Located on the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin, this is one of my favourite parks in Canberra, if not my favourite. Most of the time I just enjoy the 40 hectare park as I cycle through it while riding around lake though sometimes I will specifically go here for a walk, more so now that dogs (on leashes) are permitted.
It is also the place I most often take visitors who have not seen a kangaroo as the chances of seeing ‘roos here, particularly early morning or at dusk, are higher than anywhere else in the city.
As well as the wonderful views of the lake (including across to Black Mountain/Telstra Tower) and the natural beauty of the park itself, especially in spring and autumn, the park has a couple of other things of interest to the visitor:-
• a very artistic, if also very controversial, memorial to 353 asylum seekers who lost their lives when the boat they were on to Australia sank – the SIEV X Memorial.
• the Yarralumla Play Station – a privately run play area anchored on a miniature train ride and two Canberra themed mini gold courses. Great for the kids.
I have written separate reviews on each of the above so back to the kangaroos!
No, you will not find kangaroos wandering around in the main shopping centres of Canberra (or any other city in Australia) despite what you may hear. You can however find them in many of Canberra’s inner city suburbs and by Lake Burley Griffin, in the centre of the city.
While you can find them if you go for an early morning or evening walk on Mt Ainslie, Mt Majura or in many other places, the easiest place, and the place you are almost guaranteed to find them, is here in Weston Park.
While a little away from the hills, around 80 kangaroos have made Weston Park home – they are not fenced in, as they are not anywhere in Canberra. Of course the ‘roos are attracted here by the nice green grass, plenty of shade and easy access to fresh water in the lake.
Cute as the kangaroos are and much as tourists love them (as I do too), they are pests, particularly in the city area, and annually, to the protest of many residents, a cull is carried out to keep numbers at bay. In attempt to find a more humane alternative to this annual cull, in 2015 many of the park’s female kangaroos were essentially give a kangaroo version of ‘the pill’. Those, on the pill, were tagged and collared for monitoring purposes.
Formal results of the trail will be available at the end of the 2016 (southern summer) breeding season. If the joey in the picture alongside was not conceived prior to the program starting then one can reasonably conclude it has not been fully successful!
The kangaroos are generally found closer to the park entrance, away from the lake, as this is the quietest part of the park. A walk around most of the park will take about an hour, more if you take a picnic, etc.
Other facilities in the park include a free children’s play area, free bbqs and picnic spots, toilets and a café (part of the Yarralumla Play Station). The park even boasts its own beach and swimming area though you can easily give that a miss! On the southern perimeter of the park are a couple of great nurseries and the more upmarket, though I can’t recommend it for more than a coffee and cake, Yarralumla Gallery & The Oaks Brasserie, located adjacent to the nurseries.
There is something here for everyone – young and old, making it worth the small amount of additional effort required to get here.
Getting to the park
The park is easily accessible by car.
By bus, from the city centre take bus No 1 towards Woden, alighting in Yarralumla at the Schlich St/ Novar St stop. From here it’s a 5-10 walk to the park entry.
I generally visit the park by bicycle, combining it in a ride around the west basin of the Lake Burley Griffin. See my separate reviews on cycling around the lake.
The park is open for vehicular access between 7am and 10pm during daylight saving, or until 8pm during other months. Foot and cycle access at anytime though you won’t see much outside these hours!