The Urambi Hills Nature Reserve and walking trails are located in the Tuggeranong suburb of Kambah, 20 minutes south of the CBD. It is part of the Canberra Nature Park, which is made up of 33 reserves dotted around the Canberra region. Many of these reserves include the grassy hills that can be seen all over the city, with spectacular 360 degree views from their summits. On my quest to explore this city, I have begun to tick off a few of these reserves - Mount Ainslie, Black Mountain, Mount Painter and Tuggeranong Hill, with a long list still to explore.
The Urambi Hills Nature Reserve caught my eye on the list, as I had driven past it before and was intrigued by the exposed hilltop, which would provide an impressive view of the Tuggeranong Town Centre below. From looking at the map, the walk to the top also appeared to be reasonably short, which was just what I was looking for on a brisk autumn morning with arctic winds howling through the city. Although the weather was cool, the clear skies would make it the perfect weather to experience the views from summit, 713 metres above sea level. With a warm jacket, beanie and an excitement that only comes when heading off on a new adventure, I set off to Kambah to finally see what is up the top of this rolling green landscape.
Clear paths & scenic beauty at the top of Urambi Hills Nature Park
There are two ways to get to the top of the summit, from opposite ends of the reserve - see here for a map. The most obvious entrance is from Learmonth Drive, close to the Athllon Drive intersection - just look for the small dirt parking area and signage at the entrance to the walk. Although I was tempted to stop here, with the few other cars that were already parked, I continued to drive along to find the second entrance on the other side of the range, in Meredith Circuit. (In hindsight I'm glad that I started from this end, as the walk isn't as steep and it took the scenic route to get to the official summit, at the end of the walk).
From here, walk through the narrow gate to the Canberra Nature Park sign and turn left, then walk up to the top of the first hill...
The Meredith Circuit entrance and start of the walk
At the top of the hill was a locked gate with a hole in the middle, which you put a leg into and climb through. From here it was more uphill walking, with the view revealing itself on the western side with stunning mountain ranges, farming properties and river ridges down below. As the weather on my visit was windy, there were no birds along the route, however I saw several kangaroos blending into the countryside on the slopes going down.
The path then flattened out for a short period, before rising again to another steep hill which had a short path to detour up to the very top, to have a look at the expansive view. From here you can see across to Telstra Tower, which is just a speck in the distance, and across the southern suburbs of Canberra. When looking across the Capital City from above, it is clear that Canberra was designed as a "Garden City". When the city was first built, thousands of trees were planted all around the city and suburbs, with the first tree planted in 1914. These now mature trees play a large part in the city landscape and make a scenic view from above.
Tuggeranong, Woden and Telstra Tower on Black Mountain (seen as a small line on the far left)
As I continued on, the walk then became even more scenic, with green rolling hills and blue sky that just seemed to take over the whole landscape. The path meandered down along a ridge and then back up the top of the next higher hilltop. By this stage, the walk had only taken 15 minutes, so ensure you take your time and enjoy the scenery, as the end is in sight.
Walking over to the second hill, the official summit of Urambi Hills
After a rocky walk along the edge of the ridge, I then reached the summit of the Urambi Hills Nature Park, with the obelisk (or Trig) to mark my arrival. From here the views over Tuggeranong Town Centre were impressive, with Lake Tuggeranong shimmering in the sunlight. The view then extended south all the way over to the Brindabella Mountain ranges, Mount Tennant (1,375 metres above sea level) and beyond. From this vantage point you can choose to return back the way you came, or walk down the hill to the Learmonth Drive entrance, to explore the reserve further. I chose to return the way I came, to experience the rolling green scenery all over again.
Official summit of the Urambi Hills Nature Park, with views of Lake Tuggeranong and the Brindabella Mountain ranges
After each walk I choose from the Canberra Nature Park list, I find a new stand-out favourite. The Urambi Hills Nature Park is no exception and this spectacular walk has become another firm favourite, to do again in the future. On some walks it may be the birdlife, kangaroos, views, or challenge of the walk that is the highlight, however on this walk it is the green rolling hills and the sheer size of the sky that took my breath away. The wide blue sky seemed to take up more than its fair share of the expansive landscape, with its blue colour a stunning contrast to the green hills below. As well as seeing the region from a new perspective, the short walk also provides an aerobic workout on its many uphill sections.
Although it only took just over 10 minutes to get back down to the car, the memory of the Urambi Hills Nature Park will last much longer.
Natural beauty, just minutes from Tuggeranong Town Centre