Stop for coffee & enjoy the views along this 9km bike track
When travelling to a new city or exploring your own, sometimes the best way to get to know the geography of the land and the friendliness of its people is to explore the city by foot. If you pound the pavements around Lake Burley Griffin each morning, the stillness of the lake is occasionally pierced by a friendly "Good Morning", as people pass each other on the Lake Burley Griffin Circuit. These popular cycling paths are used by runners, walkers, riders and those using the walkways to get to work, carbon free. There are also numerous parks to stop for a rest, with plenty of friendly ducks (and the occasional unfriendly swan!) ready to wander up and see what you have hidden in your backpack.
Eastern Loop - Follow the signs and say hello to the swans - from afar
The Lake Burley Griffin Circuit is divided into 3 manageable rides around the shoreline. The Central Loop (orange on the map below) is 4.9km and takes in the attractions between the two bridges, the Western Loop (green on the map) is a 16km route around one end of the lake and theEastern Loop(red on the map) is a 9km long loop, which takes in the other. This loop in particular is the perfect length (for me anyway!), to enjoy a leisurely ride on a Saturday morning and start the weekend on the right note. If 9km isn't long enough, you can then add the Central Loop onto your ride and experience more of the city's attractions. Wherever you decide to start or finish, it is the best way to experience the lake and discover the hidden bays and many secrets it holds.
See here for a closer look at the map, or print it out for reference.
The Eastern Loop is shown in red. Source: Visit Canberra
The Eastern Loop is a favourite with local riders as it takes in parks, restaurants, cafes, wetlands, views and also incorporates local streets and bridges. It has a good amount of variety to keeps riders and walkers entertained for the whole loop, exploring a part of the lake that many tourists don't get to. It is well sign posted with tall colourful signage, so keep an eye out for these as you make your way around the loop. These signs also give you a time and distance to the next landmark, so you know far you have left to go - which is a handy feature if you're feeling weary. One place to start is the Kings Avenue Bridge and then ride along the southern shore of the lake to the strip of cafes, pubs and restaurants along the Kingston Foreshore.
Eastern Loop - enjoy a peaceful and scenic ride between Kings Avenue Bridge and the Kingston Foreshore
If you like your coffee there are numerous coffee and food outlets to stop off at along the Kingston Foreshore, if you need some sustenance before you continue on. Each weekend, dozens of Lycra-clad cyclists are seen reclining happily with a coffee outside many of the cafes, with their bikes lined up along the foreshore bike racks. Although you can park your bike at any of the cafes and grab a delicious coffee, my personal picks would be 38 Espresso, Remedy and 7th Bake and Patisserie for particularly delicious coffee. Other casual and popular cafes include Local Press, Brasserie at the Foreshore and Walt and Burley. On weekends there is a relaxed "vibe" about the Kingston Foreshore, with locals out enjoying the weather and starting the day with a run, ride, walk or kayak along the lake.
If you are happy to stay in the area for awhile, then why not check out the Farmers and Foodies Market on Friday evenings (4pm - 8pm), the Canberra Glassworks (open 7 days) and the Old Bus Depot Markets each Sunday (10am - 4pm). After enjoying this popular area, hop back on your bike and make your way to the next highlight of the loop, the Jerrabomberra Wetlands.
Eastern Loop - stop for a coffee on the Kingston Foreshore
To get to the Jerrabomberra Wetlands from the Kingston Foreshore, the route takes you on a section of road (see Google Maps here) before you then enter the wetlands on Eyre Street. The wetlands are formed by the Molonglo River, which you cross later in the ride, and it is a refuge for migrating birds from the northern hemisphere and inland Australia. There are over 170 species of birds visiting the wetlands throughout the year, making it a unique experience in every season. This surprising habitat so close to the city is a pleasure to ride through, with twists and turns and the occasional kangaroo if you ride through early.
Eastern Loop - a ride or walk on the road between the Kingston Foreshore and Jerrabomberra Wetlands
When you get to the other end of the wetlands, you will see signage for Kelly's Loop, which is a walk around the wetlands which has a number of bird hides so you can sit quietly and look over the central wetlands area. Watch the migrating birds in their natural habitat and enjoy this cool and quiet rest stop before you continue on your way onto Dairy Road in Fyshwick, a road that has been blocked off to traffic and part of the loop.
The route then eventually gets you back to the river system and lake, past Molonglo Reach, The Boat House restaurant, Grevillea Park and then back to Kings Avenue Bridge where you started. If you want to continue further onto the Central Loop, just ride under the Kings Avenue Bridge to the popular Kings Park on the other side.
Eastern Loop - hop off the bike and sit in a bird hide, overlooking Kelly's Swamp
If you are walking these paths, expect to hear the "ding" of a bike bell as riders whizz by, warning you of their approach. Some go particularly fast, so it is best to keep to the left and just watch the blur go by. Although others may be in a hurry to reach their destination, the best way to take in the views is to take your time. With so much beauty and natural wonder situated in every corner of the lake, why not explore a cycle loop this weekend and see a part of the city that you may not have been to before.
Within minutes of the hustle and bustle of the city, you can find yourself in a quiet and peaceful oasis.
The beauty and magic of the Jerrabomberra Wetlands
Central loop is great for inline skating -- when you get close to the pink gravel in front of the War Memorial, turn left onto the narrower asphalt path to avoid it (eventually connects back to the main path following a slight downhill).