From the beginning of this year I went on an unintentional quest to discover some of Canberra’s best walking tracks and in the process have found beautiful places and scenery barely a stones throw away from my front door. Now that I have done a few of these walks (I still have more to try out) I thought it was time to share some of my favourites. Don’t let the winter months deter you from trying these out, go in the middle of the day on the weekend when it is a little chilly but more then likely the sun is shining.
Shepherd’s lookout is a hidden gem within Canberra and one of my favourite places to go walking. I love the stunning view from the top and that you can walk right down to the river and back or if you are really adventurous you can walk all the way to Uriarra Crossing. The walk to the actual viewing platform is relatively easy however the track down to the river can be a little rough and is quite strenuous on the way back – it takes a little over an hour to go from top to bottom depending on where you decide to stop and turn around. A beautiful place to discover and my favourite place to take visitors to say look how amazing this city is – seriously this view is a 20 minute drive from the city centre.
Lake Burley Griffin
Ok, ok the bridge to bridge walk around Lake Burley Griffin is probably one of the most popular and well know walks in Canberra with the Lake being the centrepiece of the city but it still makes my list. I can’t help but walk around the lake and feel refreshed, happy and grateful to live in such a beautiful place. To spice it up try walking from Commonwealth bridge to the National Museum or start near Nara Park and just pick a random direction, sunset in summer is my favourite time to be at Nara Park.
Mt Painter is a ten minute drive from my house and I can’t believe that I didn’t know it existed until a couple of months ago. It is a relatively quick walk and there is a part where you think you might be at the top but then you see actualy Mt Painter still ahead and whilst it is only a slight incline the view is amazing. Lake Burley Griffin on one side and then the Brindabella’s on the other – just stunning.
I really wish that I made it out to Namadgi National Park more often, you kind of feel as though you have escaped to a whole new world when you get out there and there are so many different walks to enjoy. My favourite at the moment is Square Rock, the walk to the top is probably a little over an hour and you just don’t feel like you are getting very high but then you get to Square Rock climb the ladder to the top and the park is at your feet, it is so breathtaking. It is also close to Corin Forest bobsled and Gibraltor Falls so it is worth making a day of it. Beroomba Rocks is next on my list so we will see if that surpasses Square Rock.
The Pinnacle is another nature reserve within the Belconnen area not far from Mt Painter. It is a lot flatter then Mt Painter (in fact I feel that the actual Pinnacle is a little underwhelming) but the area as a whole is beautiful and you really feel like you have stepped out of the city and into bushland. There are a couple of different walking tracks to choose from – I kind of just made my own way around the loop, going off track to explore different bits and pieces. It took me about an hour to make my way around the loop including stopping to take lots of photos.
Umbagong District Park
This is probably another little Canberra secret and what I consider the ‘Central Park’ of Belconnen (yup I went there). Umbagong is 50 hectares of open space surrounded by a number of Belconnen suburbs. Ginninderra creek trickles through the middle and there are loads of lovely footbridges, bbq areas, playgrounds and generally lots of nooks and crannies to explore. My advice is to park, find a track and just start walking to see where you end up. It is pretty flat and a great walk for people of all abilities.
As a final tip I constantly use Tara’s reviews of different walks to figure out where I am going to go next – check out her much more detailed reviews if you want more Canberra walking information.