Ever since I started exploring Canberra and her surrounds, on multiple occasions I have been absolutely blown away by the sheer beauty that is in our backyard. The adventure I am sharing with you today takes that discovery quite literally.
I am willing to bet that each Canberran, new and old, has driven past this hidden gem on multiple occasions without even thinking twice about it. Perhaps your daily commute takes past at a frustratingly slow pace, perhaps you speed past on your way out to dinner or to meet friends. No matter the occasion, what you have missed hiding in plain view is the glorious Mt Painter. Tucked neatly underneath the southern suburbs of Belconnen and right along side William Hovel Dr, I can’t believe I haven’t heard more people raving about this hike.
Without stepping on any toes, I feel I must admit that my allegiance is to the Southside. Growing up in Tuggeranong and Woden before the move out to the farm, my family’s annual trip to Belconnen Mall and Toys R Us at Christmas time was pretty much the only time we crossed the lake. I have come to the conclusion that this must be the reason for my terrible ignorance and lack of knowledge about this gem.
There are a few entrances to the Mount Painter Nature Reserve however I chose to start my journey from Booth Cres, Cook. It can be a little tricky finding the entrance as looks rather like a normal driveway nestled between two lovely houses, however just keep your eyes peeled and you shouldn’t drive past it too many times. Once at the end of the paved path, take a right and the climb begins.
The day I made the hike was quite muggy so I’ll admit that the climb did leave me a little out of breath. On the upside there are glorious views even from the beginning of the track. The path leads you past two big water tanks and halfway up is a lovely flat spot with a welcome bench to take a rest. While you catch your breath you can enjoy the fantastic view of Telstra Tower and beyond. On a good day you can spot Parliament House and see all the way to the mountains of Canberra’s south.
Through a locked gate (which you can climb through), the track continues paved in places with stone steps to climb. It is quite steep however reasonably short with plenty of chances to have a quick stop along the way.
Once you reach the top the effort will be well worth it, 360 degree views of Canberra await you. Honestly, I was completely and pleasantly surprised just how amazing views are. I couldn’t believe that just half an hour earlier I was in Civic surrounded by the bustle of a modern city and now here I was standing on what felt like the top of the world.
This feeling is exactly what I love so much about our beautiful city. And the reason I want to share my adventures. In a world where we are increasingly connected to technology, working long days in the office then spending free time glued to a screen, it is important to not lose sight of the benefits of exercising in the great outdoors
Okay, back to the mountain. The views really are spectacular. There are two different high points from which you can enjoy taking it all in. Both with fabulously helpful boards that show exactly what it is you are looking at off in the distance.
The return walk follows the same path to the top so it’s a quick trip back down.
Discovering Mt Painter has been one of the highlights of my local adventuring so far. I cannot recommend the walk enough. All I have left to say is just this – what are you still reading this for? Go walk, enjoy, and fall in love!
Walking distance: 3km
Walking time: approx. 1 hour (allowing plenty of time for enjoying the views)
Walking grade: Easy/Moderate (the second half of the walk includes a short steep climb including steps)
How to get there:
My starting point was from Booth Crescent, Cook. There is also a easy found entrance from Bussell Crescent, Cook. The entrances can be a little hard to spot as they are located in between the houses and look rather like driveways.