For me the best way to enjoy Lake Burley Griffin is to grab a bicycle and ride around it, or a portion of it. There are three suggested routes you can take which cover the full circumference of the lake.
The East Basin – 9 kms (mainly flat) – red route on picture 1 attached
The Central Basin – 5 kms (flat) – orange route on picture 1 attached
The West Basin – 16 kms (undulating) – blue route on picture 1 attached
In my picture below the East Basin/Molonglo River = 1, the Central Basin = 2 and the West Basin = 3.
Doing all three sections equates to a ride of 29 kms – you can of course mix and match but if you do the East and West Basin you also, by default, do the Central Basin.
I have prepared a separate review on each of the three routes (click on the relevant link above) which provides a little more detail on the ride itself and the attractions along each route.
Which direction should you ride in? It doesn’t matter. Being a creature of habit I ride the East Basin in a clockwise direction while I ride the West Basin in an anti-clockwise direction. I rarely ride the Central basin on its own unless taking my dog for a “walk” (pictured alongside).
The entire ride is along sealed and shared bicycle/pedestrian paths. Watch out for pedestrians as, in the main, they are oblivious to cyclists who get up quite a speed along these paths though I am not suggesting that you do the loop at 30 kms per hour plus as some do.
How long does it take? Well that is up to you and comes down to how many stops you want to make and your level of fitness. Cycling is a great way to see Canberra and given that it has one of the best off road cycle path systems in the world I would not consider you crazy if you spent a week here and hired a bike for the full time (costs just over the cost of hiring one for two days).
In terms of hiring a bicycle, from what I can ascertain, you have two choices.
ShareaBike – http://www.shareabike.com.au/
Cycle Canberra – http://www.cyclecanberra.com.au/bikehirecanberra
Having my own bicycle, I have not used either company so cannot comment on them.
A few rules about cycling in the Australian Capital Territory (which apply equally on roads and cycle paths)
*Cyclists must wear an approved helmet and must use a bell, horn or similar warning device when necessary;
*Lights must be used when riding at night;
*Children in a child carrier seat or passengers in a trailer towed by a bike must wear an approved helmet;
*Cyclists have right of way on green cycling paths on ACT roads; (DO NOT assume you will be given right of way and ride defensively)
*Cyclists are allowed to ride on footpaths and should keep left where possible;
*Clear hand signals when turning or changing lanes are required.