Jammed between the outer Belconnen suburb of Evatt and the Barton Highway, Palmerville Heritage Park is an unexpected place to find an adventure. The park was originally the site of some of Canberra's earliest European Settlements and was occupied as a rural settlement from 1829 right through to 1959. Today, it's an urban haven, an escape from the daily grind and home to hidden surprises.
If you're a history buff, you'll find little hints of times past scattered throughout the area. The archaeological remnants of the Ginninderra Store and Post Office structures, Ginninderra Cottage, woolshed and residential complex remain and signs tell the stories of convict barracks, cricket matches, fireworks, a tragic drowning and more. It's hard to imagine all of this taking place at what is now the edge of the national capital.
As well as the history, there's plenty of present-day appeal. For the families, there is adventure to be had. The little creeks are full of tadpoles and frogs (remember to look but not take - removal is illegal in the ACT) as well as plenty of water bugs and more. There are huge oaks just perfect for climbing and dense thickets perfect for exploring or hide and seek. If you keep your eyes peeled, you might even find the wooden teepee and fairy garden along the way.
The four legged family members are covered too: Palmerville is an absolute hub for dog lovers with plenty of pooches strutting their stuff in the grassy expanses. Owners here are generally responsible and tend to have well socialised and friendly dogs who are happy to sit for a pat.
The best part of Palmerville is the vast open space. Being here is like a quick trip to the countryside. The air is fresh, the towering trees which date back to the old settlement provide a beautiful outlook and the grasslands are full of birds and butterflies making for a slice of serenity in suburbia.
What you need to know:
Palmerville Heritage Park is located just off William Slim Drive in Evatt and has car parking and electric BBQ facilities on site. Pathways are flat but access to some areas would be difficult with prams, wheelchairs or walking aids.