20 April 2016

Mt Ainslie, my favourite capital hike

| Lisa Martin
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When was the last time you walked up Mt Ainslie? Even though it’s so close to the city and I see it every day on my way to and from work, it’s been a while.

When I first moved to Canberra and started working on improving my fitness, I was heading up Mt Ainslie most weekends and often weeknights during the summer months after work.

I’m not much of a gym goer for the cardio side of things so walking up Mt Ainslie and running around Lake Burley Griffin was a much more fun way to work on getting fit than running on a treadmill.

Eventually I moved my walks over to Mt Majura and then started branching out all across the ACT after growing bored of the Mt Ainslie walk and no longer feeling challenged.

But with a brilliant spring day dawning on Sunday and being stuck in Canberra on call for work, I thought I’d head up Mt Ainslie once again and reacquaint myself with the area.

It was a beautiful walk up with the bright yellow wattle contrasting against the majestic grey eucalyptus gums, and I saw a lot of beautiful crimson rosellas hanging around the wattle. I took my time heading up to admire the views and enjoy the sunshine.


I’ve seen it many times before, but I still enjoy the view from up the top across the lake and over to Old Parliament House and the current Parliament House following the well-defined red line of Anzac Parade.

As usual, there were a lot of people walking up Mt Ainslie, both locals and tourists alike, and many people with dogs.


Mt Ainslie is my go to viewpoint to show Canberra to visitors. I think it’s the best viewpoint of the city to show the layout of Canberra. It’s easy to access by foot or car and I’ve never had any trouble getting a park.


I realised while I was up the mountain that it’s also been a while since I made a visit to the Australian War Memorial, and also I haven’t visited the National Portrait Gallery since my first week in Canberra in 2013. I admit that I get complacent having these eminent national attractions in my backyard but should make more of an effort to revisit these sites over the coming months.

Now that spring is here (although I’m waiting for the onset of that week or two of cold again as usually happens in the first half of the season) I expect a lot of people will be out and about enjoying the many natural and cultural assets of Canberra.

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I live near the foot of Mount Ainslie. Some days it’s almost a traffic jam on the path, especially in the narrower sections.

Very popular, and rightly so. The view opens out as one approaches the summit, there are birds and animals to see, and the changing seasons bring different flowers and blooms into view. Some flowers are tiny. Gang-gangs may be often heard on the lower path, and noisy miners near the picnic area have become very used to humans. In the early light, kangaroos can be seen, and I’ve sometimes come down in the twilight and been startled by them as they make their way off the mountain to graze on the War Memorial lawns.

The steepest parts are about a fifth of the way up, near the “Brigade Hill” plaque and the steps above the expose rock slope near the top are a final challenge. The bulk of the track is a pleasant stroll, really.

The various plaques and lookouts break up the trek, and photo opportunities abound.

Best feature? The water bubbler at the summit!

Holden Caulfield8:31 pm 15 Oct 15

Yesterday after work for me. 🙂

I did the Mt Tennent walk probably about 12 months ago. Agree, it’s a great hike with spectacular views. Camel’s Hump is also a great one I’ve found which I write about in an upcoming article.

Have you done the Mt Tennent walk ? Highly recommended.

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