Have you ever thought about walking the Centenary Trail? The 145km loop was established in 2013 to celebrate Canberra’s Centenary, and passes over our picturesque mountain scapes, rivers, fields and forests. Not only will you see stunning natural scenery, you’ll also explore many of Canberra’s suburbs and the Parliamentary Triangle, discovering hidden gems and visiting iconic cultural institutions along the way.
The Centenary Trail was designed to be walked in 7 separate legs, or biked in 3. However, I’ve designed a plan that tackles walking the trail continuously over 8 days, with recommendations for interesting places to eat and sleep along the way.
The trail is set out with markers that will guide you on your way at the turning points, and maps and more information are available here.
Today we’ll be looking at the 29km leg from Forde to Gold Creek Village via the northern ACT border and One Tree Hill.
You will start at the Mulligan’s Flat carpark, and follow the footpath that runs along Amy Ackman St. Continue straight when the path turns to gravel, and cross Mulligan’s Flat Road. Step through the log barrier and turn right, following along the path with the fence on your right.
After about a kilometre, the path takes you left away form the road, continuing along the fence as you trace the border between the ACT and NSW. As you climb upwards, take the time to check out the display boards and the rocks which were used when the border was originally planned.
Soak in the great views of Canberra and the Brindabellas over the next few kilometres before the trail leads downhill again, taking you to the Northern Border Campground. At the campground you’ll find a toilet and rainwater tank, though keep in mind the water is not recommended for drinking. This is an ideal place for lunch with some shade and picnic tables. Once you’re fed and rested, continue through the gate past the toilet, following the winding dirt path, meeting up with the NSW border line a couple more times before heading back into the shady gum trees.
Continue downhill, following the markers through a handful of gates, winding in and out of the trees and across a paddock, until you pass a house on your right.
Continue along the path around One Tree Hill until you see the bike racks, where you can take a steep right turn to the summit. The journey is short and steep, but worth it for the amazing views of Canberra, the newly forming northern suburbs stretched out below you, as well as the photo op at the Canberra 100 marker!
When you’re ready, head back down and rejoin the trail for a few more kilometres until you emerge in Hall. Continue straight ahead and turn right at Loftus St, past the firehouse turning left onto Victoria St.
Here you can grab an afternoon snack at Daughters of Hall or The Gumnut Café, and make sure you check out the TARDIS too, it’s one of two you’ll find on the Centenary Trail!
Continue along Victoria St until you meet up with Barton Highway, which you will follow South until you reach Gold Creek Village, and the end of the road for today.
If you’re continuing on the track the next day and need accommodation, I stayed at the Gold Creek Tourist Resort which offers basic motel style rooms. There’s also an outdoor pool if you’re keen to take a refreshing dip after that epic day of walking.
For dinner, there are a number of options, but I went with the always classic George Harcourt Inn. The live music and inviting indoor and outdoor areas provide a lovely ambience for a solid, pub-style meal to replace all those calories you burned today.
Happy hiking! Have you walked or biked any of the Centenary Trail? Which part was your favourite?