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12 Must-Do Nature Walks In Canberra

If you love spending time outdoors, Canberra is the perfect place for you. Known as the Bush Capital, Canberra is famous for their nature reserves, mountain ranges, botanical gardens and scenic walking trails that cater to all fitness levels. With many of these nature walks located just a short drive from Deco Hotel Canberra, you absolutely must take advantage of Canberra’s great outdoors on your short or extended stay.

So if you’re looking to stretch your legs and take in some of Canberra’s natural beauty, here is a list of our 12 favourite nature walks within the area. Get those walking shoes on and experience the best of Canberra’s great outdoors. Mother Nature is calling!

Weston Park 

Images via Weekend Notes | Australia's Guide

Weston Park is located on the south side of Canberra, this 40-hectare urban park is the perfect choice if you’re looking for an easy stroll, or if you have young children. With a water playground and wading pool for the kids, a beach and swimming area, electric barbecues and picnic tables, Weston Park is a wonderful destination for a relaxed afternoon with the family.

This 4km walk usually takes around 45mins. A favourite route is to park at the end of Weston Road at Karrajong Point and follow the walkway towards West Yarralumla Peninsula. Continue on to The Pond, West Lane, The Ramble and take a short detour to the Yarralumla Nursery. When you’re done there, carry on towards Orawa Bay, East Bank, East Yarralumla Peninsula and finally back to Karrajong Point.

Located off Weston Road, Yarralumla ACT 2600
Open 7am to 11pm every day

Top Tip: Visit the Yarralumla Gallery and Oaks Brasserie café near the Yarralumla Nursery (closed on Monday, open 8:30 am on Saturday and 10 am the rest of the week) if you prefer not to pack a picnic basket.

Australian National Botanic Gardens

Images via Parks Australia | Australia National Botanic Garden | First Stop Singapore

Located at the base of Black Mountain and covering 35 hectares, the Australian National Botanic Garden features the world’s largest collection of native Australian flora. There are guided walks and group tours available every day, although you can choose to explore on your own.

Maps of all the trails are available from the visitor centre, with the Flower To Tower walk (5.4km return) being a favourite for avid walkers. The Interactive Children’s walk is a treat no matter how old your kids are, and the grownups will enjoy it just as much!

Located in Clunies Ross St, Acton ACT 2601
Open 9 am-4 pm on Saturdays and 8:30 am to 5 pm the rest of the week

Top Tip: There are a number of wheelchair-friendly trails through the Gardens, although they are extensive and hilly in some parts. Stop at the visitors' centre first to find out which trails are best and to enquire about an electric wheelchair, which is available free of charge.

Namadgi National Park

Images via Weekend Notes | Canberra Notice Board

Named after the Aboriginal word for mountain ranges that stretch across South-Western ACT, the Namadgi National Park is home to more than 160km of well-marked walking trails. The Namadgi Visitor Centre is within easy access of Canberra and features permanent displays that explain the geological history, flora and fauna you’ll find in the park. There is also information about the Ngunnawal people, who are the original inhabitants of the region.

Located at Naas Rd, Tharwa ACT 2620
Hours are 9 am - 4 pm on weekdays and 9 am – 4:30 pm on weekends and public holidays (closed Christmas Day)

Top Tip: Look out for Spencer the sleepy python at the visitors' centre, and for wombats while you’re out on your walk.

"Bridge to Bridge" - Commonwealth Bridge to Kings Avenue Bridge

Images via Aussie Bushwalking | Walk Locally

Take the scenic walk around Canberra’s man-made Lake Burley Griffin that skirts the edge of the city centre. With the Bridge to Bridge walk, you’ll get to see a variety of national monuments, views of Mount Ainslie, Black Mountain and the Brindabellas which are home to some of the highest peaks in Australia.

Commonwealth Bridge located at Commonwealth Avenue, Canberra ACT 2600

Top Tip: Turn your walk into an all-day adventure by exploring the many attractions along the route. We suggest the National Museum of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, High Court of Australia and the Carillon.

Mount Ainslie Summit Trail 

Images via Visit Canberra | Australian Hiker | ABC

Also known as the Kokoda Memorial Trail, the Mount Ainslie Summit Walk begins behind the Australian War Memorial in Remembrance Park. The 4.5km walk is a test of fitness but around 200 people use this track every day. The beauty along every step and the reward at the top are a large part of its popularity, but the fact that it is a paved path doesn’t hurt either!

At the start of the trail, you’ll find a memorial plaque explaining where the Mt Ainslie Summit track got its name. You'll also encounter other informative signage along the route.

Located at Remembrance Park, Campbell ACT 2612
There are no set hours for this track, but avoid the midday heat if possible

Top Tip: Mount Ainslie is the second highest peak within the city itself.

One Tree Hill Summit

Images via Phil’s Bushwalking Blog | Riot Act

One Tree Hill Summit is a winding 8.4km trail that is located in the village of Hall, and, thanks to its spectacular views, is one of the most frequented trails in Canberra. It also forms part of the 145km Canberra Centenary Trail and is a great introduction to what you might experience along this renowned route.

