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Walking the Centenary Trail in 8 days: Watson to Forde

By Heather Lansdowne - 2 July 2016 0

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.

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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 interested 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 on the TAMS website.

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Today we’ll be looking at the 17km leg from Watson to Forde via Mulligans Flat Nature Sanctuary.

You will start at the rest area on the Federal Highway, near the Ibis motel. Follow the trail markers for a while until you pass through the underpass and through a series of gates.

Follow the markers along the dirt track through the fields of grass and gum trees. When you meet the gravel track, take a right and follow the trail past a number of dams. After this you will find a fence to your right, which marks the border between the ACT and NSW. Follow the fence for about a kilometre until you come to the entrance to Mulligans Flat nature reserve. Head through the gate and continue on until you see the large fenced-in Woodland Sanctuary. Enter through the gate (don’t forget to close it behind you!) and continue straight with the fence on your left until the the markers lead you away from the fence and further into the sanctuary.

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As you walk, keep an eye out for the kangaroos, lizards and echidnas that call the sanctuary home. Continue past a dam and the woolshed, which is an ideal place for a little rest, and provides bathroom facilities around the back and and some interesting information displays inside. Shorty after this you will reach the end of the fenced sanctuary, where you will exit the gate and continue along the trail until you reach the Mulligans flat carpark and picnic tables. This is the end of the official route for this section, however as I was staying the night in an Airbnb a few kilometres away in Gungahlin, I turned left and headed downhill towards the town centre.

I had lunch at the Samekesh café, which offers a simple yet tasty menu and affords lovely views of Yerabi Pond.

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I stayed the night at this Airbnb which was perfect, Tegan was so lovely and I had a comfy bedroom and bathroom all to myself. Not to mention she had a gorgeous old dog and provided some breakfast goodies as well!

For dinner I had the Pad Thai and spring rolls at Little Siam, which was so delish after all that walking, and just a few minutes away from my Airbnb.

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Happy hiking! Have you walked or biked any of the Centenary Trail? Which part was your favourite?

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