Lake Burley Griffin

Lake Burley Griffin: A Tranquil Oasis in the Heart of Canberra


Nestled in the heart of Canberra, the capital city of Australia, Lake Burley Griffin is an iconic water body that serves as both a recreational haven and a scenic centrepiece. This man-made lake, named after the American architect Walter Burley Griffin, who designed the city, covers a vast expanse, offering residents and visitors a respite from urban life. In this comprehensive article, we will explore the various facets of Lake Burley Griffin, from its strategic location and surrounding landmarks to the recreational activities it hosts, nearby attractions, opening and closing hours, and its role as a pivotal element in Canberra’s urban planning.


Lake Burley Griffin is situated in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), forming a central part of the city of Canberra. While it doesn’t have a specific street address, the lake spans a significant portion of the city’s central area, ensuring accessibility from various points within the capital. Read more here.

Major Cross Streets and Freeways/Highways:

The lake is bordered by key roadways and streets that facilitate easy access for visitors. Some major cross streets and highways near Lake Burley Griffin include:

Commonwealth Avenue:

Running along the northern shore of the lake, Commonwealth Avenue provides a scenic route with views of iconic landmarks such as the Australian War Memorial and Anzac Parade.

Kings Avenue:

To the south, Kings Avenue runs parallel to Commonwealth Avenue, offering another route with access to key points around the lake.

Parkes Way:

Crossing the lake from the west, Parkes Way connects motorists to the city centre and major attractions, making it a convenient entry point to Lake Burley Griffin.

Albert Street Bridge:

Spanning the lake from the south, the Albert Street Bridge connects the areas around the Old Parliament House and Parkes.

These roadways ensure that visitors can easily navigate around the lake and access its various points of interest.

Things Nearby Within 3 Miles:

Within a 3-mile radius of Lake Burley Griffin, visitors can explore a diverse array of attractions, cultural institutions, and recreational spaces:

National Gallery of Australia:

Positioned on the southern shore, the National Gallery of Australia houses a remarkable collection of visual arts, including Australian and international masterpieces.

Australian Parliament House:

To the south, atop Capital Hill, the iconic Australian Parliament House offers guided tours, exhibitions, and panoramic views of the city.

National Library of Australia:

Located near the lake’s southern shore, the National Library is a hub of knowledge, featuring extensive collections, exhibitions, and reading spaces.

Australian National University (ANU):

Situated to the northwest, ANU is a prestigious academic institution with cultural events, lectures, and beautiful campus grounds.

Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre:

Adjacent to the lake, Questacon provides interactive science exhibits and educational programmes for visitors of all ages.  Visit our page.

Kingston Foreshore:

To the southeast, the Kingston Foreshore precinct offers a vibrant mix of dining, entertainment, and waterfront activities.

Captain Cook Memorial Jet:

Located on the central basin of the lake, the Captain Cook Memorial Jet shoots water into the air, creating a captivating spectacle.

Opening and Closing Hours:

Lake Burley Griffin itself does not have specific opening and closing hours, as it is a natural body of water accessible year-round. However, the facilities, attractions, and recreational areas around the lake may have their own operating hours. Visitors are encouraged to check the specific schedules of nearby attractions, such as museums, galleries, and recreational facilities, to plan their visit accordingly.

Recreational Activities:

Lake Burley Griffin offers a plethora of recreational activities for both locals and tourists, contributing to its status as a central hub for outdoor enjoyment. Some popular activities include:

Walking and Jogging Trails:

The lake is surrounded by picturesque walking and jogging trails, providing an ideal setting for exercise while enjoying panoramic views of the city.


Cyclists can take advantage of the well-maintained bike paths that wind around the lake, offering a scenic and active way to explore Canberra.

Boating and Kayaking:

The lake is a popular destination for boating enthusiasts and kayakers. Boat ramps and hire facilities are available, allowing visitors to explore the lake from the water.

Picnics and Barbecues:

Numerous lakeside parks and grassy areas provide perfect spots for picnics and barbecues. Families and friends can enjoy a leisurely day by the water.


The Yacht Club on the lake’s western side caters to sailing enthusiasts, hosting regattas and offering sailing programmes.


Fishing is permitted in designated areas of the lake, allowing anglers to try their luck in catching various freshwater fish species.

Hot Air Balloon Rides:

Lake Burley Griffin serves as a breathtaking backdrop for hot air balloon rides, offering a unique perspective of Canberra’s landscape.

Public Art Installations:

The lake is adorned with public art installations, adding cultural and aesthetic value to the outdoor experience.

Architectural and Urban Planning Significance:

Lake Burley Griffin is not only a natural asset but a key component of Walter Burley Griffin’s visionary urban plan for Canberra. Key architectural and planning elements include:

Central Basin:

The central basin of the lake, flanked by iconic institutions like the National Library and Questacon, serves as a focal point for cultural and recreational activities.


Several bridges, including Commonwealth Avenue Bridge, Kings Avenue Bridge, and Albert Street Bridge, connect the lake’s northern and southern shores, enhancing connectivity and accessibility.

Regulated Water Levels:

The lake’s water levels are regulated to maintain a consistent and aesthetically pleasing appearance, contributing to the overall beauty of the city.


The landscaping around the lake, including parks, gardens, and public spaces, is designed to complement the natural surroundings and provide inviting areas for relaxation.

Captain Cook Memorial:

The Captain Cook Memorial, with its prominent jet, stands as a symbolic centrepiece within the lake, adding a touch of grandeur to the urban landscape.

Cultural and Historical Significance:

Lake Burley Griffin holds cultural and historical significance for Canberra and the nation as a whole:

National Celebrations:

The lake is a central venue for national celebrations, including Australia Day festivities, New Year’s Eve fireworks, and major cultural events.

Memorials and Monuments:

Surrounding the lake are memorials and monuments, such as the Australian-American Memorial and the National Carillon, contributing to the commemorative atmosphere.

Festivals and Events:

Throughout the year, the lake hosts festivals, regattas, and community events that draw locals and visitors alike.

Urban Green Spaces: The lake’s shores are adorned with green spaces, providing a peaceful contrast to the urban environment and offering residents and tourists areas for relaxation.

Environmental Conservation:

Lake Burley Griffin is subject to ongoing environmental conservation efforts to preserve its natural beauty and ecological balance:

Water Quality Management:

Measures are taken to ensure the water quality of the lake, promoting a healthy aquatic ecosystem and safe recreational activities.


The lake supports a variety of flora and fauna, including waterbirds, fish, and aquatic plants. Conservation efforts aim to protect and enhance biodiversity within the lake.


Some areas around the lake feature wetlands, contributing to ecological diversity and providing habitats for various wildlife species.

Sustainability Initiatives:

Initiatives to promote sustainability include waste management, protection of natural habitats, and the incorporation of eco-friendly practices in lakeside developments.

Community Involvement:

The community actively participates in environmental programmes and clean-up efforts to maintain the ecological integrity of the lake and its surroundings.


Lake Burley Griffin stands as a testament to the harmonious integration of urban planning, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities. From its strategic location in the heart of Canberra to the wealth of activities it offers, the lake plays a pivotal role in shaping the city’s identity. Whether it’s the iconic landmarks that adorn its shores, the diverse recreational pursuits available, or the cultural events that unfold on its waters, Lake Burley Griffin holds a special place in the hearts of residents and visitors alike. As a reflection of Canberra’s commitment to creating a vibrant and sustainable urban environment, the lake continues to be a source of inspiration, tranquillity, and community engagement, inviting all to explore and enjoy its ever-changing waterscapes.

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