Canberra’s winter can be harsh, but often, foggy mornings will turn into splendid sunny days that are perfect for getting into the outdoors while the sunlight lasts.
Sometimes there are days where a day trip is just too hard, and you’d rather stay close to home. Fortunately, the capital has abundant walks right in the suburbs that offer magnificent scenery, fresh crisp air, great views and a decent workout at the same time.
There’s something suitable for just about everyone, so get your walking shoes on and check out what’s on offer.
Our top six walks
1. Central Basin
Kick off your stroll around the central part of Lake Burley Griffin at any point between Kings Avenue Bridge and Commonwealth Bridge. It’s flat the entire way and there are plenty of sights to see including Blundell’s Cottage and the National Gallery. Drop into Bookplate for a drink or snack – it’s a lovely spot to soak up the views. The 5 km walk should take around an hour if you don’t stop or take any detours.
2. Mt Ainslie Summit Trail (Kokoda Track)
This is a more challenging walk but the views when you get to the top of Mt Ainslie are worth it. It is less than 5 km but the track rises quickly from behind the Australian War Memorial. It’s a good spot to sight birds, and often some kangaroos and lizards. Stop along the way and take in the breathtaking views and check out the plaques that commemorate the Kokoda Track. There’s also a memorial to Aboriginal soldiers.
3. Australian National Botanic Gardens
The Australian National Botanic Gardens have plenty of paths to explore. Weave your way past a 335-hectare collection of plants right at the base of Black Mountain. How hard or how long you walk is up to you, but you’re guaranteed a stunning garden setting and there are plenty of discoveries to be made.
4. Cork Oaks Forest, Arboretum
While most of the trees at the Arboretum were planted within the last few years, the Cork Oaks Forest is over a hundred years old. It’s the perfect place to take a wander through the mature trees and kids will have fun exploring the short loops. It’s only a brief uphill walk to the Wide Brown Land sculpture nearby. Keep an eye out for the Arboretum’s events, holiday programs and guided walks.
5. Mt Taylor
Mt Taylor is one of the Southside’s hidden treasures, and you’re guaranteed spectacular vistas over Woden, Tuggeranong and the Brindabellas from the top of the mountain. There are often kangaroos to be seen hopping around, as well as plenty of other flora and fauna. Start off at either Sulwood Drive in Kambah or Waldock Street in Chifley. Car parking is available at both points.
6. Lake Tuggeranong
You can ride your bike around the almost 7 km Lake Tuggeranong loop in about half an hour, or stroll around the mostly flat paths in under two hours. The beautiful waterside location is pram friendly and there are often water birds to find in the reeds. There are birds like rosellas and ducks and swans in sight. You’ll find little beaches, picnic areas and playgrounds, and there is good signage so you can check your progress.
- Distance from Canberra: All of the walks listed are within half an hour’s drive from most parts of Canberra
- More information: Take a hike – exploring Canberra’s bush tracks or Visit Canberra: Walking
What is your favourite walk in the Canberra region?