If you’ve been to Canberra during the daylight, then chances are super high you’ve seen the enormous lake in the middle of town! That’s Lake Burley Griffin and it’s named after Walter Burley Griffin, an American architect who, in 1963, won a competition to design the city of Canberra. Central to his original design was an artificial lake, located in the heart of Canberra. Measuring around 11km in length and about 1.2km at its widest point, Lake Burley Griffin averages 4m in depth, around 18m at its deepest point, and is patrolled by the Australian Federal Police water police.


Lake Burley Griffin provides a beautiful backdrop to the seriousness of the nation’s capital. Offering some light relief by way of wildlife and natural beauty, the lake serves as a magnet for families and individuals alike. The lake itself is home to many varieties of fish, including introduced goldfish, Gambusia, rainbow trout and brown trout. Other inhabitants include less common species such as native Murray cod, western carp gudgeon and golden perch. Interestingly, rumour has it the most commonly caught species of fish is an illegally introduced carp!

What’s probably most eye-catching about Lake Burley Griffin is the Captain Cook Memorial Jet. Originally constructed to commemorate the Bicentenary of Captain James Cook’s discovery of the east coast of Australia, the Memorial Jet was officially opened by the Queen in 1970. After a hiatus of almost two years, this “super fountain” has just undertaken a major (and really expensive) refurbishment, and is set to recommence daily operations on Tuesday 14 March 2017. Boasting fancy new (asbestos-free) cabling, the Jet is set to use just one pump to create a maximum spray height of 114m (vertical). For significant events special visits, and state occasions the powers that be will boost the power to two pumps, while for super special displays (such as the Canberra Day holiday on 13 March 2017), it will hit its full height capacity of 152m. Once it recommences, the Captain Cook Memorial Jet is set to operate daily between 11am to 2pm.


At Lake Burley Griffin, as in most capital cities, you’ll pretty much find every style of accommodation you could think of; from five-star-rated resorts and budget motels, to campsites and everything in between! Run a quick search on your favourite accommodation site and it’s bound to generate an abundance of options.


“the things you can see and do are endless”

There’s absolutely no shortage of things to do along the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. This is because within a stone’s throw you’ll find the National Gallery, National Museum, National Library, Australian National University and the High Court. Parliament House is also just a short distance away.

On the lake itself, you can try your hand at sailing, surf skiing, kayaking, canoeing, rowing, fishing, paddle boating, or stand-up paddle boarding. The land-lubbers, such as cyclists, walkers and joggers, are also well catered for with free BBQs and picnic spots located in the numerous parks and gardens that are dotted along the 40km shoreline. Those after a more leisurely encounter can catch a ferry, hop aboard a Lake Burley Griffin Cruises, or simply lap up the pristine water views from any one of the many lakeside eateries.

Spring is an ideal time to visit Lake Burley Griffin, as it plays host to Floriade, Australia’s largest flower festival. This month-long celebration originated in 1988, after what was supposed to be a one-off floral tribute – to mark Australia’s Bicentenary and Canberra’s 75thanniversary – gained momentum. Since then, Floriade has become Canberra’s most iconic annual tourism event and Australia’s premier celebration of spring.

Wherever your interests lie, you’ll find something of interest in the nation’s capital. Check out the Australian War Museum, National Zoo and Aquarium, National Dinosaur Museum, Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre, the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Royal Australian Mint, Australian Institute of Sport, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, and so much more. The list of places you can visit and the things you can see and do are endless, with options suitable for all ages and walks of life.


Captain Cook Memorial Jet


Lake Burley Griffin Cruises

About Lake Burley Griffin

Lake Burley Griffin