10 Highlights of the Bridge to Bridge Lake Burley Griffin Walk

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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Lake Burley Griffin Walk

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


Where does the Lake Burley Griffin Walk go?

The bridge to bridge walk around Lake Burley Griffin is in the heart of Canberra. The circuit is linked by Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and the Kings Avenue Bridge. On one shore you walk past dozens of memorials, statues and gardens, and the opposite bank is lined with national institutions such as the National Library, High Court and National Gallery.

How Long?

How long is the Bridge to Bridge Lake Burley Griffin Walk?

The Bridge to Bridge Walk around Lake Burley Griffin is 5km long. If you detour onto Anzac Parade or around Nerang Pool and Commonwealth Park, you will get a few more steps in. The loop up Anzac Parade adds 2.5km to the walk.

How long does the Lake Burley Griffin walk take?

If you just want to get a brisk walk in, the bridge to bridge walk will take about an hour. If you want to take in all the attractions, memorials and gardens allow at least 2 hours – there is heaps to see.

How Hard?

How hard is the Lake Burley Griffin walk?

The bridge to bridge Lake Burley Griffin walk is a flat and easy. For walkers, the main thing to be aware of is cyclists who ride through the area too.

Where to Park?

Where can you park?

There are a few parking options around the walk. We parked near Queen Elizabeth Island but the 2 hour limit there was only just enough for us. There is longer parking near the Captain James Cook Memorial, and you can also park undercover at the National Gallery of Australia and look around there after your walk.

Which Direction?

Which direction should you go?

There is no right or wrong direction to do the lap. But if you do like to follow numbers, there is an excellent map you can get from the Visitor Centre which starts at the Captain Cook Memorial and proceeds along the lake from there.

It is worth getting the Lake Burley Griffin Self-guided Walking Tour Map from the Visitor Centre. The guide has a short description of all the attractions around the Lake Burley Griffin Bridge to Bridge Walk. On the Parkes Way side of the Lake there are over 30 points of interest, and they are easier to find with the map.

Captn Cook memorial
Captain James Cook Memorial

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.

The Captain Cook Memorial Jet
The Captain Cook Memorial Jet

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

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
Flying Foxes
Flying Foxes

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 Place

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.

National Carillon

National Carillon

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.

Sculpture Garden

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.

Peace Park

Peace Park

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.

Commonwealth Park
Commonwealth Park

Commonwealth Park

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!

Emergency Services memorial

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.

Reconciliation Place
Reconciliation Place
Citizenship memorial
Citizenship Memorial
Merchant Navy Memorial
Merchant Navy Memorial

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.

Rond Terrace

Rond Terrace

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.

Canberra Zoo Accommodation
Jamala Wildlife Lodge

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!
  • The Hamptons – Luxury 2 Br Self Contained Apartment with private, BBQ, outdoor pool

If you enjoyed this story you might also like:

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Lake Burley Griffin Walk
Lake Burley Griffin Walk
Lake Burley Griffin Walk
Lake Burley Griffin Walk
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