AN URBAN WALK – LAKE BURLEY GRIFFIN, CANBERRA
An urban walk! Clearly that is not me! But it does fall within the theme of “Our Fragile Earth” and nature’s beauty. Besides, it was a typically glorious autumn day in Canberra. One of those wonderful “Indian Summer” days when the world is holding its breath: still, warm and golden. The earth and the very air seem to breathe peace and eternity. Days of dreaming. So, I resisted the urge to sit in my garden and dream and I went out to walk along the southern shore of the western part of Lake Burley Griffin.
As many of you will know, Canberra, capital of Australia, is a totally planned city, designed by Chicago architect Walter Burley Griffin. The lake, named in his honour, was formed by a dam across the stream known as the Molonglo River, in 1963, and lies in the very heart of Canberra. It is hard to imagine , walking the shores of this Lake, that one is in the heart of one of the world’s capital cities.
Lake Burley Griffin is 11 km long and about 1.2 km wide, with an area of 6.64 sq. km. The central section of the lake lies between Civic, as the Central Business District is called, and the Parliamentary Triangle. The surrounds here are more formal, but still most pleasant, park-like rather than urban. Although the CBD is only minutes walking distance away, it too, is separated from the Lake by the delightful Commonwealth Park. So far, developers have not ruined this area of the Lake, but plans are on the drawing board for more development to satisfy the greed of developers in the name of progress at the expense of natural beauty. Sadly, the southern shore of the top end of the Lake has been given over to expensive apartments. However, the larger part of the Lake, the western section, is relatively undeveloped and it was here that I made my way.
One can be forgiven for thinking that one is far away from urbanisation. It was mid-week and I hardly saw another person. I parked my car near the entrance to the official residence of Australia’s Governor-General, “Yarralumla” , at the head of Dunrossil Drive and commenced my hike. I had my lightweight methylated spirits stove with me , the caldera ti-tri by Trail Designs, as I find there is something more satisfying in boiling the pot and making tea for morning tea and lunch rather than taking along a thermos flask. There is something about it which I find satisfying, and of course, it takes a bit longer, ensuring that one sits and dreams. In addition, I had my camera with me. Both these factors ensured that I did not walk as far as I had intended.
Most of the following photos of the very lovely lake-side are of this western section of the lake, but just to round it off, I have included a few others.
Looking across an arm of Lake Burley Griffin to the Royal Canberra Golf Course
Looking across to Black Mountain which is all Reserve, part of Canberra Nature Park
On the far side, on the lower slopes, is the Australian National Botanic Gardens, then the Australian National University and then “Civic” (the CBD)
Looking across to the Royal Canberra Golf Course
Looking down the Lake, Mt. Coree in the distance.
Part of “The English Garden” in Weston Park,Yarralumla, beside the Lake
Government House – “Yarralumla”, official residence of Australia’s Governor General, just peeping through on the left, Mt Stromlo on the centre horizon
Mt Stromlo, home of the Australian National University observatory, on the horizon
A Black Swan
Looking across the lake to part of the 250 ha National Arboretum. The trees crowning the hill are Himalayan Cedars amongst which is a lovely, small, picnic area
Government House – “Yarralumla”, official residence of Australia’s Governor General.
A kayaker enjoys the beauty and the solitude. In the distance, wearing the brown grasses of autumn, is part of the National Arboretum
Looking up the lake, with a building on the Australian National University campus showing, while in the distance, immediately beyond the CBD, is Mt Ainslie
CBD buildings just visible , centre distance, and on the skyline, Mt Majura left and Mt Ainslie centre, both of which are Reserve, natural bushland, part of Canberra Nature Park, which, together with Black Mountain, bring the bush virtually into the heart of the city.
I will now include a few photos not taken on this walk, but which, I think, add to the picture you will have of Lake Burley Griffin.
Looking across to the CBD from the Australian National University
Taking some exercise alongside the lake in the Parliamentary Triangle, across the lake from the CBD. Commonwealth Avenue bridge in the background, and Black Mountain in the far distance.
Relaxing beside the lake on a golden autumn morning. Mt Ainslie in the background
The National Library of Australia
The Carillon, a gift from the UK to Australia, seen here from Commonwealth Park
An Australasian Darter landing on the lake