My Favourite Hikes In Australia’s Capital Territory

Charles Scrivener and his men set out in the early 20th century to mark the border of what’s known today as the Australian Capital Territory.

The task was a daunting one.

The men’s journeys, sometimes months long, involved arduous battles through dense bush, encounters with unknown and frightening animals and absolute loneliness in the face of danger.

Some of the stone plinths that mark the ACT’s boundaries can still be found in the mountains that encircle the modern-day city of Canberra. However in 2014, exploring this region’s slopes and valleys is a far more pleasant and comfortable affair.

Within thirty minutes drive from the city, you can completely immerse yourself in the remaining wilderness. While east-coast tourists queue to gaze at Australia’s wacky wildlife, visitors here will be confronted with mobs of roos blocking the path. In some areas, they may even spy the illusive platypus.

Many years have passed since these landscapes were first trodden, but even today, a wonderful sense of isolation still exists. In the ACT, everyone can be an original explorer.

 1. Mount Stromlo & ITS Observatory


Best for: Walking (or mountain biking) & a well-earned breakfast

Driving from Canberra: 20 minutes

Landscape: Well marked paths and wide undulating trails

Wildlife: Kangaroos, birds, the odd echidna

2. Yankee Hat Trail, Namadgi National Park

Yankee Hat

Best for: Easy Hiking and aboriginal rock art

Driving from Canberra: 40 minutes

Landscape: Arid valley floor and tree lined hills

Wildlife: Kangaroos, dingos, wombats

3. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve & Gibraltar Rocks

Tidbinbilla 2

Best for: Short hikes & wildlife spotting; Great views from Gibraltar rocks

Driving from Canberra: 40 minutes

Landscape: Valley lakes, covered walkways & hills

Wildlife: Kangaroos, wombats, pelicans, platypus (if you’re lucky!)

4. Mount Tenant

Mt Tenant

Best for: Good exercise! It’s a day long hike to the summit of Gibraltar Rocks

Driving from Canberra: 25 minutes

Landscape: A steep mountain with tree cover

Wildlife: Kangaroos, birds

5. Lake Burley Griffin


Best for: A casual stroll with a coffee & some culture

Driving from Canberra: central

Landscape: A city lake with tree-lined walkways. Pretty in Autumn, dawn & dusk

Wildlife: Birds, the odd human!

6. Mount Ainslie

Mt Ainslie

Best for: An after-work walk, dog walking, great city sunsets & views

Driving from Canberra: central

Landscape: A steep, arid mountain in the suburbs of Canberra

Wildlife: Kangaroos, echidnas, birds

7. Mount Gingera (from Corin Dam)

Mt Gingera

Best for: Advanced hikers, wilderness & beautiful views

Driving from Canberra: 30-40 minutes

Landscape: Wilderness, forested mountains. Snow in winter can be dangerous.

Wildlife: Everything, including parrots (keep a good eye out!)

8. Baroomba Rocks

Baroomba Rocks

Best for: Combined bike & hike, valley views

Driving from Canberra: 30 minutes

Landscape: Tree-lined hills, fire trails and boulders on the peaks

Wildlife: Kangaroos, wombats, echidnas, birds

15 thoughts on “My Favourite Hikes In Australia’s Capital Territory

  1. Excellent description of all the walks. We are staying near Mt Majura and the Canberra parklands, great area for dog walking. I have not tackled the mountain walk but I’m sure it would be interesting.


    1. Thanks for stopping by! Gathering the photos for this blog made me homesick for Canberra. It’s a wonderful place to live, although most visitors come away not knowing about this side of it. How long are you in Canberra for? Enjoy your stay 🙂


  2. Great selection of walks, there’s a few here that I haven’t done so very pleased to add them to my list. When the wanderer returns to canberra I’ll have to introduce you to a great walk near Queanbeyan called the molongolo gorge. I’m also planning to try out the new centenary trail in the few weeks I have off over Christmas. Enough to entice you back from london’s city sweeps?


    1. Ooh definitely! That gorge walk sounds fab and we should have lunch in Queanbeyan afterwards as I’ve only ever driven through! Ah, I wish I could do the trail with you over Xmas, but you can definitely pencil me in for some late autumn hikes in April/May 2015 🙂 I’m sure there’s plenty more for us to explore over the years!


    2. Me and Mum might have to use some of these ideas when we come over in October, Jen! Very interesting to read about them all, Rachel, and I’m looking forward to trying some of them out 🙂


      1. Thanks for stopping by Emma, and glad you enjoyed having a read! There are some excellent walks in the ACT – it’s just a shame so few people know about them…have a great time over there in October 🙂


  3. If I ever make it to the ACT, I’ll know exactly where to go! It’s much more diverse than I gave it credit for 😉


    1. You aren’t alone! Many tourists (and Aussies!) scoff at the mention of Canberra, but it’s actually a great place to stay and live/work for a while – another massive benefit is that it’s right between the coast and the snow. In winter you can go skiing on a Saturday, and scuba diving on a Sunday (granted it would probably be a tiring weekend!)


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