Launch sites for Kayaks, Canoes, SUPs and other watercraft
A dry summer saw a significant drop in the level of Lake Burley Griffin but things are back to normal after some good rain and around its 40+ kms of shoreline are plenty of publicly accessible places to launch your craft. Below are some you might like to try. Above are photos of the locations. Not included are commercial operators listed here and Rowing Clubs around the lake, which are for members only. Full details are at Rowing ACT and new members are always welcome.
Molonglo Reach - next to the Burley Griffin Canoe Club - there is a small pontoon and a section of sandy riverbank for easy launch of canoes, kayaks and SUPs. The area also has public toilets, picnic tables and parking.
Grevillea Park (between The Boathouse restaurant and Capital Lakes Rowing Club). - A long sandy stretch of shoreline with parking. There is also a ramp for launching powerboats or sail boats.
Kingston Foreshore – this is Canberra’s only absolute waterfront residential development. Although there is no shore as such, since retaining walls were necessary to create the area’s boat harbour and surrounding waterfront, a small jetty was included in the design. This is adjacent to the “Walt & Burley” restaurant and bar and easily accessible for residents and visitors and includes a couple of racks to stow kayaks. Also, a second floating jetty is under construction as part of the Sapphire apartment complex to be completed later this year.
Bowen Park - A small jetty suitable for kayaks/SUPs just near the new ‘On Lake Café’. There is free parking and public toilets nearby.
Aspen Island A small beach adjacent to the National Carillon. Access is via a footbridge. There is paid parking through the week and free on the weekends (please check signs for details). There are picnic tables and public toilets nearby.
Commonwealth Place – A curved wet dock located on Queen Elizabeth Terrace between the Segway hire shop and Elixir Café.
Regatta Point - Centrally located but a bit of a hike from the carpark. There is a jetty and small gravel beach. This is where you could hire paddle boats last summer.
Henry Rolland Park – Opened in 2018, this section of waterfront has been developed to include barbecue and picnic facilities, outdoor fitness equipment, lawn areas for play or relaxation. The park is also connected to a brand new 150m boardwalk that has two timber jetties and a wet dock for canoe and kayak access.
New Acton - Small ramp and gravel beach adjacent to the jetty and site of the original paddle boat hire and lake cruise business. This just along the shore from Henry Rolland Park. Soon to be redeveloped but for the moment there is parking and public toilets nearby.
Lotus Bay - This is along the bay from the Canberra Yacht Club and Canberra Dragon Boat Association and has a wooden jetty and ramp for sailboats and powerboats and a sandy beach for kayaks, canoes, and SUPs. There is restaurant, bar and facilities (for members) at the Southern Cross Yacht Club restaurant as well as public toilets nearby and ample parking.
Acton Peninsula – A jetty and small sand/gravel area on the western side behind the National Museum of Australia.
Yarralumla Beach - Yarralumla Beach is a popular location on the southern shoreline of Lake Burley Griffin. Close to the suburb of Yarralumla it is popular with swimmers, and ideal for kayaks and other small craft. West Lake to the north is popular with wind surfers. Yarralumla Beach has a generous sandy beach, designated swimming enclosure with swimming platforms, ample free parking, toilets and barbecues. It is 15 minutes from the city centre of Canberra.
Yarralumla Bay – Yarralumla Bay is a busy hub of watercraft activities situated on the south west shores of Lake Burley Griffin. Several rowing and sailing clubs are situated on both sides of the bay. Kayaks and stand-up paddle boards can be hired from the YMCA Paddle Hub on the eastern side of the bay.
Orana Bay – This is the next bay to the west of Yarralumla Bay. There is a public jetty on the eastern shore and a boat ramp.
Black Mountain Peninsula - A prominent bushland area on the north-western section of the lake, accessible by road with playgrounds, walking paths and picnic areas with BBQs and facilities. Home to several rowing clubs with a beach and boat ramps and several pontoons on the western side.
Weston Park East - sheltered bay and designated swimming beach, protected from the prevailing north westerly winds. Located on the shores of Tarcoola Reach, this area has a swimming enclosure with pontoons, a generous beach, BBQ’s, toilets and parking.
Kurrajong Point – Located at the end of the Weston Park peninsula with a sandy beach and parking for around 20 vehicles.
Weston Park West - Looking towards the rowing lanes, Weston Park West is a great location for spectators to watch rowing events which are held along Yarramundi Reach. Weston Park offers a large playground, barbeques, picnic facilities, ample parking and toilets and is only 20 minutes from the centre of Canberra. There are a few floating pontoons and accessible areas for launching kayaks and SUPs.
Acacia Inlet - Located at the northern end of the long stretch of water between Yarramundi Reach and Weston Park West is a small jetty and fixed long concrete dock. They are mainly used for rowers during time trials and competitions but if there are no events being held then they can be used to launch kayaks, canoes, SUPs etc.
I've only discovered the joys of kayaking in the past decade and currently use a "Quest 10" (manufactured by Canadian company, Riot). It provides an ideal platform to photograph lake landscapes, the occasional event on the water and other items of interest. Needless to say, kayaking is also a great way to keep fit.