New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published May 24th 2017
A 7km scenic walking loop, north of the city
Lake Ginninderra is located 15 minutes north of the city, in the region of Belconnen. It is just one of three lakes in Canberra, with the others being Lake Burley Griffin in the city and Lake Tuggeranong in the south. Each have walking paths around them so locals and visitors can pound their pavements running, walking, bike riding or skating, all year around. Lake Ginninderra is particularly scenic, especially in the autumn months when the trees are out in all their orange glory and the birds are active around the shoreline. The 7km walk around the lake is reasonably flat and paved the whole way, making it suitable for all levels of fitness and for pushing a pram. For runners, there is also a free 5km park run each Saturday, where you can record your time each week and aim to improve on it.
On my visit to walk the loop, I parked my car at Townsend Place at John Knight Memorial Park - however other popular places are the Western Foreshore carpark and next to Diddams Close Dog Park. When starting the walk, the scenic John Knight Memorial Park has a wide variety of birdlife down on the shoreline with swans, ducks and water birds foraging in the reeds, whilst cockatoos squawk through the trees. Although there was a lot to enjoy in this one parkland, I followed the map clockwise and headed towards Belconnen Town Centre.
If you walk along this path in autumn, the wind picks up the fallen leaves on the ground and swirls them around, creating a colourful snow globe-effect in front of the sparkling blue water. After a short walk past John Knight Memorial Park and playground, you reach a bridge to the Emu Bank restaurant area along the waterfront. Walk past the popular Lighthouse Pub, Bella Vista restaurant and a range of bars and takeaway options set back from the pathway. As you walk along the waterfront there are also perfectly-positioned benches to take in the view.
Walk over the bridge, past the restaurants and then take in the view
On my visit (May 2017), this area was under construction, however you could still walk through. The pathway then continues on past Belconnen Town Centre, Westfield shopping centre and the Belconnen Arts Centre, before once again joining back to the water for a short time. If you want to interrupt your walk and grab a takeaway coffee, Black Pepper Cafe is located just off the walkway and is a popular venue for walkers and cyclists. From the lake, the path then takes a short detour back to the road, before turning right and getting back to the lakeside - where you can enjoy the autumn colours once again.
Follow the signs, or take a detour for a break at Black Pepper Cafe
The pathway meanders around the lake's edge, until it reaches the Lake Ginninderra Western Foreshore, with a boat ramp and an access point for kayaks. This area is particularly popular on weekends for family BBQs, as kids can play at the playgrounds and ride their bikes on the smooth pathways. On my quiet weekday walk however, this reserve was dotted with water birds and ducks, happily foraging in their scenic waterfront home.
The path eventually gets to a bridge on Ginninderra Drive, which you cross over whilst enjoying views to the Belconnen Town Centre and Telstra Tower in the distance. On the other side of the bridge, follow the signs back down to the lake and walk towards Diddams Close reserve, with BBQ areas and playground. There are two sides to Diddams Close Reserve - this first side on your walk is for quiet BBQs and the other side has a Dog Park and larger playground.
The walk then opens up along the lakeside, before heading into a tall eucalyptus forest by the shoreline. If you walk this path in summer, this will be a welcome break from the sun, however if you walk through early in the cooler months, you may need to pull on a beanie! As you leave the forest, the second reserve of Diddams Close opens up with playground and BBQs. You can also hear the barks of happy dogs in the Dog Park next to the pathway.
Walk through the forest and back out to the second side of Diddams Close, with dog park
Follow the signs up and over the second bridge on Ginninderra Drive and down the other side for the last stretch back to the start. Along the way, enjoy the views of cormorant birds drying their wings and rosellas flitting between the trees. If you are feeling weary and need a rest, Cafe Birrigai is just a short detour from the path, located in the Kangara Waters retirement village. From here it is just a short walk back to the start.
The walk personally took me 1 hour and 20 minutes, including stopping to take photos and admire the views. Although it isn't hilly, the constant walking is great exercise and your legs feel it by the end. For me, I enjoyed the scenery and sense of discovery, wondering what I was going to find around the next corner. With so many scenic surprises at every turn, you could easily do this walk every week and see something new every time...