Wanniassa Hills is located 20 minutes south of the city, in the region of Tuggeranong. It is part of the Canberra Nature Park, which consists of 33 nature reserves around the city and suburbs. If you enjoy bushwalks, nature, birdlife, wildlife and scenic views over the region, then exploring a Canberra Nature Park is an enjoyable way to spend an hour, a day or the whole weekend. They are dotted throughout almost every suburb in Canberra, which makes them easily accessible for locals and tourists to escape the city and get back to nature.
Wanniassa Hills is one of those reserves, with well-marked walking trails within its rolling hills and 286 hectares. It is positioned within the suburbs of Fadden, Wanniassa and Macarthur, with over a dozen entry points into the reserve. On my visit, I aimed to walk to the top of Mount Wanniassa, located in the middle of the reserve, so I could do some uphill exercise and experience the panoramic views over the entire region...
View from the top looking down to Wanniassa Hills, Tuggeranong and over to the Brindabella mountain ranges
If you are short on time and looking for the most direct walking route up the top of Mount Wanniassa, park your car close to 24 Richter Close in Fadden and then follow the pathway between the houses. This leads up to one of the main entrances, less than 50 metres from this point.
On my walk I started further along the ridgeline, at another entrance next to 65 Nicklin Crescent. After bending down and climbing through the hole in the gate, you then walk along a concrete path which leads straight up the hill and then left, along the back of homes in Fadden, before meeting up with the main entrance on the right of the path. After reaching the main gate, climb through the hole in the centre of this gate and then start the uphill climb, which will twist and turn up the side of the mountain. It doesn't take long to walk up to the top of Mount Wanniassa from here, but it will certainly get your heart rate going and your legs crying out to stop!
One of the entrances to the walk, next to 65 Nicklin Crescent, Fadden
As you walk up the hill, past wattle blooming along the side of the path, you soon get to a large water tank straight ahead on the path. Keep walking past it to the top of the hill and turn left and join the main path. After a short walk, you will see the sign for the Mount Wanniassa walking trail heading up to the summit. It isn't far to walk up to the top from here, but it is a direct uphill climb. If you are a local and after a quick burst of uphill exercise, with a reward at the end, then you could easily walk up Mount Wanniassa each weekend to improve your fitness - and see something new every time.
Walk past wattle, kangaroos and a water tank - and then turn left...
Once you arrive at the top, the hill flattens out and you can then walk along the top to get to the Trig, which is a structure which signifies the official summit of the walk. From here it is a picturesque view over to the Brindabella Mountains, the whole of Tuggeranong and also to Woden and Telstra Tower in the far distance.
A short and steep walk up, with views revealing themselves on both sides...
When it's time to go back down, you can either return back the way you came or continue along the pathway straight ahead and it will take you back down to the main gate. This walk took me less than 30 minutes walking up and 20 minutes going back down the way I came, stopping to take photos along the way. A good feature about this walk however, is that if you have more time and you want to explore further, there are a myriad of paths that twist and turn around the reserve and all the way up to Macarthur's Hill. This reserve is also popular with dog walkers, as dogs are allowed to be walked through the reserve, as long as they have their leads on.
For myself, I enjoyed this peaceful haven in the middle of the suburbs. I didn't see anyone else on my walk, except for kangaroos grazing on the hill, so I could simply walk along and hear the calls of the birdlife - and my own heavy breathing! If you feel like escaping the city this weekend, you don't need to go too far - just explore a local Canberra Nature Park and re-connect with nature.