• Distance 6.8km
  • Altitude max 719m
  • Altitude min 573m
  • Duration 2.5 hours
  • Trail type Return
Three Stars

Three Stars

Worth Doing

The Australian Hiker Experience Rating is a measure of the overall quality of a walk. It is intended to help you decide whether to walk a trail, not to measure anything objective. Consider this our personal take on the walk.

Grade Four

Grade Four

Bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may be long, rough and very steep. Directional signage may be limited.

The Australian Hiker Difficulty Grading System is based on the australian standard for measuring trail hikes.

Parking
Toilets
Rubbish Bins
Camping Grounds
Showers

Blue Tiles Walk ACT (6.8km)

ACT

Nearest Town

Queanbeyan, NSW

Starting Location

Blue Tiles Walk, ACT

Finish Location

Car park at the Molonglo Gorge Picnic Area

Blue Tiles Walking Track Review

The Blue Tiles Walk located on the eastern border of Canberra provides an opportunity to do a riverside walk with some great scenery, all in fairly close(ish) proximity to the city centre.

On the day we did this walk we were looking for a walk close to home as we had limited time and didn’t want to spend time travelling south to complete the last of our long walks in Namadgi National Park. While we didn’t have high expectations of this little known walk it ended up being a bit of a surprise to us, and a pleasant one at that.

The walk starts in the Molonglo Gorge Picnic area on the eastern border of Canberra and you get there by heading down Pialligo Avenue as if you are heading towards Queanbeyan but instead turn onto Sutton Road. Not long after turning onto Sutton Road you take the turnoff onto Kowen Road and head to the Molonglo Gorge Picnic Area. There is a distinct lack of signage on this road and you will come across a number of locked gates but by taking the available road to its end point, you will reach your destination.

The picnic area itself has good facilities and contains male and female toilets, a number of bench tables out in the open, gas BBQs, a large covered BBQ area, and the occasional water tap. One thing this walk is short on is directional and interpretive signage so you do need to pay attention particularly once you start and when presented with choices of trail, stay close to the river and follow the main trail option rather than the lesser used alternatives.

This trail follows the Gorge with the destination being the Blue Tiles picnic area at about 3.4 km. The Blue Tiles picnic area contains picnic tables and while there is a water tank it is not in use so come prepared with your own water or bring a filter to drink from the river. This would be a good area for swimming on hot days so if you are that way inclined come prepared.

On the day we did this walk the area was in drought so the landscape was pretty parched. Wildlife was limited to the occasional kangaroo and a couple of shingleback lizards but given how dry it was and how low the water level was, there wasn’t much else to be seen including bird life.

The trail itself looks to be one of the older recreational trails in Canberra based on the trail infrastructure and it could use some love and attention, as well as some additional signage. Having said that it has a uniqueness about it that makes it feel like it belongs in another city. The trail tread is rough and can’t in any way be described as groomed and as such this is something to keep an eye on – some sections of the trail are quite narrow. While there are no cliffs there are some steep drop offs so keep an eye on your footing as well as any young children you have with you. The trail has plenty of ups and down and when combined with the rough trail tread makes for a demanding walk that can be done in 2-3 hours if fit. Alternatively take your time and make a day of it.

The last kilometre of the walk leading to Blue Tiles is more exposed with the Gorge opening up and containing less trees – you will need sun protection for this section during the hotter months. The return trip back to carpark is on the same route but is actually harder than the trip out due to having more downhill sections.

Overall we really enjoyed this trail as it provided a point of difference to most other trails in the Canberra region. Being a gorge walk and while doable year round, we suggest you avoid it in periods of drought so you can see it at its best.

Trail head picnic area

Undercover picnic area

Toilet facilities at the trail head

Kangaroo at the trail head car park

Trail head bushland

Trail head signage. This signage provide a brief overview but is in need of repair and updating

Trail head

Just beyond the trail head you cross a small bridge

Stumpy Tail Lizard

Molonglo River. Your walk pretty much follows the river for the whole trip

Train on the other side of the Gorge

Seat on the start of the trail

Stairs on the trail are built out of stone

Paper Daisy

Ridgeway residential area on the other side of the gorge

Yellow Paper Daisies

Molonglo River Gorge

When you have a choice of trail, follow the more obvious option but make sure you keep in touch with the river

Trail example

Blue Tiles picnic area in the distance

Unused water tank at Blue Tiles

Blue Tiles

Live on the trail on the Blue Tiles Walk

Return to the trail head

Getting There

Google map showing the distance from the Canberra GPO to the trail head. This walk is only 22 km from the Canberra GPO and will take around 30 minutes to reach from the city centre

Turn off Sutton Road onto Kowen Road

Reserve entry. Once you turn off onto Kowen Road follow the (poorly) signposted road to the picnic area. You can’t really go the wrong way as there are a series of locked gates preventing you from going anywhere else

Car park at the trail head

Things to Know

  • Bring your own water or a filter to use the river water
  • Bring fly repellent in the hotter months because the flies are numerous and active
  • Keep an eye on young children as while there are no cliffs on this trail, there are some steepish drop offs right on the edge of narrow trails

Disclaimer

This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker

Comments

comments