In early July we arranged with some Canberrian friends to meet them in Canberra. I was really looking forward to riding around as I had done the central section of the Lake many moons ago. On Saturday I saw the weather, it was -9 degrees Celsius over night in Canberra.
When the time came to packing, I got a very large bag and just kept throwing warmer and warmer clothes into it. I put the bikes in the car and off we went and to tell you the truth, I didn’t think we would do much riding. On riding day, the sun came out and our friends said it was balmy outside (1 degree Celsius) so we put on all our clothes. Thats thick gloves, two jumpers, and a wooly overcoat, two tee shirts, mtb bike pants, thick socks and even the trackie bums. This was no time to try lycra for the first time.
Lake Burley Griffin Trail – West
We started our ride around the lake at the National Museum, there are a lot of museums in Canberra and our friends wanted to look around whilst we rode around. We headed west around the northern end of Lake Burley Griffin. Its the No 1 ride for tourists and we wanted to join the party. Its a perfect track and it moves in a nice smooth path with lots of slow turns all the way around the western end. It is impossible to get lost and its not at all hilly. At the western end there is a Zoo and if you are lucky you will start to see some kangaroos in the distance after this point. The trail then goes near the Canberra golf club and the Prime Ministers house and meanders all the way back to the Commonwealth Avenue bridge. Crossing that is easy and you can return to your starting point. The total ride for the western end loop is 21 km.
To the east of Commonwealth Drive the lake trail continues with the same perfection. On the north side you will find mainly parks and the giant Carillon which is code for a very tall glockenspiel that plays little tunes all day long. You will photograph that and head further east until you realise that the lake is actually the Molongo River that has been dammed up. Its nice at the eastern end. Coming around to the south side is a new area called The Dock and then you cycle until you see Parliament House and the wonderful Questacon which you must take your kids to. The National Library has a great cafe.
On my map is a trail to the New Parliament House. Its a grab bag of footpaths and not the usual Canberra perfect trail but the views are special in all directions. This is one of Australia’s best and easiest rides as long as you prepare for the weather. I suggest September October as the best time but even summer would be fine if you start riding before 7am. All up the eastern end loop is 16km and the full lap of the lake is 37km or thereabouts.
Pictures for both ends of the lake follow
Map of Lake Burley Griffin