The Bridge to Bridge Lake Burley Griffin Walk is a fantastic way for visitors to explore some of Canberra’s best attractions. But it is not just all the things to see on the loop walk that make it fun, it is a beautiful setting too. The lake, tree-lined paths, and gardens are set against the backdrop of Old and New Parliament House, The Australian War Memorial and Black Mountain.
Featured Image: Lake Burley Griffin © VisitCanberra
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- Canberra Highlights Tour Options
- Lake Burley Griffin FAQ’s
- 10 Best Things to see on the Lake Burley Griffin Walk
- Places to Stay in Canberra
Canberra Highlights Tour Options
- Highlights of Canberra Day Tour – See the views from the top of Mount Ainslie, Exhibition Center, visit the Parliament House, Australian War Museum and see the Lost Post Ceremony
- Best Of Canberra Walking Tour – Make the most of your time in Canberra with a private two-hour walking tour. Visit must-see institutions, inc Parliament House, Library, and Gallery
- Electric Scooter Hire – Simplify your sightseeing around Canberra by renting an electric scooter. Ride around the lake, to parliament, and to the city’s museums and galleries.
- Women’s History Walking Tour – Visit many well-known attractions and listen to the lesser-known stories of the women behind Canberra & visit a few sites you might otherwise miss
Lake Burley Griffin FAQ’s
10 Best Things to see on the Lake Burley Griffin Walk
You will come across over 30 points of interest on the Lake Burley Griffin Walk and they are all interesting in one way or another. We have picked 10 highlights, but for people exploring Canberra for the first time or with kids, there is something interesting at every stop. So, in no particular order, these are just a few reasons to do the Lake Burley Griffin Walk.
Captain James Cook Memorial & Water Jet
The official starting point for the walk if you are following the map is also one of the highlights. The Captain Cook Memorial Jet that shoots water up to 150m into the air is spectacular. Watching the water blast into the air is quite hypnotic, on one day we felt the spray while sitting on the lawn outside the National Library – which is some distance away!
In the same precinct you also have the Captain James Cook Memorial sculpture that shows the 3 routes he travelled around the world. Nearby is the indoor National Capital Exhibition that tells the story of Canberra’s design and development. It is open 9.00am – 5.00pm weekdays and 10.00am – 4.00pm on weekends and entry is free.
International Flag Display
The International Flag Display was one of the highlights of the walk when we did it with the kids. With over 100 flags the display is bright and colourful and matching flags to countries is a lot of fun. Even if you are not doing the Lake Burley Griffin walk, the International Flag Display is easy to see, it is right outside Questacon (a must do if you are in Canberra with kids) and the National Portrait Gallery.
It is a lot of fun walking between the two long rows of flags but you also get a great view of them from the top of Commonwealth Place.
Australians of the Year Walk
The Australians of the Year walk takes up a long stretch of the bank as you come off the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and walk towards the National Gallery and High Court. There are bollards for every year of the award and a picture of the winners.
As you walk from the first recipient, Sir Macfarlane Burnett in 1961, to the present day you can see when the Young Australian of the Year and Senior Australian of the year were introduced. It is a fascinating glimpse into the sports people, politicians, artists, scientists and entertainers that have who were recognised at the time. If you feel like a coffee, check out the lake views and cheeky magpies at Bookplate Café in the National Library.
Commonwealth Park makes the highlight list because it is such an interestingly designed area. The sloped lawns, pavement art (a gift from the Canadian Government to mark Australia’s centenary of federation) and long tunnel pointing toward Parliament House make it an interesting place to explore.
It is also a popular venue for community events and the nearby Jetty Café right on the lake is a good spot if you want to break up your walk with a coffee.
While not as imposing as the Water Jet, the 50m tall National Carillon on Queen Elizabeth Island is still quite a sight. The National Carillon is a tower that contains 55 bells that are played by a keyboard. A gift from the British government to mark the 50th anniversary of Canberra, you can hear the National Carillon play on Wednesdays and Sundays from 12.30pm to 1.20pm.
Even on the crazily windy day we had for our walk around Lake Burley Griffin, it still sounded amazing and was a great way to end our walk. If you are walking with kids, the Boundless Playground in Kings Park near the car park is a beauty.
National Gallery & Sculpture Garden
A walk through the National Gallery is a whole other activity, but you still stroll past the outside of here and you can spot some great sculptures as you go by. Some are huge and worth taking a moment to look at from different angles. Keep an eye out as you walk along, there are several sculptures along the path near the gallery.
Located near the Australians of the Year walk, the formal Peace Park is a lovely spot set just off the shores of the lake. In the shadow of the National Library, this is a contemplative space to walk through. Commissioned in 1986, the United Nations Year of Peace, the gardens are a monument to the values of peace and disarmament.
Not far form the Captain James Cook Memorial, Commonwealth Park and Nerang Pool are a lovely detour. The pool or lake has sculptures dotted around it, ducks and black swans swim around and there are beautiful gardens. A little further back from the main path is Castle Playground which the kids will love.
At present (Feb 2023) a huge colony of grey-headed flying foxes have taken up residence in the trees between Commonwealth Park and the National Capital Exhibition building. If you don’t have your bearings don’t worry, you’ll hear them! There are thousands of them and if you are there in the morning, you’ll see them flying back to roost in the trees. They are an amazing sight!
National Emergency Services Memorial
The National Emergency Services Memorial is one of several memorials you’ll find around the Kings Park section of the walk near National Carillon. To be honest we could have highlighted the National Police Memorial, the National Workers Memorial, the HMAS Canberra Memorial or the Merchant Navy Memorial which are all around here. Everyone of them is striking and a thought provoking reminder of people’s service to Australia.
Citizenship Place & Reconciliation Place
We finish with these two areas on the Lake Burley Griffin walk not only because they are both interesting and give you cause to reflect. Citizenship place is near Commonwealth Park and has a sculpture and a series of interesting plaques describing the history of Australian citizenship.
Across the lake, Reconciliation Place is set back off the lake. It features several sculptures and interpretive pieces about the local Ngunnawal people. It is located in the heart of the Parliamentary Zone with pathways linking it to Commonwealth Place and the High Court of Australia.
A quick mention of the Rond Terrace because it is hard to miss as you do walk around Lake Burley Griffin. The crunchy red gravel at this part of the walk is the same as you find on Anzac Parade. It is a great vantage point for lining up Marion Griffin’s vision. In the shadow of Mount Ainslie you can see the Australian War Memorial, down Anzac Parade, across Lake Burley Griffin and up to Old and New Parliament House.
Places to Stay in Canberra
- Jamala Wildlife Lodge – Luxury Treehouse or Bungalow – Share breakfast with a Giraffe or watch a Lion through your bedroom window!
- Alivio Tourist Park – 1, 2, 3 Br Cabins, On-Site Cafe, Swimming Pool, Landscaped Grounds
- Forrest Hotel & Apartments – Suites or 1-2 br Modern Self Contained Apartments
- Founders Lane Apartments – 1-2 br Self Contained Apartment near the War Memorial
- Capital Country Holiday Park – 1, 2, 3 Br Villas set amoung lakes & gardens + outdoor pool
- The Hamptons – Luxury 2 Br Self Contained Apartment with private, BBQ, outdoor pool
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