When the winter months start to fade and you don't need to scrape the frost off the car in the morning, it is time to celebrate the warmer weather and get back into the great outdoors. Although you can still enjoy outdoor pursuits in winter, it is definitely a lot more enjoyable when there is warm sun on your back and the wind is warm - rather than icy!
These are my personal favourite outdoor activities in the warmer months in Canberra - what are yours? Where do you go on the weekend to relish in the warmer weather? If you go abseiling in the mountains, fly fishing in the rivers, 4WD'ing in the bush or go exploring the region in other ways, please leave a comment at the top of this article and share where you go, and why. There really is no better place than out in the sunshine, breathing in fresh, country air...
Take a bushwalk up one of Canberra's hilltops (photo taken at the top of Mount Painter)
Bushwalking is a favourite past-time for many, which you can do on your own, with a friend, or with the whole family. Some of my favourite walks are within just minutes from home, with a wide range of uphill walks and hikes in the Canberra Nature Parks scattered around the city. The Murrumbidgee River is also a place to explore, with BBQs, lookouts and walks to do along the 66 kilometres of the river that is within the ACT. If you live in the southern suburbs of Tuggeranong, it is just a short drive to visit Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Namadgi National Park to tackle some of their walks to visit local history remains or indigenous sites. A popular challenge is to hike up to Gibraltar Peak, in Tidbinbilla Nature Park - if you have the energy! Why don't you strap on your hiking boots, look out for snakes and go hiking this weekend? Canberra is one of the few places that has all the benefits of city living, with all of this natural beauty just minutes from the city centre...
Gather your energy and tackle the 8km return walk up to Gibraltar Peak, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Picnics and BBQs are another bonus of the warmer weather, so you can throw some snags on the barbie in the backyard while the kids run through the sprinkler. If you want to explore further afield, there are popular BBQ areas around Lake Burley Griffin (including the newly-built Henry Rolland Park), along the Murrumbidgee River, The Cotter and down at the local park or playground, with BBQ facilities in all areas of Canberra. As the weather warms up, spending the day at a local park is a relaxing way to catch up with family or friends, or have a birthday party for the kids. Why not cook up some snags and then have a game of family cricket to make the most of being outdoors?
Take a drive out to The Cotter and have a BBQ along the Murrumbidgee River
Lake Burley Griffin is a popular venue every day, however particularly in the warmer weather when the breeze is light and the scenery is stunning. If you get up early you will see the thousands of locals who use it every day for walking, running and bike riding, as well as the kayaks, rowing teams and dragon boat clubs who slice through the water as the sun rises over the Capital. It is also a relaxing place to simply lie on the grass, enjoy the view and listen to the bells of the National Carillon. Although it is open all year around, Snapper on the Lake fish and chips is pumping each weekend, with live music in summer and family games of cricket on the lawns.
Beer Gardens and Outdoor Cafes once again become popular, as locals and visitors can enjoy the variety of eateries in the city and the weather at the same time. There is nothing better than sitting in a sunny beer garden and catching up with friends in the warmer months. One area that has even more people flock to its doors in the warmer months is the Kingston Foreshore at the eastern end of Lake Burley Griffin. Each café, restaurant or gastropub along its length has water views and outdoor dining areas, so that diners can relax and enjoy the holiday atmosphere.
These are my personal favourite ways to celebrate the warmer weather in Canberra. Where will you be saying goodbye to the winter blues and making the most of the great outdoors this weekend?