New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published June 16th 2017
Fish & chips, playgrounds & family fun by the lakeside
Canberra may have had a reputation of being "boring" in the past, however the city is far from boring - especially for kids. There is a wide range of fun things to do around the Capital - particularly in the City Centre and in the Parliamentary Triangle. Although these are two areas that visitors to the city usually explore first, there is another attractive feature of the city that has activities for kids. Lake Burley Griffin has plenty to do around its shores with playgrounds, festivals, mini golf, animal encounters, bike paths and so much more. If you are spending the day by the lake this weekend or school holidays, see the following 10 ideas of things to do which can take an hour, or a whole day.
With so many options, why stop at one idea when you can do them all?
Fish and chips at Snapper on the Lake, at Canberra Southern Cross Yacht Club
1/ Canberra Southern Cross Yacht Club at Yarralumla is a popular family destination as it has a large grassy area for the kids to play, ducks and wide open spaces run. Under the Yacht Club there is also the popular Snapper on the Lake fish and chips, which is always a hit with the kids, whatever the age. If you want to get out on the water, then also nearby is Canberra Southern Cross Cruises, which is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon on a sightseeing cruise.
2/ KSpace at the National Museum of Australia is a popular kids activity, on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. This free kid's area is open on weekends and every day during the ACT school holidays for the general public. If you are visiting during school terms, it is only open between 12pm - 1:30pm, with school groups using it the rest of the time. Using a full length touch screen, design your own robot and then send it into a period in Australia's past. Players then move into a different room to control the robots on a computer game, while learning about Australia's history. See here for details. For a full article on KSpace, see here.
Interactive fun for the whole family at KSpace, National Museum of Australia
3/ Events and Festivals around Lake Burley Griffin are enjoyed by the whole family all throughout the year. The year kicks off with Ben & Jerry's Outdoor Cinema on Patrick White Lawns by the lakeside. As the sun sets, the movie begins, with the latest family movies on the big screen. Australia Day in the Capital is the next major event, held at Commonwealth Park by the lake each year with free kids shows on Stage 88, face painting and jumping castles. Canberra Day is then celebrated in the same location, then Skyfire firework spectacular lights up the sky over the lake in March. Later in the year, Floriade attracts thousands of visitors to Commonwealth Park, with free kids activities over the whole month.
Family fun at Australia Day and Floriade - just two of the events and festivals by Lake Burley Griffin
4/ The National Zoo and Aquarium is located at the western end of Lake Burley Griffin, near Scrivener Dam. This popular tourist attraction has giraffes, lions, penguins, cheetahs, alligators and much more. If your kids want to get up close and personal with the animals you can book a family tour, animal experience or they can join the Zoocation school holiday program, for a full day of behind-the-scenes fun.
5/ Bike paths are an enjoyable way for kids to explore the lake, with flat paths around the perimeter for kids to ride and scooter on. The most popular area to ride is along Queen Elizabeth Terrace with its wide pathways, ducks and swans along its shores. There is also a long, smooth ramp that runs through the centre of Commonwealth Place which is popular with kids on their scooters. If you want to upgrade from the bikes and scooters, why not book a Segway tour (for kids over 12), for a fun experience for the whole family.
6/ Playgrounds are always a popular attraction for kids as they enjoy trying out new play equipment and making new friends. The most popular playgrounds around Lake Burley Griffin are Boundless playground in Kings Park and Commonwealth Park playground - however there are also plenty more to choose from. For a full article on the Top 5 Playgrounds Around Lake Burley Griffin, see here.
7/ Jerrabomberra Wetlands are located at the eastern end of the lake, with the Lake Burley Griffin Eastern Loop walking path running through the reserve and waterways. The most popular track around the wetlands for kids is Kelly's Loop, as it has three small bird hides to quietly sit inside and observe the central wetland area. You will surprised by how quiet the kids can get while they watch. For a full article on the Jerrabomberra Wetlands, see here.
8/ Captain Cook Memorial Jet can be found in the lake near Commonwealth Park, which shoots water up 114 metres into the air between 11am - 2pm daily. If the wind is right, the water blows onto the pathway on the lakeside, creating a fun fountain for the kids to run through. For a full article on the Captain Cook Memorial Jet, see here.
9/ Weston Park is a popular picnic and BBQ location, with wild kangaroo's lazing around on the grass by the lakeside. Families in particular enjoy visiting the Yarralumla Play Station, which has a Canberra-themed mini golf course and miniature train rides on a little blue train. For a full article on the Top 10 Things to See and Do at Weston Park, see here.
10/ Picnics on Aspen Island, under the National Carillon, is a popular way for families to enjoy a relaxing afternoon. The National Carillon sounds its bells every 15 minutes and then plays a longer tune again on the hour. Kids enjoy listening for the bells, following the swans that glide by and standing on the bridge watching the hundreds of carp below. Parents however, enjoy this picnic spot as they can grab a takeaway coffee from the Burley Grind coffee cart located nearby.
With so many things to do around Lake Burley Griffin, why not fill an esky for the whole day and explore all different areas of the lakeside. You may be surprised by what else you will discover.