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Leisurely bike tour of Australia's Canberra.

Leisurely bike tour of Australia's Canberra

Wheatwoolgold and Sydmeladperbrishowere contenders, but in 1913 Canberra won out as the name for the embryonic capital of Australia. Its origin is Aboriginal for "meeting place.'

The winning design scheme, submitted byAmerican Walter Burley Griffin, called for connecting lakes, a grand gesture in the arid interior of the continent. The ceremonial and governmental heart of this growing city of 250,000 centers on the lake named for the city's planner. A leisurely hour-long 4-mile bike loop, passing monumental Canberra, starts near Acton Ferry Terminal.

We set off clockwise. The Regatta PointExhibition is a good first stop and popular tea spot. A film, models, and displays show how Canberra grew out of the bush. Then it's on past an early settler's farmhouse, the bell tower, and, about halfway around, you're in front of the National Gallery, one of the widest-ranging art museums in the country. It presents world art, but not surprisingly the Australian collection is the highlight. For more tea or for lunch, try the restaurant overlooking the sculpture garden. The High Court and National Library are farther on, before you cross the lake back to the starting point. Or continue 11 more miles around the less-developed side of the lake.

Bikes cost $4 U.S. an hour from the lake'sonly renter, Mr. Spokes, near the terminal. On weekends, just show up. Weekdays, reserve by calling 916779. The telephone directory lists other bike rentals spotted in different suburbs along the capital's 70 miles of paved paths. Bike locks are not provided. While inside buildings, we left our bikes outside unlocked--but we worried about them.

One way to get to the lake without a car isin the Canberra Explorer, a shuttle bus that makes hour-long circuits through the city. It makes 24 stops, including most hotels and the Acton Ferry Terminal. Total fare is about $4 U.S.

Photo: Lake spouts in honor of Captain Cook. Along its shore liesthe city's ceremonial heart: the High Court, Carillon Tower, and National Gallery sculpture garden
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:May 1, 1987
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