Monday, October 24, 2011

Walking Tour Canberra

A motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday in Australia means you can cover a lot of ground in comfort, but as a bit of a change from the open road, how about taking a self-guided walking tour of the capital city.

Canberra is the perfect place to get out and walk, as the sights are all within easy reach, and well marked. One of the best was to explore the Anzac Parade, is just that, so we’ll start there.

Looking down Anzac Parade from the Australian War Memorial
Photo by Bidgee, Wikimedia Commons

Start your tour on the steps of the Australian War Memorial, the parade follows Walter Burley Griffin's original 1912 plan of the city with its red gravel central strip, originally made from crushed Canberra house bricks. The bricks were chosen to recreate the crunch of military boots during a parade, and the contrasting walls of Victorian Blue Gum, symbolise the connection with the Anzac’s or the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps'. The walk covers 2.5 Km’s and takes around one and a half hours to complete, during which time you pass memorials to the brave men and women who fought in battles around the world.

The Burley Griffin Walk takes you through parkland and along the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, whilst passing some of the city’s most historic and important sites. The walk covers 5Km’s over flat ground and takes around two and a half hours to complete. Start your tour outside the National Capital Exhibition, where a mosaic in the pavement recreates Burley Griffins city plan, then, turn and walk towards the lake and the R.G Menzies walk, where you will pass The Captain James Cook memorial, terrestrial globe and water jet, which reaches 147 meters high. If you continue to your left you will pass the Canadian flagpole, a gift from the Canadian government made from a single Douglas Fir. Continue through Commonwealth Park to an area known as Gallipoli Reach on the shoreline of the lake. The site symbolises the battle site in Turkey where Anzac forces fought in 1915.

Captain Cook Memorial
Photo by Bidgee, Wikimedia Commons

As you continue along, one of the best lookout spots is from the terraces facing the lake. From here, you can see Capital Hill, the Australian War Memorial, Kings Avenue Bridge, Commonwealth Avenue, and the Parliamentary Triangle. Next is Blundell’s Cottage, a hands on museum, depicting the areas European history before it became the capital of Australia. Further on are the sites of HMAS Canberra, a five tonne anchor and chain, the naval memorial, and the National Carillon located on Aspen Island. The monument, with its 55 bells, was a gift from the British government, to commentate the Canberra’s Golden Jubilee. You then turn south, back to your starting point passing other monuments and gifts made to the city.

Just before you leave, and if you’re particularly fond of gardens, there is a short walk around the gardens of the Old Parliament House. The garden walk is just over 1km, and its paths pass by fragrant rose beds crickets pitches and tennis courts.

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