The suburb of Yarralumla is one of the most leafy and scenic areas in Canberra. It sits right on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin and has peaceful, tree-lined peninsulas that jut out into the lake - which are perfect for BBQs and picnics with a view. Add to this multi-million dollar mansions, international embassies, cafes, plant nurseries, historical buildings, a mini-golf course, a real golf course and Government House - there are a lot of things to see in this one suburb!
When you look at the map, there are large expanses of green areas covering much of the suburb, which is made up of Government House, Weston Park, Lennox Gardens and Royal Canberra Golf Course - which is a popular course with golfers hitting off at dawn and kangaroos quietly grazing on the fairways. The kangaroos aren't the only animals living in Yarralumla however, as there are also some large international guests with long necks and beautifully-long eyelashes, just waiting to meet you.
Get up close and personal with the giraffes at the National Zoo and Aquarium
1/ The National Zoo and Aquarium is located on the border of Yarralumla, just next to Scrivener Dam - which was built to create Lake Burley Griffin. The zoo is a natural environment for Australian and exotic animals to live, with large enclosures and a variety of interactions in their day to keep them stimulated. Walk around and hear the roars of the lions, watch the antics of the meerkats and walk by some rhinos. There are large picnic areas to enjoy and new areas opening up each year, as the zoo expands with even more animals to see. Also at the zoo is the Jamala Wildlife Lodge which is a memorable way to stay at the zoo, dining next to lions and waking up to feed giraffes. See here for details. For a full article, see here.
2/ Weston Park is a grassy, 40 hectare reserve with picnic spots, the Heritage Plant Nursery, Yarralumla Gallery and the Oaks Brasserie, a playground, sandy beaches and Yarralumla Play Station - which has a mini golf course, miniature train and a whole lot of family fun. The parkland is named after Charles Weston, who in 1913 was given the job of propagating the trees that would be used in the new city of Canberra. The Weston Park area was the location of the first nursery, where he would experiment with growing different varieties of trees to see what would grow in this environment. The ones that flourished are now lining the streets of Canberra today. See here for details. For a full article, see here.
Relax with a picnic or BBQ at the leafy and scenic Weston Park
3/ Canberra Southern Cross Yacht Club is located on Lotus Bay, which is a small inlet of Lake Burley Griffin. It is a relaxing and family-orientated place to visit, with large grassy areas for the kids to play and Snapper on the Lake fish and chips located under the club. Each weekend in summer there is live music and often you see wedding receptions in the nearby marquee. Under the club you can hire out a boat or SUP, or join one of their sailing classes to literally "learn the ropes" out on the water. Upstairs is the Yacht Club with a restaurant and views out to the lake and beyond.
If you wish to take a cruise out on Lake Burley Griffin with Southern Cross Cruises, meet them at the wharf on Lotus Bay and enjoy a morning sightseeing cruise, cocktails cruise or relax with dinner and view on their dinner cruise. See here for details.
Fish and chips overlooking Lake Burley Griffin, at Snapper on the Lake
4/ Government House Lookout is a small lookout located on Lady Denman Drive, a short drive from the National Zoo and Aquarium. Government House is the stately home of the Governor-General of Australia Peter Cosgrove and his wife, Lynne Cosgrove. As the grounds of Government House aren't accessible to the public most of the year, the best way to view the grounds is from Government House Lookout. From the lookout, you can see the house from a distance and also read signs about the history of the property and of Yarralumla Woolshed, on the opposite side of the road. If you enjoy the view from a distance, then ensure you check the Governor General of Australia Facebook for notices of their Open Days, which happen a few times a year. See here for a full article.
Take in the view from Government House Lookout, on Lady Denman Drive
5/ Chinese Beijing Garden, Nara Peace Park and Lennox Gardens all sit side-by-side along Lake Burley Griffin, just a few minutes from the city centre. Each of the gardens has their own beauty and attractions. The Canberra Beijing Garden was a centennial gift from the Beijing Municipal Government to the city of Canberra and Nara Peace Park was also a gift from the people of Nara in Japan to the people of Canberra, to celebrate the sister city link between the two cities. Both gardens sit within the larger Lennox Gardens, which has BBQ areas, bike paths along the lake and grassy areas for sports games. Take a picnic and explore this peaceful area, with a number of benches just to sit and contemplate amongst the springtime blossoms.
There is a wide variety of things to do in Yarralumla, however everywhere you go there is a sense of peace, which seems to come from being so close to the water. The beauty of spending the day in Yarralumla is that it makes you feel like it's the weekend, every day of the week...
A quiet spot for fish and chips as the sun goes down, at Snapper on the Lake