekend or during school holidays. For more information, view the Interactive Map.

 

Chiswick Baths

Chiswick BathsChiswick Baths is a quiet, local swimming beach located on Bortfield Drive, Chiswick. The site is enclosed by a shark net and childproof fence and accessed via a short set of stairs. Swimming is permitted except for up to three days after heavy rain. To check the water quality, visit Beachwatch water quality monitoring.

The baths are backed by a small park with a steep, grassy slope, covered picnic tables and toilets. Chiswick Baths is a great place to enjoy a refreshing swim, or relax and enjoy the views of Parramatta River and Gladesville Bridge. For more information, view the Interactive Map.

 

Dawn Fraser Baths

Dawn Fraser Baths

Dawn Fraser Baths is located in Elkington Park, Balmain. It is the oldest pool and swimming club in Australia, and is where the first game of water polo in Australia was played. It is a tidal flow salt water pool that, at low tide, has a sandy beach where children can play. For more information, view the Interactive Map.

The baths are open from October to April and subject to tidal waters. After heavy rain the baths, like other swimming locations such as beaches, may be closed if the water quality is not to standard. To check the water quality, visit Beachwatch water quality monitoring.

Dawn Fraser Baths is currently undergoing an extensive upgrade and will re-open to the public in October 2020. Click here for more information.

 

Lake Parramatta

Lake ParramattaLake Parramatta was officially opened for public swimming and water recreational activities in 2015 after being closed for 72 years due to poor water quality.

The reopening was launched by the Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG), and marked an important step for the Our Living River initiative.

Regular water quality testing by the City of Parramatta, as well as a formal risk assessment by Royal Lifesaving Australia, new safety measures and the rostering of lifeguards, has meant that the public can once again enjoy swimming safely at Lake Parramatta.

In addition to swimming, Lake Parramatta Reserve offers a range of facilities including: non-motorised boating facilities, children’s playground, walking trails, BBQ and picnic facilities and a visitors’ kiosk open on weekends. For more information, view the Interactive Map.

 

Planned sites

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Bayview Park

Bayview Park is bordered by the Hen and Chicken Bay Foreshore Walk, offering stunning views of the Parramatta River. There is ample tree shade, covered picnic tables, BBQs, and toilets for families to enjoy the surroundings in comfort. There is also a sandy beach where children can play and explore the rock pools at low tide.

City of Canada Bay is currently planning to activate Bayview Park as a swimming site, with construction due to commence in January 2021. The $300,000 project will include a swimming safety net, shower facilities and picnic tables.

Riverwatch is currently monitoring water quality and chemical assessment of water and sediment using the Human Health Risk Assessment Framework. See below for more information on the Riverwatch Monitoring Program.

 

McIlwaine Park

McIlwaine Park is located on the picturesque Brays Bay. The reserve includes covered picnic tables, an enclosed playground, toilets, parking and is close to public transport. It is also walking distance to the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway, which features 22 plaques that describe a significant place or engagement, and lush tropical vegetation that simulates the conditions of The Kokoda Track.

City of Canada Bay Council is currently working on the $5 million McIlwaine Park foreshore upgrade and Brays Bay river access project, which is due to be completed by December 2021. The site will be suitable for kayaking, paddle boarding and other non-motorised watercraft activities.

Riverwatch is currently monitoring water quality and chemical assessment of water and sediment using the Human Health Risk Assessment Framework. See below for more information on the Riverwatch Monitoring Program.

 

Putney Park

Located right on the water, Putney Park features extensive grass and natural areas, BBQ and picnic facilities, several playgrounds and ample parking.

City of Ryde is in the process of constructing a new seawall and stairs to provide access to the river foreshore and beach area at low tide. The site is planned for recreational water use in the future.

Riverwatch is currently monitoring water quality and coordinating chemical assessment using the Human Health Risk Assessment Framework. See below for more information on the Riverwatch Monitoring Program.

Riverwatch Monitoring Program

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Riverwatch was established in 2019 to monitor and report on recreational water quality at swimming and recreation sites along the Parramatta River. Riverwatch reports on the daily swimmability of each site on the Interactive Map.

After rainfall, stormwater and wastewater can overflow into the river resulting in conditions that can be unsuitable for swimming. Ongoing water quality monitoring and reporting by Riverwatch ensures that we can communicate the best times and places to swim.

The Sydney Water Riverwatch program complements the existing Beachwatch monitoring program. Beachwatch monitors three of the existing swim sites on the River: Cabarita Park beach, Chiswick Baths and Dawn Fraser Baths. Water quality at Lake Parramatta is monitored by the City of Parramatta’s comprehensive water quality program.

Sydney Water monitors water quality at the new and planned swim sites, to make sure they are suitable for swimming, paddling or kayaking. Monitoring results are assessed against the National Health and Medical Research Council Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Water. Routine water quality monitoring is undertaken for more than 12 months before a new site is opened.

The Riverwatch program coordinates all the required assessments to make sure these new sites are safe for swimming. For more detail on the assessments, please refer to our Microbial Monitoring Program fact sheet and Chemical Assessment Program fact sheet.

If you would like any further information on the Riverwatch program, send us an email at: Riverwatch@sydneywater.com.au.