Get on your bike and go for a lap of the Lake Burley Griffin Circuit in the heart of Canberra.
- See all the best sights of the capital city without stressing about traffic and parking
- A 34km bicycle loop
- Two hours, not including stops
Say what you will about our nation’s capital but Canberra has an excellent bicycle lane network. Not only does this offer a green, healthy option to commuters but it extends to the tourist infrastructure as well, the pearl of which is the Lake Burley Griffin Circuit. Visiting a mate for the weekend, this seemed like the perfect introduction to the city for us lazy scoundrels who’d never properly explored it.
Cycling Through City and Scrub
From the suburb of Hughes, a 4km pedal brought us to the lake near Yarralumla Peninsula, where we turned sharp left to avoid getting our helmets wet. With the bulk of the navigation complete, we simply followed the bike path, keeping the water on our right, through riverside parks, around the golf course, over gentle inclines, over bridges, under bridges, to our destination, Yarralumla Peninsula, again! On the way we passed most of the principal attractions of Canberra (see below), and while we didn’t visit any that day, it gave us plenty of ideas for our next visit.
Surprisingly, the different areas of the circuit had distinct characters, from the busy parks and north shore footpaths around the big attractions (being a Sunday, the waterfront was thronged with pedestrians, especially around the museum and war memorial where we had to slow right down and dodge pushchairs) to long, straight sections where M.A.M.I.L.s (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) zoomed past on training rides, to the relatively remote and unpopulated east end and Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve.
Don’t Forget to Wet Your Whistle
There are regularly-spaced water fountains along the route, which can be split into three separate loops using the Commonwealth Ave and Kings Ave road bridges. These could also be used to cut the ride short should smaller cyclists tire. If that happens, there are zillions of places to stop for a picnic or, as we did, a pint while watching Namibia thrash New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup. Come to think of it, that may have been wishful thinking.
At any rate it added three hours to our two hour ride. It could have been our post-match weaving, or the detours we made around a couple of the peninsulas, but the 28km advertised distance turned into 34km by the time we’d finished. And we enjoyed every metre of it.
So if you’re thinking of visiting this lovely city, a perfect day awaits you on the Lake Burley Griffin Circuit. If you already live there – what’re you waiting for? Stop reading this blog immediately and hop on yer bike. Gone? Good. Then I won’t even bother finis…
- Bicycle. These can be rented in Canberra if you don’t have the means to bring your own, or at a pinch you could use Share-a-bike, a step above those ubiquitous green and red bone-shakers that litter the pavements of our major cities.
How To Get There
You can start and end the circuit anywhere around the lake, just ride straight to it from wherever you’re staying. Alternatively, there are numerous lakeside car parks where you can leave your vehicle for the day. Since it doesn’t matter where you start, pick one of the quieter ones, such as at Jerrabomberra Wetlands.
Sights To See
- Parks galore
- The National Museum
- The Australian War Memorial
- Government House
- National Zoo & Aquarium
- National Gallery
- National Film & Sound Archive
- Australian National Botanic Gardens
- Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve
- National Library
- National Portrait Gallery
- Parliament House
- The National Carillon
- Burringiri Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture Centre
Distance Covered/Time Taken