New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published June 6th 2017
Enjoy Canberra's most iconic lake - and discover two more
When visiting or living in Canberra, one of the main attractions of the city is the scenic Lake Burley Griffin. Where the lake now lies, was originally the flowing water of the Molonglo River before the designers of the city, Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Griffin, planned to dam the river and create a central recreational area for the people of Canberra. As a result, Lake Burley Griffin was officially opened by Sir Robert Menzies in 1964 and is now enjoyed by thousands of people every day. The three walking loops around it also make it a popular way to explore the city by foot, whilst enjoying the birdlife who live on its shores.
Many visitors are often surprised to learn there are two other man-made lakes in Canberra, both a short drive from the city. Lake Tuggeranong, south of the city and Lake Ginninderra, in the north, were both designed for recreational purposes but also to "clean" the water before it flowed into Canberra's protected rivers and waterways. For the people of Canberra, all three lakes are an escape back to nature, with quiet reserves to relax in and enjoy the peaceful water views. For the more energetic however, there are also flat and paved walks you can do surrounding each one, discovering new sights around every corner.
Walk past a statue of Sir Robert Menzies along Lake Burley Griffin (Central Loop)
1/ Lake Burley Griffin is the recreational heart of Canberra, with three walking, running or cycling loops that you can follow to explore it. For a shorter walk, there is the "Bridge to Bridge" or Central Loop of the middle of the basin, which travels over both the Commonwealth Bridge and Kings Avenue Bridge. The full loop is less than 5km and takes in the most iconic views of the city, walking past the landmarks of the Parliamentary Triangle, along Queen Elizabeth Terrace and with views looking over to the Australian War Memorial. This route also includes the RG Menzies Walk, in honour of Sir Robert Menzies and also past the National Carillon, to hear its bells. For a full article on the Lake Burley Griffin Central Loop, see here.
For the more energetic there is the Eastern Loop which is a 9km loop that winds past the dining precinct on the Kingston Foreshore, through the Jerrabomberra Wetlands and along Grevillea Park before returning back to the start. This quiet path winds along a serene part of the lake where you will see kayakers slicing through the water, locals on their SUP boards and a variety of native birdlife along the shoreline. There is one section between the Kingston Foreshore and the Jerrabomberra Wetlands where it detours onto local roads (see photo below). For a full article on the Lake Burley Griffin Eastern Loop, see here.
Lastly, the third loop around Lake Burley Griffin is the Western Loop which is a 16km walk or ride taking in the last section of the lake. Here you will ride along Lennox Gardens, see the Canberra Beijing Garden, (detour off to Snapper on the Lake Fish and Chips if you're hungry!), explore parts of Weston Park, go past the National Zoo and Aquarium and then along the track past the National Museum of Australia. This loop is a popular one for cyclists, as it is mainly flat with a few hills and travels through a wide range of landscapes within the 16km loop. For a full article on the Lake Burley Griffin Western Loop, see here.
Walk or ride through a variety of landscapes on the Western Loop
2/ Lake Tuggeranong is located in the suburb of Greenway, 20 minutes south of the city in the Town Centre of Tuggeranong. This calm lake is utilised daily by exercise enthusiasts with a 6.7km loop around its shores. This paved walkway twists and turns past playgrounds, dog parks, residential homes, Tuggeranong Town Park, Tuggeranong Skate Bowl and past many little sandy beaches with a variety of birdlife splashing in the shallows. For dog walkers, the fenced Dog Park is a popular place to detour into for a run around. Although this lake doesn't have as much to see as Lake Burley Griffin, it is an enjoyable walk for local residents, who don't need to drive to the city for a scenic lake walk. For a full article on the Lake Tuggeranong Circuit, see here.
3/ Lake Ginninderra is located in the region of Belconnen, less than 15 minutes north of the city. This scenic lake has a 7.2km walking loop all around it, making it a good length for a long walk or a short bike ride, whichever is your preference. Dog walking is particularly popular on this path, with the Lake Ginninderra Dog Park a convenient place to stop for people walking their dog. This walk meanders past the Belconnen Town Centre, Belconnen Arts Centre, boat ramps, over bridges, past BBQ areas, under gum trees and alongside the popular John Knight Memorial Park and playground. A particularly enjoyable feature of this walk is experiencing it in different seasons, with autumn a spectacular time to visit with trees by the lakeside glowing in their autumn glory. For a full article on the Lake Ginninderra Circuit Walking Path, see here.
The attraction of all three of these flat walking paths is that they are suitable for all ages and fitness levels. You can choose your own distance and still be able to enjoy a range of scenery, wildlife and iconic attractions along the way. As Canberra is a friendly city, you will find that most people will give a friendly nod or "Good Morning" on the way past, making you feel part of the local community. One point to note however, especially on the Eastern and Western Loops on Lake Burley Griffin, is that these pathways are also utilised by cyclists on their way to work or by professional cyclists, so it is recommended that walkers stay on the left and listen out for any bike bells. Many cyclists will thank you on the way past.
With three scenic lake walks located within minutes of the city - which one will you be exploring this weekend?
The scenic beauty of Lake Burley Griffin, Lake Tuggeranong and Lake Ginninderra