Local Canberran. Reluctant member of the Smashed Avo set. Lover of the classics.
Published July 5th 2018
Get a new perspective on Lake Burley Griffin by e-bike
Ever have those moments where you think you know everything about a certain place, only to learn that that's not at all the case? Or where you think you have a good sense of direction, only to quickly become lost? I experienced those exact feelings while on an electric bike tour of Canberra with Canberra Urban Adventures recently. And I've got to say, I absolutely loved it.
My friends – one of them an interstater who I'd earlier tried to impress with my "I've worked in Parliament House and I can tell you about its history" line – put guide Graham in charge of the route for our two hour e-bike tour of Canberra, and he didn't disappoint. Starting from Questacon, we rode up to Old Parliament House, then new Parliament House (where my APH knowledge was quickly put to shame), through Yarralumla, circled the lake, disturbed some birdwatchers at Jerrabomberra wetlands and snuck in a coffee on the Kingston Foreshore before returning to Parkes.
There's so much I could say about all of those places and believe me when I say that I've been thinking about them for weeks. Who knew we had so many bird people in Canberra? How come no one told me about the Australian of the Year walk on the lake replicating the notes of the national anthem? What sort of person even comes up with those ideas? Since when does Lonsdale St Roasters have a shop on the foreshore? But instead, I just want to tell you to hurry up and do this tour.
Take in parts of Lake Burley Griffith you've never seen before
It was a magical afternoon; part fascinating, part fun. And much of this can be attributed to Graham. Not only was it clear that he knew his stuff – pointing out native trees and wildlife and interesting facts on Canberra's development etc. – it was also clear that he loved his job. That makes a huge difference. And as someone who hasn't ridden a bike in over ten years, and whose balance and/or coordination is not exactly her strong suit, I have to admit that I found the e-bike thing exhilarating. I clocked 28 km/hour at one stage while passing the Senate Entrance of Parliament House. I was chuffed and disgusted at myself at the same time.
There are a number of e-bike and pedal/kayak tours available, lasting from 90 minutes to half a day, or you can tailor your own private trip. E-bike tours on offer include the Inside the Heart of Canberra around Lake Burley Griffin, and the Nature of a Nation, which takes in the Botanic Gardens and the lakeside cycle paths around the National Museum of Australia. I am particularly excited by the newly-announced Tidbinbilla Wildlife Encounters tour, which includes transport to the park and then a guided e-bike tour of Tidbinbilla where you can observe wild koalas, wallabies and potoroos. And get this: Graham says there's a good chance of spotting a platypus! I cannot wait to book this tour when I have my next visitor staying.
My bike for the day - five speeds and seven gears meant it was a beast!
Canberra Urban Adventures cater for the young (minimum 6 years) and old and all riding abilities. You can even hire the bikes and do your own exploring of Canberra. Lake tours depart from outside Questacon – a very central location – so you can start or end your tour with a visit to the museum or gallery or, if you're like my group, a nice lunch at one of the gallery's cafes.
Despite being eight years into my Canberra residency, I felt like a happy tourist. And don't let the cold mornings put you off; the day I went really warmed up and it felt fantastic to be out in the sun. It was, hand downs, one of my favourite afternoon in Canberra yet.
Tours start at $38 for adults and run all year round.