Do you enjoy getting out into the great outdoors and going for a bushwalk - without having to drive too far, hike for too long or go somewhere too remote? Perhaps you like to walk on your own, explore with the kids or maybe you are just starting to exercise for fitness - if so, then short walks are the ideal way to get into the great outdoors, without taking on too much. The following are my favourite short bushwalks around Canberra that I have discovered (so far!), which are all located less than half an hour from the city centre.
As Canberra is known as the Bush Capital, all this natural beauty, wildlife and peace can be found literally just minutes from our doorstep. As you walk along you can breathe in the fresh country air, enjoy the mountain views and hear the melodic sounds of birdlife in the trees. Really, is there a better way to spend the weekend?
Take a short walk up to the top of Mount Painter for rural and city views
Mount Painter is located in the suburb of Cook, 10 minutes north of the city. Although all of Canberra's hilltop walks are popular with the locals, Mount Painter is a personal favourite as it is quiet, less populated and has peaceful views of the countryside and mountain ranges. The views are also easier to see as there aren't many trees on the hill, so the walk up provides 360 degree views of the entire region. For a full article on this walk, see Mount Painter Walking Trails.
Grade: Medium. Uphill all the way, with steep steps up to the summit. Length of time: Approximately 20 minutes up and 15 minutes back.
The Pinnacle Nature Trail is a 2.6km walk in Hawker, just 10 minutes north of the city. This walk follows a series of trails within the nature reserve, which can be viewed on their online brochure, or you can print it out and take it with you. At the beginning of the walk there is a path that leads up to The Pinnacle itself, before continuing down to the end of the reserve, where you then have sweeping 180-degree views of the countryside. If you like to explore, there are many trails to walk down and see where they go, whilst looking out for rare plants, wildlife and rock formations. For a full article on this walk, see Pinnacle Nature Trail.
Grade: Easy - Medium. There is a short set of stairs up the Pinnacle at the start, easy flat walking in the middle and a steep hill on the equestrian trail on the way back. Mostly easy. Length of time: 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending how many times you stop to explore or take photos.
Take a short walk up to The Pinnacle and then explore the Nature Trail
Urambi Hills is located in the suburb of Kambah, 20 minutes south of the city. Just like Mount Painter at the top of this list, these hills are also sparse of trees, so as you amble over the paths and along the ridgelines, there are views across in every direction. From this location, you can look directly down onto the Tuggeranong Town Centre, across to Telstra Tower in the far distance and then west to the Brindabella Mountain ranges. Although this walk doesn't take long, you feel like you have had a true city escape. For a full article on this walk, see the Urambi Hills Nature Reserve Walking Trails.
Grade: Medium. Uphill most of the way, with flat sections to catch your breath Length of time: Approximately 15 minutes up and 10 minutes back.
Walking along the Urambi Hills, with Lake Tuggeranong on the left
Point Hut Crossing to Pine Island (South) - is a 5km return river walk along the Murrumbidgee River, 25 minutes south of the city. This section on the walk is part of the 27km Murrumbidgee Discovery Track, which starts at Point Hut Crossing and ends at Casuarina Sands. It is one of the easiest walks on this list, with most of the pathway flat and clearly marked as it twists and turns next to the river. This walk is also popular with mountain bike riders. For a full article on this walk, see the article Point Hut Crossing to Pine Island Walking Trail - Murrumbidgee River.
Grade: Easy - just a few small sections of uphill walking, with most of it flat. Length of time: Approximately 1 hour, including stopping to take photos and time at the other end.
Walk along and listen to the Murrumbidgee River just a short distance from the path
Red Rocks Gorge is a scenic natural attraction on the Murrumbidgee River, accessible by the suburb of Kambah, 20 minutes south of the city. It is also part of the 27km Murrumbidgee Discovery Track, mentioned on the walk above. Starting from Kambah Pool, which is a river swimming hole on the Murrumbidgee River, the 4.4km return walk takes you along the hillside above the river to a Lookout so you can enjoy the view. The "Red Rocks" name comes from the colour of the rocks in the gorge at sunset. For a full article on this walk, see Red Rocks Gorge Lookout.
Grade: Easy. Flat most of the way with a couple of small hills. Length of time: Just over 1 hour return.
Stand on the viewing platform and enjoy the views of Red Rocks Gorge and the Murrumbidgee River
The more you get out and explore the hidden treasures of Canberra, the more you will want to explore. It opens up your eyes to a different way to enjoy the weekend - completely outdoors, breathing fresh air and seeing parts of the Capital that you never knew existed. If you stop to take a rest, you also notice the little things - birds of prey circling above, lizards sunning themselves on rocks and perhaps the twitch of a kangaroo ear in the bush nearby. This connection with nature is the perfect way to unwind after a busy week - all less than half an hour from Australia' Capital City.