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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people and recognise any other people or families with connection to the lands of the ACT and region.
Whether you like to get your feet wet or stay on solid ground, Canberra is home to some gorgeous lakes.
They’re perfect for exercise (park runs are held at each lake), as a spot to eat, or just a place to explore.
There are three major lakes in Canberra, spread across the city so no matter where you live there’s water not too far away.
The best-known of the three is Lake Burley Griffin. Named after the architect responsible for the city’s unique design Walter Burley Griffin, it’s Canberra’s centrepiece and within walking distance of the ANU and CIT Reid campuses. It’s often featured in the city’s major celebrations, including a huge fireworks display on New Year’s Eve.
Boasting 40kms of shoreline, a circumnavigation will take you past some of Canberra’s most iconic institutions including museums, galleries, the National Arboretum and so much more.
Whether you tackle the shorter 5km Bridge to Bridge loop or the full 40km circuit, the paths are built for walkers, runners, cyclists and e-scooterists to all enjoy and share. Or be enticed onto the water itself– paddleboats, yachts and GoBoats can be hired and will have you exploring the lake from a whole new angle.
The lake is home to several dragon boat and rowing clubs, including university clubs, and is equally popular with kite and wind surfers.
Keen for a dip? Head to Weston Park in Yarralumla for a safe spot.
Check out these six ways to explore Lake Burley Griffin.
For University of Canberra students or those living around Belconnen, Lake Ginninderra is your best bet. With numerous barbeque (BBQ) and picnic areas surrounding the lake, as well as sheltered tables, this lake has an abundance of natural shade to provide a cool and sun safe spot to relax.
Around 7.3km long, the foreshore will only take you a couple of hours to walk around, with plenty of cafés and restaurants to refuel at. Or you can zip along the wide paths using a bike or e-scooter.
For some active, quirky fun, check out the frisbee golf course that has been set up along the foreshore as a free activity to fill in your day. There is also a popular dog park built right near the water’s edge for those with pets. The still water is perfect for stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking, or fishing is permitted along the shoreline if you’d prefer not to get wet.
Down south, Lake Tuggeranong is the smallest of the three major lakes, with a foreshore just under 7km long. And although it may be smallest in size, it’s big on beauty, with some great hikes nearby.
Cafés, a skatepark and BBQ spots are dotted along the sealed path surrounding the lake. Keen fishers, get ready to catch some redfin or carp as you settle in and cast your reel.
The nearby Tuggeranong Town Park hosts regular community events including live music, so you can head down to connect with your new community.
Each lake has its own unique style and sights, but there is no doubt each visit will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
If you’re looking to take in Canberra’s largest lake (well, it’s technically in New South Wales but feels very Canberran) take a drive to Lake George, an expansive lake just 30 minutes away. Park at the Weerera Lookout (named for the Ngunnawal people’s name for the lake) and gaze across Lake George’s epic expanse.
Up to 25 kilometres long after rain, Lake George borders the Federal Highway, along which you can find a handful of wineries with cellar doors to visit. Alternatively take a picnic lunch to the lookout.