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.

16Which 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.

For other CANBERRA reviews click HERE.


11 thoughts on “Cycle Around Lake Burley Griffin – General

  1. I’m new to bike riding …well just getting back into it. Looking to visit Canberra this weekend with my partner and the central basin looks like a nice easy starter for us and the km look about right. Any other spots besides the lake areas that make for nice scenic rides? Maybe I’ll find more in you page 🙂 thanks again.


    1. Hi and thanks for reading… there are 4 lakes in Canberra. (all man made) and each one is an easy ride. Check review below. Though I have not written specifically on the Belconnen and Gunghalin lakes I recommend both and if you are not up for the full 4 lake ride mentioned below you could consider these two lakes in one ride all along bike paths. There is also a link in the review below to the Centenary Walk .. a 110 km walk around Canberra and also a bike ride .. you could consider some of it too though most of it is off road so depends on what bike you have. https://ramblingwombat.wordpress.com/2017/12/26/cycle-around-four-lakes/


  2. Thank you for this information which gave me confidence to take my bike on my recent visit to Canberra. I did the full loop – my Strava said 32.5 km – and really enjoyed myself. The hilly bits aren’t too bad though I did huff and puff my way up them. People need to carry lots of water as even on a cool day it’s a warm ride and the water fountains rarely worked. I certainly saw so much more of Canberra than I knew existed. Such a great ride, I’ll be doing it again next time.


    1. Thank you for reading my post and especially for the feedback. I really appreciate that. I am so glad you enjoyed your ride around the lake. We are very fortunate in Canberra to have an excellent cycle path network though it is most suited to locals and commuting. That said when you return I recommend a ride around each of the other three lakes – about 7kms,7kms, and 3kms so a nice way to spend a few hours travelling between them .. They are much easier than Lake Burley Griffin but are each scenically worth it. If you are up for it you could do what I refer to as the four lakes ride… about 100km – I only just managed it once- not easy !!! .. or any other combination you like.


      1. That’s my next challenge – the four lakes. I’ll have to look at that to see if I’m up to it, I’ve only done 65km before but no reason not to get out and try. There’s not a lot of long, safe rides where I live, unfortunately but I’m going to explore some of the longer shared path routes around Sydney. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I recommend, assuming you are stating in the City centre you do it in a clockwise direction as you get a nice long decline from Gungahlin back to the city at the end. The worst part is leaving lake Tuggernong and heading North to Belconnen. Belconnen to Gungahlin is not too bad. If you dropped Tuggernong its about the 65 kms …. Whatever you do enjoy.


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