Lakeside Cycling
Experience | Cycling | Australian Capital Territory

Lakeside Cycling

Touristing in the Nations Capital

by Susie Baber  |  5 June 2021

Canberra is not a quick day trip from Sydney but it is doable, and Botticelli to Van Gough at the National Gallery had been on my wish list since it opened. As the exhibition was drawing to an end, I had run out of free weekends so a day trip it would have to be. Although it isn’t really his thing Andrew agreed to come along (and drive), so I thought I would round out the day, and assuage my guilt, with something he would enjoy. Whilst I love nothing better than a long walk, hubby prefers transport with pedals and wheels and Canberra is the perfect place for a bike ride. 

Canberra has an excellent network of shared paths for riding without having to go on the road, along with kilometres of cross-country trails perfect for those who prefer their ride with a little more adventure. There are plenty of options available for hiring a bike in Canberra.  Some of these will even deliver the bike to your hotel, and there are multiple automated bike rental machines around central Canberra. Simply swipe your credit card, choose a bike and ride away. You can also bring your own and either way, you’ll be pleased to know that you can take your bike on Transport Canberra’s bus and light rail.

To make the most of the sightseeing opportunities we decided to stick to the centre of Canberra and explore Lake Burley Griffin. The Lake is divided into three sections, Eastern Loop, Central Loop and Western Loop.

The Central Loop is 4.9km and runs between Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and King’s Avenue Bridge, taking in views of Parliament House and The Australian War Memorial. Western Loop is 16km and takes riders past the National Museum of Australia and the National Arboretum, across Scrivener Dam and past the National Zoo & Aquarium. Eastern Loop is a 9km route that takes riders past the Kingston Foreshore towards Fyshwick and through the Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve.

As I am not a regular or enthusiastic biker we decided to just start with the Central Loop and see how we went. We found ourselves a parking spot near Commonwealth Park and set up our wheels. It was a lovely day and most of Canberra seemed to have decided to get out and enjoy the sunshine. Riding east along the north side of the lake was a bit like playing frogger with all the pedestrians. The path around the lake is an easy paved path and, other than one section that was having some maintenance done, quite flat.

As we got closer to King’s Street Bridge we found Aspen Island and the Capital Carillon so we did a quick loop around the island. As that section of ride hadn’t taken too long we decided to stretch ourselves (well me anyway) and do the Eastern Loop as well.

This loop is much quieter that the Central Loop and follows the Molonglo River towards Fyshwick. After crossing the river we ride past, and then through, the Jerrabomberra Wetlands watched by an amused mob of kangaroos, before coming to the Kingston Foreshore. This area is Canberra’s only urban waterfront community and is overflowing with cafés, restaurant’s and bars. There are plenty of options if you need refuelling for the rest of your ride.

The trail continues along the lake front through Bowen Park until we reach Kings Ave Bridge and we are back onto the Central Loop and back into the crowds out enjoying the sunshine. There are a couple more cafés on the waterfront as we pass the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and the National Library and then it is up onto the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and back to the car, much to the relief of my legs.

PS: The exhibition was excellent, even Andrew enjoyed it!

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