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A Self-Guided Walking Tour of Canberra

Home > Canberra > Free | Museums | Outdoor | Walks
by Sue W (subscribe)
New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published September 11th 2017
For the energetic and adventurous
Canberra is an exciting, evolving, creative and interesting city - and thankfully, reasonably small. It isn't one of those cities where you need to travel on two modes of public transport to get anywhere - everything in the city and the Parliamentary Triangle is within walking distance, if you aren't afraid of a little exercise. If you aren't feeling so energetic however, there are also ACTION buses and the Red Explorer Bus to hop on and hop off - however you really get a feel for a place when you can slow down and experience the sights, smells and sounds of a city. This self-guided walking tour will begin in the CBD and then give directions on how to walk over to Lake Burley Griffin - and if you have the energy - further on to the Parliamentary Triangle.

So if you're feeling adventurous, tie up your comfiest sneakers and let's start exploring!

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Explore the colour of the city, by foot


EXPLORING WITHIN THE CITY

As many people who visit Canberra stay in hotels in the city, we will start this walking tour in the middle of the CBD on the main Bunda Street that runs through the city centre. You could easily get side-tracked on Bunda Street itself, with over 260 stores in the Canberra Centre shopping centre, as well as dozens of restaurants and cafes lining the streets.

If you walk north from Bunda Street however, you will discover the cafes, food trucks and hip coffee outlets on the popular Lonsdale Street in the suburb of Braddon. This busy area used to be the "auto central" of Canberra with repair shops, car yards and car washes, but today it is a bustling cafe strip with some of best coffee in Canberra. See walking directions here.

If you walk east from Bunda Street for a couple of kilometres, you will get to the Australian War Memorial in the suburb of Campbell. The Australian War Memorial is one of Canberra's most popular tourist attractions and it is an easy place to spend the whole day. Walk through exhibitions and learn about different wars in history or take a free guided tour and hear the human stories, behind the war. See walking directions here.

If you walk west from Bunda Street, it is just a short walk to the Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG), located next to the Canberra Theatre Centre in London Circuit. It isn't a big museum to walk around, however if you appreciate various types of contemporary art, then you will enjoy the latest exhibitions on show. See walking directions here.

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Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG), on London Circuit


FROM THE CITY TO LAKE BURLEY GRIFFIN

If you walk south from Bunda Street, this leads you in the direction of one of Canberra's most scenic tourist attractions - Lake Burley Griffin. Between the city and the lake however, there is a large highway which blocks an easy thoroughfare to get between the two. To access the lake, there are two pedestrian bridges and one tunnel, which are all easily accessible from the city centre.

Allara Street Bridge - To get to the main bridge that takes you directly into Commonwealth Park and then onto Lake Burley Griffin, it is just a 10 minute walk from Bunda Street, over Constitution Avenue, past the Canberra Olympic Pool and into Allara Street. See walking directions here.

NewActon Bridge - If you are staying in the NewActon precinct, the second bridge over the highway can be found at the end of Marcus Clarke Street, next to Mocan and Green Grout Café. This bridge leads over the highway to Lake Burley Griffin and comes out near Acton Wharf. If you want to take a detour to the National Museum of Australia, this is the closest bridge to take. See walking directions here.

CIT Car Park Tunnel - The tunnel that goes under the highway can be accessed from the back of the CIT car park - on the opposite end of Constitution Avenue from the first bridge. When you walk through the tunnel it comes out further east along Commonwealth Park, just a short distance from the lakeside. See walking directions here.

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Allara Street Bridge - Look for this bridge near Canberra Olympic Pool


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NewActon Bridge - Look for this bridge at the end of Marcus Clarke Street, just near Mocan and Green Grout café


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CIT Carpark Tunnel - Look for this tunnel at the back of the car park, off Constitution Avenue


FROM LAKE BURLEY GRIFFIN TO THE PARLIAMENTARY TRIANGLE

Now that you have reached the lakeside, you can either spend some time exploring around it, or you can walk over one of the bridges (either Kings Avenue Bridge or Commonwealth Avenue Bridge) to the Parliamentary Triangle, on the opposite side of the lake. Just look for the International Flag Display flapping in the wind and that is where you need to walk towards. It is located on Queen Elizabeth Terrace, right in front of all the national buildings and attractions. See walking directions here.

From here you can easily visit the attractions in the Parliamentary Triangle, such as the National Library of Australia, Questacon, National Portrait Gallery, High Court of Australia and the National Gallery of Australia. Further back from the water you can also walk to the Museum of Australian Democracy (Old Parliament House) and if you have any energy left, Parliament House can be found at the far back of the Parliamentary Triangle, a 2km walk from Queen Elizabeth Terrace. See walking directions here.

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Walk over the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge towards the International Flag Display...


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The International Flag Display, in front of the Parliamentary Triangle


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Then start exploring all the national attractions inside the Parliamentary Triangle


After your day of exploring, walk back the way you came to the city centre, or catch one of the many ACTION buses which travel through the city and rest your weary feet. As you will be walking several kilometres or more on this walk, ensure you wear worn-in shoes, take some water with you and wear a hat in the warmer months, as the days heat up every quickly. Another tip is to stop and enjoy the sweeping views of Lake Burley Griffin along the way - it truly is the heart of the city. If you get too hot on the way back however, there are many opportunities to cool off with a refreshing drink and relax...

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...you deserve it! Afternoon drinks at The Deck at Regatta Point, Commonwealth Park. Image: The Deck Facebook

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Why? Explore the city like a local!
When: Canberra Museum and Gallery is open 10am - 5pm weekdays and 12pm - 5pm on weekends
Phone: Canberra Museum and Gallery - 02) 6207 3968
Where: Canberra Museum and Gallery, 176 London Circuit, Canberra ACT 2601
Cost: Free entry to Canberra Museum and Gallery
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