This Saturday 7 December, something big is popping off in Haig Park. Celebrating the success…
“I’ve just had a baby, but I still want to get out and about with my dog. Where can I walk with a pram?”
This simple question from a Canberra Dog Walks follower inspired me to explore walking in Canberra from a mum’s (or dad’s) perspective. Where can you walk comfortably with a pram, and still give yourself and your dog a great outing? Even better, can you combine this with beautiful scenery and a visit to a pram friendly and dog friendly cafe?
The answer is a resounding yes. I’ve had a fantastic time researching and developing routes for several pram and dog friendly walks in pretty areas of Canberra.
My favourite pram friendly walk is through Weston Park, Yarralumla. This beautiful walk has it all! It reminds me – as a long time Canberra resident – just why I love living here so much and why we Canberrans are so lucky. Read on for some highlights of this walk to get you motivated.
The route follows a wide, fairly flat and well-maintained path meandering around the outer edge of the Weston Park peninsula. There’s plenty of space to navigate a generous-sized pram and a dog or two on leash.
You’ll pass under beautiful mature native and exotic trees, and Lake Burley Griffin is nearly always in sight. There are lovely views across the water and beyond to the city and Black Mountain.
Along the way, it’s highly likely you’ll come across one or more mobs of kangaroos grazing unconcerned in the grassy clearings. You can get quite close before they casually hop away.
Close to the path is an interesting and thought-provoking sculpture commemorating the refugees who died on the SIEV X boat in 2001.
If you have older children with you, you may have to give in to their pleas to play on the many and varied playgrounds just off the path after the half-way point. The path also passes numerous inviting picnic tables, handy if you’d like a break or need to pause to feed bub, as well as several (clean) public toilets.
Towards the end of the walk, you pass through the ‘English Garden’, planted in the 1960s by the then assistant manager of the Government nursery. It features many azaleas and rhododendrons so it’s a must see in late winter/early summer. Adjacent to the garden is a pram friendly and dog friendly cafe, the Oaks Brasserie, which has several inviting outdoor tables nestled under the trees.
It takes around an hour to complete the walk, including some dawdling time, but it could take longer if distracted with children (i.e. those playgrounds!). On a week day out of school holidays you’ll have the park nearly to yourself.
Until recently, dogs were prohibited in Weston Park. Now they are allowed on leash throughout the park, with only a few well-sign-posted exceptions (the main swimming beach, powered barbecue sites, and on playgrounds when kids are using them). The kangaroos don’t seem to mind on leash dogs, but make sure your dog can’t slip its collar.
My recommended walking route starts and ends at the Yarralumla Dog Park, where there is easy parking and you can give your dog the opportunity to play off leash and socialise with other dogs. There is also a dog off leash swimming area very close to the dog park.
Directions and google maps for this and other pram friendly walks are available at Canberra Dog Walks.
All pram friendly walks feature:
- paved routes all the way
- access to off leash areas for your dog to have a run and play
- pram friendly and dog friendly cafés
- playgrounds along the way in case you have older kids in tow
- pretty parks and streetscapes
- easy access to toilets and bins
All information is free and inspired by a love of Canberra and walking. And a big thanks to the families featured in these photos. They freely and generously volunteered their time to help me illustrate these great walks. Suggestions for other pram friendly routes featuring dog off leash areas and great cafes are very welcome! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image of ‘little girl…‘ via Shutterstock