Can’t leave the local area? Here are the best walking tracks near you

Dominic Giannini 8 September 2021 17
Canberra city skyline.

See Canberra differently and get some fresh air, too. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Canberra’s still living under lockdown, but restrictions have eased a little, so if you’re fed up with walking the same streets or want to avoid crowds at some of Canberra’s more popular walks, here are some trails and tracks in your local area that provide spectacular views over the city, scenic strolls through bushland and some reprieve from your house.


Starting from the top of the ACT, there are a few local options for people around Gungahlin. The One Tree Hill lookout near the ACT-NSW border in Hall provides hikers with a spectacular view over Canberra’s north with glimpses of Telstra Tower and the city in the background.

Hikers can access the start of the 8.4 km trail at the corner of Hoskins Street and Hall Street.

Mulligans Flat has two walking tracks – the full 11-kilometre circuit or the 5 km Little Mulligans circuit north of the first trail. Those who want to do the full circuit can start the walk from the car park entry for the Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve bird walk, while people can start the shorter circuit from the car park just off Mulligans Flat Road in Forde.

The even shorter Northern Campground trail starts from the edge of Bonner and Forde and has a full view of the Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve. Hikers can utilise a few different options along the 3.1 km track, which forms part of the 145 km Canberra Centenary Trail.


Shepherd’s Lookout to the west of Hawker and Holt provides a nice reprieve away from some of Canberra’s more frequented trails. The Woodstock Nature Reserve walk reveals an impressive view along the Murrumbidgee. Hikers can also look out for the ACT-NSW border marked by power lines over the river, 3 km downstream.

The walk can be accessed from the parking area 3 km down from the last traffic island on Stockdill Drive.

The Mount Painter Nature Reserve in Cook, the West Belconnen Pond in Dunlop and the Pinnacle Nature Reserve just south of Hawker and Weetangera also provide other options for scenic walks in the local area.

Inner north

The Mount Ainslie track is a Canberra staple, with the trailhead located in Remembrance Park behind the Australian War Memorial.

The 4.5 km trail provides hikers will a stunning lookout over the city and a direct view of Parliament House, making it one of Canberra’s most popular walks and tourist destinations.

The Arboretum, also located in Canberra’s inner north, is another popular spot, especially heading into spring.

READ ALSO: Loud bangs notwithstanding, Canberra is the best city in the world to nod off in

But with both walking trails being some of the most frequented in Canberra, those looking for solitude during lockdown might want to try some paths less travelled.

The Mount Majura circuit is one such track, and it can also be joined with the Mount Ainslie trail for those looking for a more traditional Canberra walk.

Inner south

The Bridge to Bridge walk and Red Hill lookout are some of the inner south’s better-known trails and walking destinations.

Weston Park, while popular, has lots of nooks along Lake Burley Griffin as well as picnic and recreational areas – although some public facilities are closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Isaacs Ridge Nature Reserve, just south of the Mount Mugga Mugga Nature reserve, also provides some fantastic views over the Woden and Tuggeranong valleys.

Weston Creek

The Cooleman Ridge walking track in Chapman offers Canberrans a shorter stroll, with the track running just 3.6 km, but all of the stunning views over the city that some of the longer tracks provide.

Those looking for a longer trail in the area can add the Mount Arawang Summit walk, which is also in the Cooleman Ridge Nature Reserve, or can reach the 1.3 km summit separately if they prefer.

Further west, the Murrumbidgee Discovery trail stretches the river, with the full track hitting 27 kilometres. It traverses the Point Hut Crossing in the south, the Kambah Pool and Casuarina Sands to the north.

Gorges and cascading waters along the trail offer nice resting spots for hikers looking to cool their feet after a strenuous walk.

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The most central and easily accessible trail in Canberra’s south would probably be the Tuggeranong Hill Nature Reserve. The 3 km summit provides views over the 365-hectare reserve in the Tuggeranong Valley.

There are numerous public access points into the reserve across Theodore and Conder.

The Theodore Hills summit just down from Tuggeranong Hill also provides some spectacular views over the valley. While the 3 km is not a particularly long walk, the hill is consistently steep.

