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Mount Ainslie

Home > Canberra > Walks | Picnic Spots | Parks | Outdoor | Free
Published November 22nd 2012
Canberra's Historic Lookout
Rising up behind the Australian War Memorial in Canberra is Mount Ainslie. At its peak is Mount Ainslie Lookout which offers a beautiful view of the Nation's Capital from above. Canberra's layout has been planned from the very beginning, and as you cast your eyes out over the landscape you'll see how everything fits together in the city's unique design. From here it also becomes clear why Canberra is so often called the Bush Capital.

Canberra from Mount Ainslie Lookout 1
The View from the lookout

The lookout also has several displays which showcase the history of Canberra and some of the individuals who played an important role in the city's early development.

Canberra History Sign Display Mount Ainlsie Lookout 1
Canberra's history on display

While the view from the lookout is in itself worth the trip, the rest of the mountain also has something to offer. At the base of Mount Ainslie (across the road from the back of the Australian War Memorial) is Remembrance Nature Park, a small area named in 1978 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War. Parts of the area have also been dedicated to several Australian soldiers, with their stories displayed for all to see.

Mount Ainslie Remembrance Driveway Area dedicated to an Australian Soldier
An area dedicated to an Australian Soldier

There is also a large plaque which briefly describes the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea, and its significance to Australia in the Second World War, and from here there are several walking tracks you can follow, including the Mount Ainslie Walking Trail, the Remembrance Nature Trail and the Kokoda Track (Mount Ainslie Summit Track), as well as an equestrian trail suitable for horses. Also displayed in the area is a map of the mountain and some of its history.

Mount Ainslie Kokoda Trail Plaque 1
The Plaque representing the Kokoda Trail

The Kokoda Track will take you all the way up to the top of the mountain. This track is reasonably steep at times, and also has some stairs. Along the way are a number of signs which share some more information about the Mount Ainslie area and you will also discover some more plaques which continue the story of the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea and highlight some of the events that occurred there during the Second World War.

Not far up from the bottom of the Kokoda track is another short trail you can turn onto that leads to a memorial plaque dedicated to the Indigenous people who have served in Australia's armed forces.

Aboriginal Memorial Plaque on Mount Ainslie
The Aboriginal Memorial Plaque on Mount Ainslie

The Mount Ainslie Walking Trail and Remembrance Nature Trail will take you around other parts of the mountain, and are a great way to explore the area's natural bushland.

Mount Ainslie Bushland 1
The Mount Ainslie bushland

Although there are various signs and markers along the trails (which vary depending on which trail you take), it can still be easy to wander away from your intended route at times, as both trails split off into other trails at various points, and it isn't always clear whether you are still walking along the one you set off on. Don't worry too much about getting lost though, as with a little trial and error you'll most likely be able to find your way back to where you started.

Walking Mount Ainslie Trail
A Trail on the mountain

The Mount Ainslie area is also home to a range of animals and you may get to see some of the kangaroos, rabbits, birds and other wildlife that call the mountain home (and depending on which path you take, you may even see some of the not-so-wildlife things that also call the mountain home like the powerlines and water reservoir...).

If you don't feel like walking or exploring the bushland, but still want to view the city, you can always drive to the lookout, and a trip from the base of the mountain to the very top (up Mount Ainslie Drive) takes just a few minutes by car.

Mount Ainslie even has its own aviation beacon, which lights up at night and can be seen by planes flying south out of Sydney.

Mount Ainslie Aviation Beacon 1
The aviation beacon on Mount Ainslie

The lookout is also a great place from which to see the sun set over Canberra, and if you're there in the night-time you'll see the city's buildings and streets outlined in lights.

Sunset over Canberra from Mount Ainslie 1
Sunset over Canberra

Canberra At Night 1 from Mount Ainslie
Canberra at night

Mount Ainslie is steeped in history and has an abundance of nature. It's a great place from which to look out over the city, and is well worth adding to your list of places to visit in Canberra.
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Why? Get a great view of Canberra, take a walk in nature and learn a bit of history.
When: Open all year round
Phone: 13 22 81
Where: Mt Ainslie Drive, Majura, ACT.
Cost: Free
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