Mount Majura is located in the Canberra suburbs of Hackett and Watson, 15 minutes north of the city. This large hill is part of the Canberra Nature Park series of reserves and sits at 888 metres above sea level. Up the very top is a radar station, an aircraft warning light and transmitters for local mobile phone companies. Although these structures are closed off to the public, you can still walk to the top and enjoy 360-degree views of the entire region. The only problem is - you need to get up there first!
When you look at the map of the walking trails before you leave, the walk up to the summit looks fairly straightforward, with one main route up and over the top. When you arrive, however, there are several paths crisscrossing the hill which aren't on the map - and unless you know where to go, it can be confusing for first-time visitors to know where to start. On my visit, I was fortunate to come across several helpful locals who sent me off in the right direction, so I could enjoy my uphill adventure and the sweeping views along the way.
There are various entry points to access the reserve and walking trails around the base of the hill. I chose to park my car at the popular Hackett Gate entrance, which is located on MacKenzie Street, a short drive from Grayson Street. From here, it is an easy walk straight ahead up the gravel management path until you reach a four-way junction with a small post and sign that says Majura Pines.
It is here that I got chatting to several locals who recommended avoiding the more direct, uphill path on the map that I was planning on doing (located further up the track at the entrance to Majura Pines) and turn left at this sign for an easier, scenic zig-zag route up to the top. This local knowledge was greatly appreciated, as there is no signage at this junction indicating that you can climb to the summit this way.
* After returning from my walk and finding the Friends of Majura website, I now know that I was meeting up with a track called the Casuarina Trail.
When you see a small post for Majura Pines on the left of the path, turn left for an easier route up the summit
As this photo above shows, after walking along this path for 70 - 80 metres, look out for a narrow path on the right-hand side and the signage for the Centenary Trail. Turn right at the sign and this final path will take you all the way up to the summit of Mount Majura, in one easy-to-follow walking trail.
Whilst walking along this cleared section, also look out for a surprising amount of native wildlife near the pathway. On my visit, a kangaroo jumped right in front of me, numerous rosellas flew above my head and a shingle back lizard sidled up next to my feet (making me jump!) - all making for true "Aussie" adventure!
Look for this Centenary Trail signage and entrance on your right, which will take you up to the summit
Although the trail starts out with cracked concrete and log stairs to climb up, it soon turns into a red dirt path which meanders and zig-zags up the side of the hill. As you walk along and start to look up to the top of the hill it appears that the summit isn't too far away, however it is just the "saddle" - or flat section in the mountain range - before it continues up the next hill on the other side. This saddle area provides the best views over Canberra Airport, accompanied by the roar and rumbles of planes lifting off and flying above. As I was puffing and panting on my walk up to the saddle, I met a couple who were on their way down who told me I was 2/3 of the way the summit - which was a relief that I was more than halfway!
A short distance along the saddle is a junction of paths, with a sign for Mount Majura summit pointing straight ahead. This signals the last, final stretch.
From here, I would like to say the walk is scenic and enjoyable, but by this stage, I was wondering when this uphill battle was going to end! The path continues on for another 10 minutes or more, before one last vertical section which pushes the thigh muscles to the absolute brink.
The top of Mount Majura is different to other Canberra Nature Walk summits that I have been to before, as the path comes out onto a paved road used by maintenance workers for the radar. The Trig (the black structure which symbolises the summit) is visible on a higher hill in the centre of the road. As you walk along the road you can appreciate the views on the other side of the hill, looking over to Telstra Tower, the city and the northern suburbs of Canberra.
One last hill to the top and then walk out onto the road to enjoy the view
This walk took me approximately 1 hour to go up (as I stopped a few times to chat to the locals, take photos and gasp for air!) and 35 - 40 minutes to walk down, at a relaxed pace. Walking down enjoying the view was my favourite part of the walk, although I wouldn't recommend it for people who have problems with their ankles and knees, as it is quite rocky and steep in some places.
Mount Majura is the highest hill to walk in the Canberra Nature Park and although it is challenging, it is the ideal way to get out into nature and enjoy the scenic region that we live in. Also, if you like to exercise for overall health, no gym is required when there are so many scenic hills to walk up all around the city - guaranteed to push your fitness and reward you with a spectacular view at the end.
Why not fill up your water bottle and take the Mount Majura challenge this weekend?