There’s a saying that the best thing about Canberra is that it is so close to everything else – whether it’s the mountains, snow, coast, country or Sydney. This journey lets you experience up close, much that makes Canberra a great starting point. It was a lovely leisurely trip with every type of scenery. Rolling hillside from Braidwood to the top of the Clyde, tight twists and turns down the Clyde and Kangaroo Valley, beautiful forests (I love the cycads down the Clyde and spotted gums around Durras), ocean views at Ulladulla and Husky.
If the views weren’t enough, the delights of spring were in full bloom as we experienced perfumed clouds of Daphne and wisteria in many of the small towns we rode through. After a fabulous feed in Berry (well actually, two – one needs a big breakfast after a feast the night before), we head off to the back roads of the Southern highlands to Goulburn and then along the back of Lake George (with water!) to Bungendore. These are lovely quiet, open, rolling, often tree lined roads that make you question whether you truly are between Australia’s capital and its largest city. It was a great way to see this region.
Unlike the other riders on the M2C tour, I don’t ride a BMW and I normally ride a
smaller bike. The BMW GS650 not only has more oomph than my smaller yet
stylish bike (a virago 535) but is quite a bit taller (always a consideration for me
being somewhat shorter than the 6 foot that I think I am).
Any reservations I had about its height were dispelled within the first few minutes,
the bike was responsive, comfortable and simple to ride. For any out there, whose
comfort zone is both feet on the ground – these bikes take you out of that comfort
zone but very happily so. As BMW riders are sure to tell you (the other 4 riders on
this tour certainly did) – they are a pure delight to ride.
Equipment: You need to bring a valid open motorcycle licence, jeans and sturdy boots. Everything else can be supplied (Jacket, Helmet, Gloves and wet weather gear)
Fishing is popular in the ACT, where the lakes and the Murrumbidgee river below Scrivener Dam (the dam holding the lake in place) are all open for fishing at all times. There are regulations about catching some fish, so check the website below for details - apart from that, get out there and look for that big trout!
If you want something to do on a Monday night, then why not go to the Canberra trots?
The major harness racing venue for the city is situated off Flemington road, in the Showgrounds.
As it happened, we were staying at the Caravan Park in the showgrounds, so we got to watch the races for free!
We were going to go, but in October, the night was VERY COLD, and we didn't have enough warm clothes with us.
In summer, its really nice to go out in the evenings after a hot summer's day.
All Canberra trots events are covered by major bookmakers, on television, radio and local papers.
Its quite a good, cheap, evenings entertainment.
If you're a climber, take your gear with you.
We saw people climbing one of the walls of the national library.
You could see the chalk marks on.
I guess the same way skaters use the street to skate, these people used a public wall.
For something different, you could go hot air ballooning. I’ve put this tip under ‘sport’ because, unlike flying in a plane, when you take a hot air balloon flight there is plenty of opportunity to be involved. This starts off when you help spread out the balloon and maybe help with inflation. The views from aloft, with the early morning light, more than justify the cost and your involvement. When you finally return to earth, there are further opportunities to assist, helping to bundle up the balloon for the next group of travellers. Then it’s back to the start for a champagne breakfast.
Main photo: Travel group enjoying the flight
Second photo: Spreading the balloon out
Third photo: Helping the initial balloon inflation
Fourth photo: Climbing out – what a pity it’s over
Equipment: There are two commercial balloon companies in Canberra, both have been operating safely for many years. They are Dawn Drifters and Balloon Aloft. We travelled with Dawn Drifters, but I expect both offer similar services. Yes, both provide all the equipment that's needed!
Dawn Drifters www.dawndrifters.com.au (02) 6285 4450
Balloon Aloft www.balloon.canberra.net.au (02) 6285 1540
There are weekend activities upon the lake and one of the most notable is canoeing or kayaking or dragon boating.
It was a bit hard not to notice them as I walked across the bridge towards Parliament House. The dragon boat thing is something that has caught on in Australia in most cities where there is a body of water so these days it has become quite competitive.
A friend of mine does it and they test you out individually by putting you in the boat as a solo paddler with only a sweep to guide you and to balance the boat so you don't fall in. Then your time is taken over a set course to determine just how good you are.
Equipment: Mmm, rather obviously, you'll need a boat!
This is a very popular day's family outing on weekends for Canberra residents, many of whom also can be seen at lunchtime on weekdays jogging on the paths around the lake. Allow two hours for the full cycle trip around the lake, which not only is scenic, but will give you a good view of many of the national buildings and monuments.
Equipment: As a tourist, you probably do not have a bicycle with you - this is not a concern, because you can hire one. And, if you are travelling together, you also can hire family bikes, tandems and child seats. The firm hiring bicycles is called Mr Spokes.
Whether travelling to Canberra for work or pleasure, Canberra is certainly the Running Capital of Australia.
A series of trails and nature parks link and surround all urbanised areas of the city, and are readily accessible. There is also a network of 'bike paths' for shared pedestrian and non motorised cycle use.
Also for a city of this size, organised runs are available most weekends with the ACT Cross Country Club and the Mountain Running Group, as well as events such as the Canberra Marathon in April, the Half Marathon in May and the Canberra Times Fun Run in September.
Most lunchtimes have a handicap event over around 5 or 6 kilometres.
Equipment: It can be hot in summer, although the evenings are still fairly cool. It is often best to run in the morning and wear light clothing.
Winters can be cold overnight, and take time to warm up, however long sleeve tops are usually sufficient if running in the warmer part of the day.
Biking around Lake Burley Griffen looks like an excellent way to get fit as it has good Paths all the way around it.
Equipment: A bike or roller blades or just walk.
We are in Canberra the capital of Australia...June 2013. In 2010 my daughter and I stayed 2 nights...more
The Hyatt Hotel is situated in a lovely position beside the lake and within close proximity to the...more
It was a pleasant time we had there over-all, despite the fact the hotel was undergoing renovations....more