A large percentage of the wonderful walks in and around Canberra are located in National Parks and therefore not dog friendly. There are however a great number of spots that do allow you to bring your furry friends along and today I am going to share with you one of my favourites.
This walk is rather sneaky. If you didn’t know it was there then you would likely never find it! Starting in the suburbs before heading off track through the Curtin Horse Paddocks and back around across the Curtin Playing Fields, it has many off leash opportunities for pups plus great views for the non four-legged traveller.
There is plenty of free parking at Curtin shops which is the easiest place to leave your car. Head off across the pedestrian crossing on Strangways Street and down the paved driveway. On your left will be Ron Reynolds Training Centre. There is a concrete path heading west which you follow all the way to the horse paddocks. There are a few forks in the path however it’s easy to keep straight and on the right track.
The off leash area starts once you are into the grassed area and my pups had a wonderful time exploring the wonders of unfamiliar territory. Many houses do back on to this path however, so please ensure that if you do let your dog’s off, they are well behaved enough to keep out of the back gardens. The path will also take you under Carruthers St via an underpass so make sure you stick straight and don’t let your pups up near the road.
Once you reach the top of the path you come to a dirt track T junction. Continue straight through the timbers of a locked gate. This takes you into the horse paddocks. On my latest trip the grass was quite long so finding the track down was a little tricky however it is fine to bush bash your way down until it becomes clear enough to see the marked trail. The day I went was also very hot so we took a moment to let the boys have a rest in the shade and enjoy the views over the Brindabellas.
At the bottom of the hill you will come to another gate to move through and cross over a little creek. At the creek crossing we encountered a most unwelcome surprise, the greatly feared brown snake… After quickly herding the dogs away I decided it was time to pop them back on the lead and to send my companion out in front to keep an eye out for any more snakes lurking along the track.
To your right you will see a little gate which once you push through takes you along another track parallel to the creek. It’s a lovely walk all the way down along the creek with fantastic views across the horse paddocks and off over the mountains in the distance. The path is easy to follow although a little overgrown on my recent visit.
After about 1km you will see another bridge crossing the creek and then leading to gate. Interestingly, I noticed that on the bridge was a sign warning that there is video surveillance in use in the area. A little odd considering I felt as though we were quite in the middle of nowhere…
Through the gate you follow the fence line all the way to the top of the paddock which at this high vantage point really gives a great view. You can see into Molonglo Valley and across to the Arboretum. Through one last gate you are back into Curtin itself. There is a paved path that follows the perimeter of the suburb and takes you back down through most welcome shady gumtrees and onto Curtin Playing Fields.
Depending on the day and the time of your walk, if you’re lucky the playing fields may just be empty. If that is the case it’s a great place to let the dogs off their leads once again and let them run wild. The fields are big enough that as long as you keep your pup in sight they shouldn’t stray too close to any roads. Of course it is very important that you clean up any parcels they may drop on the oval.
Once across the playing fields it’s a straight walk up McCulloch St back to the shops. It’s worth mentioning that Curtin Shops have a number of lovely little cafes that are dog friendly, I would recommend a nice cool drink and a slice of cake to complement this walk.
Walking distance: approx. 5km
Walking time: approx. 1.5 hrs
Walking grade: Easy
How to get there:
Starting and finishing at Curtin shops, best parking is in the carpark at the rear of the shops off Strangways St.