Circumnavigating the Coombs Peninsula

Molonglo River, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, Canberra

There was much hype about the bike path around the edge of the suburb, along the Molonglo River. The good news is that Stage 1 is finished. The community path through the Stage 2 area is progressing but not yet completed.

Coombs lies in the Molonglo Valley on a tight river bend. It looks a bit like a peninsula. The Suburban Land Agency has completed the first stage of the bike path circumnavigating the peninsula. This agency is responsible for ACT estate developments, and the Molonglo Valley is a big one. Coombs has been finished for years but the bike paths were never completed around the edges of the suburb. In the ACT, cycling infrastructure often comes last after a long wait.

Coombs Stage 2 - Construction Update January 2020, Suburban Land Agency, ACT, Australia
Coombs Stage 2 – Construction Update January 2020, Suburban Land Agency
Building site, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, Canberra
Start of the management trail. Fences protecting the grass and building site back in April 2020, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, Canberra

The paths

There is now three types of community paths that wind their way beside Weston Creek Pond and crisscross. The downside of this design is that cyclists have to zigzag their way through without any directional signage to guide them. The easiest is to follow the gravel management trail to Weston Creek Pond (cannot be missed) from the Molonglo River end.

Three paths:

  • The 2m concrete leads past a small playground.
  • The asphalt path could be thought of as a “shared bike path”. It has a centre line marking and is lit as well. It will eventually connect to Stage 2.
  • The 3m gravel management trail runs from the road (gated) along the length of the creek and provides truck access to protect the grass, trees and other paths.
North end, Stage 1, Coombs Peninsula bike path
North end, Stage 1, Coombs Peninsula bike path. Source: video screenshot, ACT Suburban Land Agency.
South end, Stage 1, Coombs Peninsula bike path
South end, Stage 1, Coombs Peninsula bike path. Source: video screenshot, ACT Suburban Land Agency.

Facilities in Coombs

Facilities at Coombs are still being built. The shopping centre is closed. The small playground is finished and the construction of the much larger Coombs Play Space on the other side of the peninsular is planned. Both playgrounds will not have toilets.

The gravel network

Some may wonder why Coombs. Coombs is the crossroads between the north and south side of the Molonglo River. Both the Canberra Centenary Trail and Bicentennial National Trail pass through here. For the gravel rider, the river crossing in Coombs is the most direct route between Stromlo Forest Park, the National Arboretum, Black Mountain, and Bruce Ridge. The route is currently blocked by the Stage 2 building site. Additionally, there is a recreational route running along the Molonglo River here.

Molonglo River, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, Canberra
Molonglo River crossing, Coombs, Molonglo Valley, Canberra

On the other side of the Weston Creek Pond is a Major Community Route (CBR Cycle Route C5) between Civic and Woden. Until John Gordon Bridge is finished in 2024, this is the only paved off-road bike path to the northside from Weston Creek.

West side, Existing management trails, Molonglo River Reserve Management Plan, page 93
West side, Existing management trails, Molonglo River Reserve Management Plan, page 93

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