The Tuggeranong Pines and the Old Railway Loop can add variety and history to your stroll, revealing the old railway lines that ran between Queanbeyan and Cooma in Canberra’s early years.

What's Your Opinion?

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17 Responses to Can’t leave the local area? Here are the best walking tracks near you
David Douglas David Douglas 3:51 pm 13 Sep 21

So many people walking around atm.

Alison Jones Alison Jones 9:40 pm 12 Sep 21

Not sure the Murrumbidgee River discovery track is possible as both Cotter and Kambah Pool are closed:

Anita Morris Anita Morris 6:30 pm 10 Sep 21

Kelly Alomes red hill would be good

TimboinOz TimboinOz 4:24 pm 10 Sep 21

I do think John Moullis deserves a reply regarding Mt Taylor. You are a reporter and you left out one od the most popular nature-reserve walking and climbing venues.

A good way would be to walk it, from the West side and the South side. The views are very good and at the top you can almost see the Northern end of urban Canberra!

And, Juts by the way?! ‘Bored of’ is meaningless and a sloppy error for someone who is a professional writer. ‘Bored by’ is as short and ‘bored with’ hardly any longer.

I’m not bored with – ‘bored of’ – I am pissed-off by it!

😉 and 🙂

John Moulis John Moulis 3:42 pm 10 Sep 21

No mention of Mount Taylor. If you would like information about the jewel in the crown of Woden and Tuggeranong, read my article (uncredited) on Wikipedia.

    TimboinOz TimboinOz 4:07 pm 10 Sep 21

    Just a TEENY point. ‘Bored of’ may be in common usage, but

    It isn’t correct grammar.

    It is ugly and ignorant and makes its users look ignorant,

    ‘Bored by’ is as easy to type, and ‘bored with’ not that hard either!

    Could you please drop using it?!


    TimboinOz TimboinOz 4:08 pm 10 Sep 21

    Sorry I was aiming at the originating poster.

harcm harcm 8:58 am 10 Sep 21

I don’t know where the “don’t leave your local area ” idea has come from but it is not a rule. If you read the actual health orders there is no mention of staying in your area. Yes, it might be a good idea to limit your movements around the city, but it’s not enforceable. So, going somewhere where there are fewer people is preferable to staying local and in a crowd.

    buzz819 buzz819 3:42 pm 10 Sep 21

    It says it pretty clearly on the Lockdown in the ACT restrictions page. 2 hours of excercise in your region.

    Essential reasons you can leave your home during this lockdown include:

    to buy essential groceries and medicine
    to access essential healthcare including in-home care
    for essential work
    to exercise outdoors for two hours per day in your region
    to get a COVID-19 test
    to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

    I dunno, maybe they mean the Southern Hemisphere, or our solar system, maybe even the milkyway? I reckon though, the regions are Gungahlin, Belconnen, Woden and Tuggeranong.

    harcm harcm 4:11 pm 10 Sep 21

    buzz819 if you read my post I referred to the health orders. It is called Public Health (Lockdown Restrictions) Emergency Direction 2021 (No 7) and can be found here: Part 1 A 2d says that you can leave your home for physical activity outdoors. It then goes on to mention the 2 hour limit and the number of people you can be with. NO mention of local areas. As I say, this has crept in but is not part of the actual document.

    buzz819 buzz819 8:17 pm 10 Sep 21

    You clearly asked where it came from, I clearly pointed out where it came from.

Acton Acton 10:01 pm 09 Sep 21

Here in Gungahlin, Mulligan’s Flat with its native wildlife and distant views keeps us sane.

Susanne Gardiner Susanne Gardiner 9:34 pm 09 Sep 21

Mind you, when going the same path frequently you can observe how the landscape is changing in spring.

bj_ACT bj_ACT 9:24 pm 09 Sep 21

We love the base of Red Hill but on the Deakin and Hughes side.

Claire Cat Claire Cat 9:21 pm 09 Sep 21

You forgot the beloved satellite suburb of Queanbeyan guys!

Futureproof Futureproof 4:42 pm 09 Sep 21

Meanwhile Constable Plod waits in ambush

Capital Retro Capital Retro 3:15 pm 09 Sep 21

I’m glad you left out the best walk in Tuggeranong Valley because it is already overcrowded with non-locals.

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