There is plenty of birdlife to enjoy as you make your way gradually upwards, and once you descend, head into the picturesque village of Hall for a bite to eat.

Trailhead located at Hoskins Street, Hall ACT 2618
The trail is open 24 hours but is closed when there is a total fire ban

Top Tip: Keep an eye out for the critically endangered Orange Sunshine Moth once you reach the summit.

Booroomba Rocks

Images via We Are Explorers | Johnny Boy’s Walkabout Blog

Located in Namadgi National Park, Booroomba Rocks offers a breathtaking look at the Brindabella Range and provides some of the best views of Canberra. You’ll be walking through tall forests with brooding granite cliffs looming overhead where you might spot a rock climber or two. Visit during spring if you want to enjoy the abundance of wildflowers found in this area.

There are two different trails to take advantage of here, a 2.5km trail that starts at the Booroomba Rocks car park or the longer 11.5k return trip that begins just off the Honeysuckle Creek Campground.

Located at Namadgi National Park, Tharwa ACT 2620
Hours are 9 am - 4 pm on weekdays and 9 am – 4:30 pm on weekends and public holidays (closed Christmas Day)

Top Tip: The views can be blocked by heavy cloud cover or fog during high rainfall periods and early winter mornings so plan your trip based on the weather!

Mount Painter Summit Walk 

Images via Australian Hiker

When it comes to stunning rural walks close to urban areas, Australia’s Bush Capital has been blessed with some of the best. One of the easiest yet most rewarding hikes is the Mount Painter Summit Walk. A comfortable, but quick-ish pace will get you to the top in just 20 minutes, and from there you can enjoy 360-degree views of everything from Lake Burley Griffin to the Brindabellas.

Located at Canberra Nature Park, Cook ACT 2614
The trail is open 24 hours

Top Tip: There are several routes to the top of Mount Painter and the trailheads can be hard to spot as they look like driveways. The one between houses 20 and 22 in Booth Crescent is a local favourite starting point, while the trailhead that is easiest to locate is the one on Bindubi Street.

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Images via Urban Adventures | High Country Online | Weekend Notes

The Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is located just 45 minutes’ drive from the Canberra CBD and is home to 22 marked trails that range from a quick 15-minute walk to full-day hike. The longest walk is the 8.2km Gibraltar Peak Trail and there are also regular guided activities that cover a variety of topics about the park. The quick Hanging Rock Trail will take you to a massive boulder, once used as shelter, that seems to be suspended in midair.

Located at Paddys River Rd, Paddys River ACT 2620
Hours are 7:30 am to 6 pm every day

Top Tip: The Gibraltar Peak Trail sign telling you which way to travel is rather small but it’s ok if you miss it, you’ll just end up on the Xanthorrhoea Loop Trail instead, which will still take you to Gibraltar Peak.

Black Mountain 

Images via Weekend Notes | ABC | Australian Hiker

Of all Canberra’s nature parks, Black Mountain is the most diverse. While exploring this park you can encounter 100 species of birds, 500 species of plants and as many as 5000 species of insects. There are not many other places where you’ll get to see as many as 60 species of orchids!

Some trails you might want to consider are the Black Mountain Forest Track (3.5km return), the Bushland Nature Walk (2.2km return), or the Black Mountain Summit Trail (3.5km).

Located at Mitchell, Canberra
Black Mountain Nature Reserve is open 24 hours. See below for parking information

Top Tip: Several of the trailheads for the tracks around Black Mountain can be found just off the Australian National Botanic Garden’s carpark.

Murrumbidgee Discovery Track

Images via Flickr | Trail Maze | ABC

The Murrumbidgee Discovery Track is a river walk that will take you from Point Hut Crossing in the South, through Pine Island and Kambah Pool all the way to Casuarina Sands in the North. The entire trail covers 27km, but many turn this into a series of day trips, with the 7km Kambah Pool to Pine Island trek being a particular favourite.

Located in Paddys River, Canberra
The trail is open 24 hours. Bring outdoor camping equipment if you plan to stay here overnight

Top Tip: There are several great swimming spots along the route.

National Arboretum 

Images via The Kid Bucket List | Visit Canberra | Weekend Notes

The National Arboretum is a visionary destination that showcases Australia’s commitment to sustainability and a greener future in the best possible way. Here, you will find over 44,000 rare, endangered and symbolic trees from more than 100 countries spread over 250 hectares.

Home to the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection, the one-of-a-kind Pod Playground and walking or riding trails ranging from 20 to 90 minutes long and there is something for everyone to enjoy here!

Located at Forest Drive, Molonglo Valley ACT 2611
Hours are from 6 am to 8:30 pm daily

Top Tip: Two of the forests are over 100 years old, but many of the trees in the rest of the arboretum are still young.