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Three awesome autumn walks for the whole family

Georgia Morris

We’re here to help you find the most spectacular autumn foliage in Canberra with these easy family friendly and dog-friendly walks.

As long time locals, we’ve researched the best short walks through the prettiest areas of Canberra, with a particular focus on dog and kid-friendliness. Here are three of our favourites.

As well as awesome autumn colour, these walks feature one or more:

  • Dog-friendly and kid friendly cafes
  • Dog off-leash opportunities
  • Children’s playgrounds

These walks are also mainly flat, follow a circular loop with minimal retracing of steps, and are completed in 40 to 75 minutes.

To make it even easier, we’ve provided links to free detailed directions and google maps of the routes.

Read on to plan your walk before the awesome colours fade!

Manuka-Griffith walk

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This ultra pretty and easy route follows a series of linked off leash parks featuring mature exotic trees that are just gorgeous in autumn. There are plenty of open green spaces for kids and dogs to run rampant, opportunities for creek paddles, and a high likelihood of meeting other kids and dogs. There’s a super children’s playground at the beginning of the walk with a slide, swings and climbing frames, with picnic tables nearby, plus another smaller playground en route in Wells Gardens.

You can complete the route in around 35 minutes walking without pause but the extensive parks invite lots of dawdling. The walk starts and ends at Griffith Park behind the Manuka shopping centre which has several cafés with outdoor tables – especially around ‘the lawns’ – that are perfect for kids and dogs.

  • Start/Finish – Griffith Park from Murray Crescent
  • Time/Distance – Allow 45 minutes/approx 3 km
  • Parking – Free parking on Captain Cook Crescent and Flinders Way, and ample pay parking at Manuka shopping centre
  • Dog and kid friendly café – Several cafés at Manuka shopping centre especially off Bougainville Street
  • Public toilets – At far rear of Manuka Terrace (entrance off Flinders Way)
  • Playgrounds – Griffith Park and Wells Garden

Click here for detailed directions and google map

Watson walk

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Modest Watson is a quiet, older suburb unjustly overlooked. This walk follows a pleasant, flat, simple to navigate, and relatively short walk that still provides ample off-leash opportunities for dogs and safe open spaces for kids. The route follows a series of interconnecting informal parks and includes a large, green sports ground for energetic ball games at the beginning and end of the walk. Two small playgrounds are encountered en route nestled in quiet parks under spectacular golden-leafed elms.

The walk can be completed easily in around 40 minutes but some additional meandering could stretch it to an hour. The walk starts and ends at the small but inviting Watson shops where there are several dog and kid friendly coffee/eating options including The Knox cafe/bar, a bistro and takeaway joint – all with outdoor tables.

  • Start/Finish – Watson shops, Watson Place
  • Time/Distance – Allow 40 minutes/approx 2.5 km
  • Parking – Watson Place and Gwynne Street
  • Dog and kid friendly café – The Knox, and other options with outdoor tables, at the Watson shops
  • Public toilets – None; you’ll need to ask the cafe or bistro proprietors
  • Playgrounds – One in the park running between Watson Neighbourhood Oval and Piddington Street, and one between each end of Irvine St

Click here for detailed directions and google map

Yarralumla pram friendly walk

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A hidden gem, family friendly Weston Park in Yarralumla provides the setting for this very lovely and generally flat walk that is paved the whole way. The route meanders around the peninsula of Weston Park featuring mature native and exotic trees that are stunning in autumn, lovely lake views, several fantastic children’s playgrounds and lots of picnic tables. Dogs must be on leash but the walk starts and ends at the fully fenced Yarralumla Dog Park where your dog can play off-leash and socialise with other dogs. There is also a dog off leash swimming spot very close to the dog park.

The walk can be completed in an hour without pause but your kids will never let you rush past Weston Park’s playgrounds. The route passes a dog-friendly and kid friendly café, Oaks Brasserie, with tables set under those beautiful trees, or you can drive/walk to the nearby Yarralumla shops for other cafes.

  • Start/Finish – Yarralumla Dog Park, corner Banks and Brown Streets
  • Time/Distance – Allow 75 minutes/approx 4 km
  • Parking – Gravel car park next to Yarralumla Dog Park at the corner of Banks and Brown Streets
  • Dog and kid friendly café – Oaks Brasserie, and others at the Yarralumla shops
  • Public toilets – Several throughout Weston Park
  • Playgrounds – Several in Weston Park

Click here for detailed directions and google map

Note – Dogs are not permitted on children’s playgrounds while they are being used. You’ll need to tether your dog just outside the playground perimeter if spending time there with your children.

Canberra Dog Walks provides free information about dog-friendly Canberra inspired by a love of Canberra, walking and dogs.

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Georgia Morris

Canberra Dog Walks creator, Georgia, has lived in Canberra for nearly 50 years – since she was only one! Somehow, although there’s been lots of Australian and international travel, she’s never managed to move away. Georgia now shares her extensive insider's knowledge and love of Canberra and dogs with others through http://www.canberradogwalks.com.au, and on Facebook @canberradogwalks. Although targeting dog owners, she hopes her free information inspires everyone to get out and explore new areas of our beautiful city. More about the Author