Red Hill is a suburb of Canberra's inner south, just 10 minutes from the city centre. As you would expect, the name of the suburb comes from the red earth that you see when you walk up Red Hill itself, with some of the rocks on the hill dating back 425 million years. Red Hill was the first place in Canberra to hold land auctions so that the early settlers to the region could buy and build their own homes. The first auction was held over 90 years ago in 1924, which explains the traditional English gardens around the suburb and leafy streets lined with mature, green trees. These trees were planted as the designer of Canberra, Walter Burley Griffin, wanted to make Canberra the "Garden City". As you stand up at the top of Red Hill and look around, it is easy to see that this dream came true - with an abundance of trees lining the streets of Red Hill, and all around the city. These are just 5 things to do at the scenic Red Hill this weekend...
View east from underneath Davidson Trig, at the top of Red Hill
1/ Red Hill Walking Trails run over the top of the hills in the suburb, as part of the Canberra Nature Park series of nature reserves. If you enjoy bushwalking, the walking trails offer uphill exercise as well as stunning views from the two summits - Davidson Trig (750 metres above sea level) and Red Hill Lookout (720 metres). Along the way, you will startle a few kangaroos, enjoy the sight of rosellas and listen to the distant sounds of the city below. If you prefer not to walk, there is also a road that twists and turns up to the Red Hill Lookout, which has two areas to stop and take in the views...which leads to number 2 on this list.
2/ Red Hill Lookout is just one of the many lookouts around the city, however, this one has the unique perspective of looking back to the city from the south. When you first drive up Red Hill Drive, you come to the first viewing area, with sandstone blocks and signage to explain the history of Canberra and the region. If you hop back in your car, you can also continue on until the very end of the drive, which has a large car park and viewing areas from the side. If you wish to stay at this point and enjoy the view for longer, order a coffee from number 3 on this list and relax...
The first Red Hill Lookout, with signage and views north towards Lake Burley Griffin
3/ Coffee N Beans Café is located at the end of the road past Red Hill Lookout. It is on the lower floor of a unique building that looks out over the city, with views from the café inside as well as the dining area outside under umbrellas. Up the top of the building is the fine dining restaurant Onred, however it is the casual café below which has become a firm favourite with locals each weekend. It is the ideal place to take in the views with visitors, stop for a coffee when walking around Red Hill or as a destination in itself, for tasty meals and friendly service. It was previously called Little Brother Café, however it has had a change of owners and is now called Coffee n Beans - and yes, they do a great coffee!
4/ Calthorpe's House is a historical house that belonged to the first real estate agent in Canberra and was built in 1927. The Calthorpe family, which consisted of parents Harry and Della and two daughters Dawn and Dell, lived as a family of four in this house until World War II, until the daughters married and moved away. Years later, Harry passed away and when the mother Della passed in 1979, the daughters decided to sell the home to the Commonwealth Government to preserve its' history. Della had never upgraded the home in that time, so it was frozen in time from the 1920's. The government decided to open the home to the public, as a preserved example of the early history of Canberra, complete with original carpet and furnishings. Visitors can take a tour around the house each weekend and get an insight into life for the early settlers on the Limestone Plains. See here for details.
Wear booties as you walk on original carpets at Calthorpe's House, Red Hill
5/ Federal Golf Club is a scenic golf course tucked away in the bushland, accessible from Red Hill Drive that travels up to the Lookout and café. It is a private golf course for members and their guests, as well as for members of reciprocal golf clubs from around the country. It is a scenic and quiet area to play golf, with many kangaroos lining the course - and often right in the middle of the fairways. It is also a popular venue for weddings, with the scenic Brindabella mountain ranges as the far backdrop. See here for details.
Red Hill is a scenic area to explore, with stately homes, views, leafy streets and kangaroos who also make it their home. Why don't you go for a drive and explore it this weekend?
Get (very!) close to nature at Federal Golf Club! Image: Original photos from Federal Golf Club Facebook