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.
In fact, the Centenary Trail is so terrific, it’s recently received the Cultural Heritage Award for excellence in 2016 ACT Landscape Architecture Awards.
The trail was designed to be walked in 7 separate legs, or biked in 3. However, I’ve made 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 Gold Creek to the AIS.
There there are plenty of options in Gold Creek Village if you want grab a meal before you head off for the day. I had breakfast at Injoy, which is a simple family-style cafe offering all of your breakfast staples with a nice view of the outdoor pond. The meals are fantastic value with many items priced well below $20, while the serving sizes remain very generous.
Before you hit the trail, be sure to spend some time checking out the family attractions the village has to offer, from The National Dinosaur Museum (my favourite!) and Cockington Green to the Walk in Aviary and the old timey candy store.
After checking out some attractions, follow the trail behind the Dinosaur Museum, parallel to the Barton Highway, continuing along until you meet Ginninderra Creek. Here you will cross the bridge and loop down beneath the Highway to join the creek for a couple of kilometres until it flows into Lake Ginninderra. Take some time here to enjoy a picnic break in John Knight park (where there are bubblers available) or grab a drink or snack at Haha Bar, which has the best view of the lake as well as one of the tastiest menus in Belconnen. I had the Frosty Fruit mocktail which tasted exactly as advertised and was the perfect refreshing antidote for a tired body on a hot day of walking.
After you’ve refilled your tank, continue past the skate park and CISAC, turning left on the far side of College St. Follow the trail along the road (hugging the fence line for a slightly more pleasant and less noisy walk) until you get to the dirt trail just before Radford. Take this rich, red dirt track up along Gossan Hill (which Radford students will remember as the infamous ‘Heartbreak Hill” from our Cross Country running events). Keep to the path which will flatten out somewhat as the gum trees thicken up to create a pleasant, shady path for you. Once you pop out the other side of the trees at Haydon drive, you will turn right for a short while before crossing the road and back-tracking back towards the AIS. Follow the markers around Bruce Stadium (and if you’re lucky like I was, you might even hear the crowds from the stadium cheering you on for the home stretch of your walk!).
Shortly you will meet up with the marker at the front of the basketball stadium and swimming pool, where we started on the first leg of the Centenary Trail. This signals the end of a 145km journey, covering the Territory from top to bottom and tackling four mountains in the process! Congratulations!
If you haven’t checked them out yet, you can see the full list of Centenary Trail legs below, all of which are walkable in daily instalments:
Have you walked any of the Centenary Trail yet? With the weather warming up, it’s the perfect time to venture out and discover the hidden gems of Canberra’s longest walking trail!