Last month Lisa Martin asked for your suggestions for new Canberra hiking trails to test out. In the second of her trail reviews based on reader recommendations, she tries the Molonglo Gorge trail.
My first impression is that Molonglo Gorge is a hidden gem in the Canberra region – I wouldn’t have known about it except for a few RiotACT readers pointing out its existence.
This hike is located about a 15 minute drive from Civic, located between the airport and Queanbeyan. Coming from Civic, you head past the airport and the paintball grounds until you reach Sutton Road (it’s also not far from Queanbeyan). A short way down Sutton Road is the Molonglo Gorge turnoff, then after a bit of gravel you turn right just before the Kowen Forest sign to get to the trail’s starting point.
The road is part gravel, part bitumen and a whole lot of speed bumps down to the carpark and the starting point. There are toilets located in the picnic area as well as a couple of tables and a playground.
On a crisp Saturday morning I set out with my newest hiking buddy, Michael. Though it was cold to start, it wasn’t long before we started to warm up.
I wouldn’t stay the hike is hard. There are some uphill bits but they’re not that steep or long. Probably the first few hundred metres has the steepest parts and there are a few sections where you’re just climbing over rocks – make sure you wear good shoes. I would also recommend wearing long pants as there are a few sections where the path is not as defined and a few shrubs are growing over it.
The path is fairly narrow in most parts, but many sections with a steep drop on one side have a hand rail running along it as well for safety reasons I’m guessing.
The path follows the Molongo River most of the time but it becomes very quiet when you move even a little away from the river.
My friend and I walked up to the Blue Tiles picnic area – a relatively easy 3km walk one way which took us around 45 minutes. There are picnic tables here too and a nice view of the river.
My friend – who confessed he wasn’t sure if he liked hiking having not really done it before – found this an easy walk and said he enjoyed it. It took us under two hours return.
There are great views around every turn (my photos don’t do it justice) and it’s beautiful in the early morning with the soft light. In the early sections of the walk you’re right next to the water, then as you climb you get sweeping views over the gorge.
I would consider this a must do for Canberra residents or somewhere to take visitors to, especially if you’re short on time considering its location. I’m surprised it wasn’t busier – the only people we saw were a group of scouts.
I did however see a few cars parked near the Kowen Forest sign. Can RiotACT readers help me out with the trails that exist in that area?