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Is Canberra safe to run after midnight?

By blmft - 7 January 2012 34


I’ve moved to Canberra recently near the city centre. Due to the nature of my job (and the fact that I cannot get up before 5am…), I would like to go for a run at around 11pm / midnight.

I was considering running around Lake Burley Griffin but some parts of the lake do not seem to be lit up. Is it usually dangerous at night?

What about during weekends? FYI

I am a female of small build in early twenties.

Any other suggestions on safer routes? Thanks.

What’s Your opinion?

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34 Responses to
Is Canberra safe to run after midnight?
Akipk 8:49 pm 07 Jan 12

The 5k bridge run is probably okay, but you really should be careful. I have run in the dark in winter (around 9 or 10pm) around Lake G in Belconnen, Yerrabi Pond (both are dark in places) and around the actual lake, and have been okay. If you can get to run a bit earlier, it is better, and there are some evening groups that you can join, including the Bilbys, where non members can pay around 2 -3 dollars a session to run in a group under lights at Dickson, and Geoff’s group, which is free and is open to anyone, no matter how fast or slow (see By contacting Geoff, he could also put a word out for you to find a running buddy. 🙂

Walker 4:15 pm 07 Jan 12

One area I’d avoid late is the Carillion onwards up the river, most of it a bit of a mozzie jungle at night.

You may find some other runners with similar hours. Around sunset and a while after there’s often joggers skaters riders etc, on the main areas, not sure if there’s any later.

Henry82 3:47 pm 07 Jan 12

Jamie Wheeler said :

you still run the risk of a car full of trouble makers maybe cruising through the area and seeing you. Although there’s not much to do there, troublemakers could go their to drink or muck around in cars. There have been several stories of cars full of thugs cruising Canberra looking for victims.

Generally the track is off the road, although you could probably run into those types near the carillon or BM peninsular? ANU campus seems to attract those cars of trouble makers at night, so possibly avoid that area. I regularly see car clubs meeting down near National Museum, but from what i’ve seen they’re very well behaved and seem to be “older” hobbyists, rather than teen hoons (police patrol too)

If OP wants a good run, running back and forth from civic to parliment house is quite safe. You can also climb the parliament house grass upto the fence (about 2/3rds of the way to the top). Obviously if you cut through civic on a thursday-saturday nights you’re going to meet drunks anyway.

Henry82 3:36 pm 07 Jan 12

I agree with Deye’s post.

Around the lake is fine, but wear a head torch so that cyclists can see you. Imo run with a phone as well, and if you have any issues like feeling sick, don’t leave the track. Personally i’d avoid Black Mountain at Night, imo its a bit too secluded.

deye 2:35 pm 07 Jan 12

I forgot to say, during the day on weekends try the Mt Ainslie track for a different challenge. It starts behind the War Memorial. Just be careful of the surface on the way back down. I have done it at night, but don’t recommend it unless you know the track well and have decent lights. It would be very easy to slip and fall on the way down in the dark. It’s also a little freaky with kangaroos and other creatures in the shadows.

deye 2:18 pm 07 Jan 12

I regularly run or walk up till about 10 – 10:30 at night, I will sometimes be out later than that taking photos. You rarely see other people and they are mostly running/walking themselves and minding their own business. Have a mobile with you, keep an eye out, and don’t have music blasting loudly in your ears and you should be fine. Don’t push yourself to the limit and keep something in reserve in case you need it. That said, I am a fairly tall male so people tend to keep their distance.

Most of the track around the central basin is lit apart from a small section between the lake front of the National Gallery through to Kings Av bridge. A small torch is handy, but not necessary if you are okay with the dark – and under the trees it does get dark. The other part that isn’t lit is Rond Terraces, the small section in front of the War Memorial looking across to Parliament House.

The central basin track is around 5km long and mostly flat, though you can take the side track up Regatta point to put a hill into it. It is probably the safest route you’ll find. Weekends there are likely to be more people out that are not exercising, though they should be fairly noisy and noticeable.

