Sightseeing and leisure rides in and around Canberra
Canberra’s urban vibrancy continues to expand with precincts such as Braddon, New Acton and the Kingston Foreshore undergoing major development and redevelopment to create hip new centres of activity; bustling with local cafes, providores, boutiques and more. We also continue to see thriving local bike scenes and supporting businesses pop up in the well-established precincts and suburbs across the ACT including Kingston, Manuka, Dickson and more. And in almost every local suburban neighbourhood there’s a great café, bakery, independent grocer with fresh produce to nourish and fuel your adventures, bike store and more to make your Canberra bicycle experience top-notch!
We pride ourselves on quality in Canberra – quality bicycle experiences, quality local produce and quality customer service. By experiencing Canberra by bike, you’re experiencing it as a local; and you’re experiencing it in an authentic, engaging and meaningful way. You won’t be disappointed and will soon understand why all the locals love to call Canberra home.
The Canberra CycleWays walking and cycling map is your best navigation on getting around, across the whole of the ACT and Queanbeyan.
Not far from the City Centre are pockets of parklands, reserves and nature reserves that will have you questioning if you really are still within easy cycling distance of the nation’s capital. Such is the character of the ‘Bush Capital’ that nature really is on your doorstep, no matter where you are within the City. It’s a hop, skip and a jump (by kangaroo definition) or an easy and pleasant bike ride on off-road sealed pathways to the Australian National Botanic Gardens and the National Arboretum.
Black Mountain Nature Reserve, adjacent to the Botanical Gardens, offers some great introductory and intermediate mountain biking experiences.
RIDES WHICH START AT THE CANBERRA AND REGION VISITOR'S CENTRE, REGATTA POINT
The Canberra and Region Visitor’s Centre is centrally located, making it a great starting point for many of the rides across the ACT – near and far, by shared off-road path, by road, by gravel and by mountain bike! Did we mention diversity and proximity??
The vast majority of Australia’s National Institutions are easily accessible by bike from the Canberra and Region’s Visitor Centre, including by the whole family. A sealed shared path stretches right around the three basins of Lake Burley Griffin – the Central, East and West Basins – and on these shores, or not far from the Lake’s edge, you will find:
- National Gallery of Australia
- National Portrait Gallery
- Old Parliament House
- Parliament House
- Australian War Memorial
- National Library
- National Archives
- The High Court
- National Carillon
- Location of Floriade each Spring
- Captain Cook Memorial Jet
- Canberra Glassworks
- Old Bus Depot Markets
- Kingston Foreshore – a great place for a mid or post-ride coffee, bite to eat, or alcoholic beverage
- Jerrabomberra Wetlands
- Capital Brewing Co
- The National Museum of Australia
- National Zoo and Aquarium
- Yarramundi Reach Aboriginal centre
- Government House
- National Rock Garden
- Weston Park
- Yarralumla Nursery café
Experiencing a destination by bike can provide lifelong memories for the whole family and the ACT has no shortages of memories waiting to be created for you and your family.
Consider hiring a bike or using the ACTs bike share scheme to pedal your way around the Central Basin of Lake Burley Griffin. It’s a flat 5-kilometre loop, with two gentle rises approaching both the Commonwealth and Kings Bridges. You can stop at multiple points along the way, including Questacon, the Carillon, Commonwealth Park and Blundell’s Cottage. There are ice cream vendors and coffee carts. It is also an easy family ride from the Canberra and Region Visitor’s Centre to the National Museum of Australia.
Family-friendly shared paths around Lake Tuggeranong, Lake Ginninderra and Yerrabi Pond also provide great family-friendly options for those staying in Tuggeranong, Belconnen and Gungahlin. Along each route are playgrounds, toilets and BBQs.
THEMED CYCLING EXPERIENCES
Aboriginal cycling experiences
The ACT is rich in Aboriginal history and heritage, with Aboriginal occupation of the area spanning over 20,000 years. There are many signs of this occupation throughout the natural and built environment, including scarred trees, rock shelters and artefact scatters. It’s estimated that there are around 3,000 sites that show evidence of Aboriginal habitation across the ACT.
The Canberra Tracks Ngunnawal Country trail links together many key Aboriginal sites across the ACT, which can be accessed by bike. Some, such as Yarramundi Reach on the banks of the West Basin of Lake Burley Griffin, are in close proximity to the City while others, such as sites at Tidbinbilla and Tharwa, will take you further afield. You could make a day of it; or drive and ride.
Australian Wildlife encounters
Being the ‘Bush Capital’, you don’t need to venture far for authentic experiences with our iconic Australian wildlife. Kangaroos especially you’ll see in abundance on any bike ride in and around the city’s nature reserves, and further afield. In fact, we’d even offer a word of caution on any ride as kangaroos can jump out in front of you on any road or path in the ACT. Don’t be surprised to be surprised!
There are multiple rides you can do, from leisurely family sightseeing tours, to epic and remote adventures, where you are likely to encounter iconic Australian wildlife. A leisurely ride around the West Basin of Lake Burley Griffin, to the base of Red Hill or Mount Ainslie, or to the Australian National Botanic Gardens will all likely provide you with kangaroo sightings. Further afield, in the Brindabellas or surrounding nature reserve and forest areas, and at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Namadgi National Park, you might spot wombats, emus, koalas, echidnas, lyrebirds and platypus.
People are often surprised to learn that the ACT is rich in natural and cultural heritage. There is a perception that, as a relatively young city, we can’t have many heritage places or objects. This is far from the case.
Aboriginal occupation of the area has left a rich legacy spanning over 20,000 years. There are many signs of this occupation throughout the natural and built environment, including scarred trees, rock shelters and artefact scatters.
Built heritage in the ACT encompasses the nineteenth century pastoral history of the area, as well as many places and objects that tell our important and unique story as the nation’s capital.
Some of the ACTs key heritage sites and stunning architecture, accessible as a great bike ride are the inner-city 1920s garden city precincts (Griffith, Kingston, Reid and Barton). Throughout these suburbs, you can cycle at your leisure – either on road or footpath – winding your way through the local suburban streets. Autumn provides a particular show of colour as the deciduous trees lining the streets start turning spectacular hues of yellow and orange.
Right in the heart of the city are the Melbourne and Sydney buildings and other art deco architecture, including at New Acton and throughout the campus of the Australian National University which makes for a very pleasant ride in ambient surrounds.
While the very popular Canberra Tracks program has been designed for vehicular access, many of these sites are readily accessible by bike. – How about testing your climbing skills on the ‘Looking at Canberra’ track, taking in the views from many of Canberra’s hilltops? Other tracks, such as Gungahlin, Belconnen, Tuggeranong and Woden, are segregated into distinct suburban locations, providing easy access by bike with sites in close proximity.
Image credits to: Damian Breach for VisitCanberra, VisitCanberra, Delly Carr, Nick Payne Canberra Cycling Club, (C) aurora images, and jinkyart.com.au