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They don’t call Canberra ‘the bush capital’ for nothing! Strap on the sneakers and explore one of our favourite bushwalks!
More than half of the Australian Capital Territory is nature reserve, national park or state forest and within that landscape sits a planned city with a great network of walking paths and bushwalking trails, just perfect for exploring.
What: For the hardcore walker, the 145-kilometre Canberra Centenary Trail passes many natural and man-made icons of the capital. You don’t have to do it all in one go, of course – it’s divided into sections so you can tackle it bit by bit, averaging 20 kilometres a day over a week.
Why: Aside from bragging rights, this is the ultimate way to see Canberra, and in a way that few will. Combining urban and rural sights, it’s a walk for people of moderate ability that showcases the best of the Territory. You can also do the trail by bike.
Highlights: There are plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife, so keep an eye out for wombats, echidnas and wedge-tailed eagles. If you see a platypus, you’re among the lucky ones, as they’re shy and nocturnal.
What: There are lots of different walks of various grades in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. The nature reserve is organised so you can hop into the car to get from one area to the next and then do a short walk. The rangers at the Visitor Centre can help you work out what to do and see.
Why: You’re guaranteed to see kangaroos and you have a really good chance of seeing an emu.
Highlights: There’s a breeding program for the endangered brush-tailed rock wallaby, so you have a good chance of spotting them in their enclosure. Koalas also inhabit the nature reserve, although the population is still rebuilding after bushfires more than a decade ago. For the best chance of seeing wombats or platypuses, visit first thing in the morning.
The walk to the top of Mount Ainslie and back down is one of the most popular walks among locals
What: Expansive Namadgi National Park is abundant with wildlife, scenic views and great bushwalks. Managed in cooperation with local Ngambri leaders, the park is a wonderful place to explore the region’s Indigenous heritage.
Why: There are 160km of walking trails in total and plenty of ancient Indigenous art sites to discover, whether you’re hiking alone or with a ranger (ask at Namadgi Visitor Centre).
Highlights: Combining natural wonders with human history, you’ll feel a connection with your surroundings. If you want to stay overnight, camp sites are available, but bookings are essential.
What: One of the most popular walks among locals, the bush track behind the Australian War Memorial goes to the top of Mt Ainslie. It’s about 2km each way, there are plenty of steps and it’s steep in parts, so check your fitness level.
Why: The views from the top, looking across to Old Parliament House and Parliament House, are well worth the effort. If you’re unable to walk up, you can ride your bike or cheat by driving up Mt Ainslie Drive.
Highlights: There are plenty of rosellas and kangaroos in the area. The lookout at the summit is perfect for capturing sweeping shots of Canberra.
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