@poetix for stars you are mostly better to go out of town as there is too much light spillage in town – especially for the comet. Again you will very rarely see anyone else. Keep your wits about you and you should be fine. Driving out to one of the look outs out of town and if there is already someone there go to a different one, or stop on the side of a quiet road somewhere would lower the chances even more. Just watch out for the drop bears, kangaroos, wombats and possums that sneak up on you.

Okwhatever 1:48 pm 07 Jan 12

Well I guess it depends how fast you can run!

Jamie Wheeler 1:34 pm 07 Jan 12

I’d be very careful of running alone in Canberra at midnight in a remote locatlity. Although it’s probably unlikely anybody will be around the lake, you still run the risk of a car full of trouble makers maybe cruising through the area and seeing you. Although there’s not much to do there, troublemakers could go their to drink or muck around in cars. There have been several stories of cars full of thugs cruising Canberra looking for victims. You would be a sitting duck that late at night at the lake and nobody would hear you scream. Why not invest in a treadmill? If that’s not the same, try jogging around the streets. I know somebody who used to work late at a restaurant and they used to run laps around their street at 1AM with no problems. Getting a mobile you could take jogging and also have somebody who knows where you are and when you should be back should also help protect you.

arescarti42 1:25 pm 07 Jan 12

I don’t think I can ever recall hearing about an assault around the lake, statistically speaking I would have thought the chances of running in to trouble would be extremely low.

That said if I were you I’d be keeping alert (e.g. not listening to music whilst running) and carrying a mobile phone to get in contact with police if need be.

dpm 12:39 pm 07 Jan 12
dpm 12:35 pm 07 Jan 12

poetix said :

Also, while asking a question like this I would not give specific details of where you want to run and the time. Good luck with the fitness thing!

..or mention that you are a slim 20-somthing girl!

As other prople have said, there’s probably a very low probability of an incident, but not 0%. Even still, I imagine you’d be on edge the whole time so it would be no fun at all.

Perhaps check out one of the 24h gyms in town (I know there’s a least 2). While treadmills are as boring as bat sh#t, you’d be much less stressed the whole time!
Also, winter in Canberra is COLD at midnight, so you’d have to be keen for the outside option for half of the year…..

Bennop 12:22 pm 07 Jan 12

I used to run around LBG at around 3 or 4 am, and the only people I ever (rarely) saw were other early joggers. There are some small unlit areas, but like the other poster said, I think those areas are unlikely to attract crims. Can you imagine how long they would have to wait for a customer! And in all likelihood, if there is going to be anyone “waitin” for you, you will see a car parked nearbye. So you can turn around and jog the other way. Just my 2c.

poetix 12:03 pm 07 Jan 12

Interesting question. Recently I wanted to go star watching (or comet watching) on my own very late at night, but thought better of it as too risky a thing to do. I was half ashamed of myself. Admittedly this was Christmas Eve/Christmas morning so I was very aware there might be drunks around. Perhaps I should just have taken my staffie.

Also, while asking a question like this I would not give specific details of where you want to run and the time. Good luck with the fitness thing!

canberrarunner 11:55 am 07 Jan 12

The lake should be OK but definitely find a running buddy (or an accompanying cyclist) to go with. A torch will help in the unlit parts. I wouldn’t venture through civic too late though. Early morning is better (and cooler).

M0les 11:50 am 07 Jan 12

I think the biggest risk there is being an unfit 50+ male, suffering a heart-attack, falling into a bush and not being found for a fortnight.

That being said, it doesn’t seem like a place that represents good opportunities for muggers. They tend to focus on quiet areas between pubs/clubs and suburbia. Some groups of thugs cruise in cars, scouting for likely victims and intercepting at underpasses (So go over-road where practical). Running and being sober will probably rule you out as being a likely victim though.

The only violent public/stranger sexual assaults I can recall of have happened in Civic and the ANU (But I’m not very mindful of this myself).

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