HALE W18 Masthead

Fall For These Five Autumn Walks

Astrid O'Neill

Grab a light jacket, a water bottle and lace up your walking shoes to make the most of Canberra’s cooler weather and golden light.

These five walks focus on older suburbs known for their deciduous trees that flare different hues of red, orange and yellow in Autumn.

  1. Lotus Bay to NLA
  2. Kingston Foreshore to the Sculpture Garden
  3. Yarralumla Loop: Weston Park
  4. Liquidambar Amble: Hackett to Dickson
  5. The Red Track



Start at the Southern Cross Yacht Club at Mariner Place, where a coffee from Snapper can get you going (open every day 8am-8pm). Walk around Lotus Bay through the gorgeous Lennox Gardens, pass under the bridge beside Flynn Place, admire the ornamental pear trees on the promenade, then spend some time at the National Library of Australia (NLA) looking down at the lake.

Where to eat and rest your feet: The NLA’s Bookplate café is open till 4pm on Fri, Sat and Sun, and 5pm Mon to Thurs. Its counterpart Paperplate is open till 3pm (but closed on the weekends).

How long? Approximately 36 mins one way / 2.9km

Want to extend your walk? Head down the promenade to the Portrait Gallery or the National Gallery.



Start at the Kingston Foreshore then head along the lake, past the popular Bowen Park and the swans that bob along at the water’s edge. Pass under King’s Avenue bridge until you reach the Sculpture Garden. Here, wander around the 26 sculptures made by International and Australian artists, set in amongst hardy native plants ­- an interesting contrast to many of the deciduous trees along the lake’s promenade.

Where to eat and rest your feet: Head back to the Foreshore to take your pick of places. We love Local Press Café with its local, ethical produce and fresh cold-pressed juices (open till 4pm weekdays at 5pm weekends).

How long? Approximately 21 mins one way / 1.7km

Remember that Fujiko Nakaya’s Fog sculpture operates 12.30–2.00 pm daily.



Red Hill has walking trails of varying lengths and levels of difficulty to choose from but the popular Red Track is hard to beat. People often start at the top on Red Hill Drive and loop all the way back around. It’s especially worth it in Autumn, when you see the vibrant colours of the deciduous trees far below.

Where to eat and rest your feet: Little Brother at Red Hill Lookout for its creative, casual nibbles and plates (open Wed, Thurs and Sun till 5pm, Fri and Sat till late).

How long? Approximately 90 mins / 3.2km

Keep your eyes out for the red-necked wallabies, recently spotted on Red Hill for the first time in over a decade.



Start at the Yarralumla Nursery on Weston Park Road. This nursery is a Canberra classic. Established in 1913, it supplied local hospitals and hotels with fresh fruit from its trees. Start the loop in whatever direction you choose, walking past the grazing kangaroos through Weston Park, to see the lake reflecting Autumn colours.

Where to eat and rest your feet: The Yarralumla Gallery & Oaks Brasserie celebrates art and alfresco dining beside Lake Burley Griffin. Their motto is: ‘We do not prepare fast food, only good food as fast as we can.’ (Open till 5pm every day.)

How long? Approximately 51 mins / 4.2km

This is an ideal time of year to plant certain fruit-bearing bushes and trees. The Heritage Nursery next to the Brasserie has a large range, including Japanese citrus varieties that can tolerate some frost.



Why not map out your own path through Northside suburbs like O’Connor and Lyneham that’ll earn you some breakfast at the local shops? You can go for a long walk through Hackett and Dickson where certain streets are well-known for their leafy displays. Begin at the red oaks on Harris Street, see the claret ashes on Burn Street and Atherton Street, the liquidambars on Bradfield Street, and the Chinese pistachios on Gardiner Street and Edkins Street, then wind your way down to the Dickson Shops.

Where to eat and rest your feet: Bean & Grain at the Dickson Shops (open every day till 4pm). Offers gluten-free and paleo options.

How long? Approximately 1hr 2 mins / 5.2 km

All images by Martin Ollman

Astrid O'Neill

Astrid O’Neill has joined the HerCanberra team for a writing internship. Previously she’s studied at the University of Canberra and the University of Oxford, and worked for a bold little New York publishing company. She’s a Southsider at heart but now lives in Braddon with her fiancé, where they’re often planning their travels over a local brew. More about the Author