Take advantage of the cooler weather and hit the trails
Wherever you live or stay in Canberra, you can see rolling green hills dotted around the city and amongst the suburbs. These hills are part of the Canberra Nature Park and are protected areas, so that native plants and animals can survive in their natural habitat. All of the 33 nature parks have walking trails criss-crossing all over them, so that bushwalkers can enjoy the natural surrounds, take in the views and appreciate the variety of wildlife that live close to the city centre. If you want to spot a kangaroo in the wild, you don't have far to go!
These bushwalks, below, are some of my personal favourites - which one(s) are yours? Do you have a Canberra Nature Park close to home that you walk every day, or one that you walk each weekend? Please leave a comment at the bottom of this article and share your favourite bushwalk. There really is no better way start the weekend, than by pulling on the hiking boots and breathing in the fresh, clean air of the Aussie bush...
Hike to to the top of Black Mountain Nature Reserve and catch the lift up Telstra Tower
Aranda Bushland Nature Reserve has various walking tracks to explore, however a highlight is the Frost Hollow to Forest Walk through protected Eucalyptus forests. I recommend checking out the Friends of Aranda Bushland website for a detailed map, as well as a listing of bird calls to listen out for on the walk. See here for details and here for a map.
Black Mountain Nature Reserve is one of the most "seen" Canberra Nature Parks as it has the iconic Telstra Tower sitting on top. There are various bushwalks around this hill and up to the top, including the Flower to Tower Walk from the Australian National Botanical Gardens. Why not finish with a trip up Telstra Tower (costs apply), for the ultimate view? See here details and here for a map.
Cooleman Ridge Nature Reserve, south of the city, includes a walk up to the top of Mount Awarang, which has sweeping views of the southern suburbs of Canberra. If you are feeling energetic, you can walk to the other end of the reserve (or drive there!) and circle the Cooleman Ridge Nature Trail. See here for details and here for a map.
Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve is located in the northern region of Gungahlin. Locals enjoy climbing to the top of Old Joe summit and the abundance of wildlife at every turn in the path. Look for lizards, echidnas and hundreds of kangaroos, particularly at first light. See here for details and here for a map.
Rolling green hills and views from Mount Arawang, Cooleman Ridge Nature Reserve
Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve is the most popular Canberra Nature Park in the city, with over 200 people walking through it every day. There are dirt paths around the base of the mountain, however the most popular route is the concrete path up to the summit on the Kokoda Memorial Trail. This isn't an easy walk, but the views are worth it from the top at Mount Ainslie Lookout. See here for details and here for a map.
Mount Painter Nature Reserve, north of the city, is one of my favourite Canberra Nature Parks as the walk is fairly short, but it packs in the views from the summit. It only takes 20 minutes to walk up to the top for a 360-degree view of the entire region. See here for details and here for a map.
Mount Taylor Nature Reserve is the most popular Canberra Nature Park on the south side of Canberra, as this uphill walk is great exercise and the views at the top are simply spectacular. See here for details and here for a map.
Uphill all the way at Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve
Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve is a protected wildlife reserve north of the city, which has flat walking tracks, including the Mulligans Flat Bird Walk, within its fence line. The nature park also offer night tours to view Eastern Bettongs and nocturnal animals in the wild. See here for details and here for a map.
Urambi Hills Nature Reserve is another favourite area for bushwalks on the south side, through the countryside and up into rolling green hills to the top of two grassy peaks. This Canberra Nature Park gives you the best views of Tuggeranong, the Brindabella mountain ranges and south of Canberra. See here for details and here for a map.
The cooler months in Canberra are the perfect time to explore Canberra Nature Parks, as there is less snake activity, kangaroos are more active and exercise is a great way to warm up from the inside! The beauty of these nature parks, is that there is one near every home or hotel in Canberra - so why get out from under the covers and hit the trails this weekend? Which one will become your favourite?
...This is one of mine! Urambi Hills Nature Reserve, Tuggeranong