• Distance 11.3km
  • Altitude max 729m
  • Altitude min 634m
  • Duration 2.5 hours
  • Trail type Circuit
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 Three

Grade Three

Suitable for most ages and fitness levels. Some bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may have short steep hill sections a rough surface and many steps. Walks up to 20km.

The Australian Grading system is based on the australian standard for measuring trail hikes.

Rubbish Bins
Camping Grounds

Mulligans Circuit ACT (11.3km)


Nearest Town

Forde, Canberra

Best Time of the Year to Travel

Year round. Springtime after rains will allow you to see more birds and wildflowers

Starting Location

Car park entry for the Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve Bird Walk

Shelter and street signs at Mulligans car park

Bike racks if you feel so inclined to ride to the trail head

Finish Location

Trail head car park located just off Mulligans Flat Road in the suburb of Forde

Mulligans Circuit Review

The Mulligans Circuit walk is the longest walk in this area at just over 11km and for me my favourite. Over half this walk is outside of the fenced off area that forms the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary but still contained in the Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve. One of the things that I really enjoy about this walk is that you get a sense of remoteness due to the both the length of the walk as well as the distance from any roads. In addition you get great views as various locations along the trail, and you move through different types of woodlands as well as through rural areas at the back on this walk that abuts the ACT/NSW border.

This walk is on formed management trail, and while there is some interpretation signage located within the Woodland sanctuary itself you just have to trust that you are heading in the right direction. Start the walk from the Mulligans Flat carpark but instead of entering through the main gate turn off to the left about 300-400mtres at the first access road that you come to which is located at the the crest of the hill. You enter this gate and proceed to walk across the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary before exiting the sanctuary back into the reserve itself. This almost seems to be a bit counterintuitive but trust that you are heading in the right direction. Once you exit the sanctuary you will continue on the management road through various types of woodlands and some open grassy areas keeping the Sanctuary fence to your right.

This trail does have its ups and downs and while not a difficult trail at 11.3km in length is still a challenge. You will come to a ‘T’ intersection and given that you are skirting the woodland sanitary turn the the right and follow the road. You will come across a number of gates that will allow you access back into this Sanctuary if you decide to do so but keep on walking until you run into a gate and this is your access back into the Woodland Sanctuary. You will actually loose site of the fence line at the rear of the sanctuary. At the time of this walk a new section of  fence was still being constructed and it looked like the Woodland Sanctuary was being expanded. You will come to the Bustard Gate and some very obvious signages to bring you back into the sanctuary proper.

Walk your way back on the main road though the sanctuary and stop of at the various dams as well as the wool shed along the way. There is good interpretation signage inside the wool shed as well as a toilet at the rear which is access from the outside.

Continue your walk until you reach the main sanctuary gate and at this point you can either exit the main gate which is what we did, or walk along the inside of the fence to the same gate that you started the trail on. You then return to the car park to finish your walk.

This walk has lots to see. Apart from the lovely woodlands you get kangaroos, wallabies and a number of bird species that create a great walk right on the edge of town.

Part of this trail also forms part of the Canberra Centenary Trail

Kangaroo culling is currently underway in the area so nighttime walking is not possible at the moment

Fox (and dog) baits are down to control these animals which decimate the smaller wildlife. Dogs are not allowed in this reserve

Follow the trail signs to the turnoff on the left to the entry gate which is about 400metres from the car park. The main gate is around another 200metres further on

Into the Sanctuary. Make sure the spring loaded gate is closed properly to keep things in/out

The main fence is electric so hands off the very obvious live wires

The management road as you head across the sanctuary

Views into Canberra from inside the sanctuary

Wallaby inside the reserve. It’s hard to get close to the wallabies they just don’t have the confidence that the Kangaroos do

Mulligans Nature Reserve as from inside the sanctuary. The hill in this image is part the the Northern Camp Ground walk, the Golden Sun Moth walk and the North/Little Mulligans Circuit

Out of the sanctuary. Around half of this walk is outside the fenced of sanctuary which is where some of the best scenery is located

Outside woodlands. This is one of my favourite frosted areas in Canberra. It just has a nice feel about it

Kangaroos with good thick winter coates

Signage on the gates that show you were you are

Mulligans nature Reserve

Old farm machinery visible on the walk

Adjacent farm. This is private property, keep out

Stock loading area

Kangaroo mid bound

The steepest section of the trail. This section isn’t very long

Border marker post.

Border post close up. These posts were put in by the surveyors nearly 100 years ago when Canberra was first proposed. The last time I saw this post was about 8 years ago and it has definitely degenerated in that time

Trail example

Gate into the sanctuary if you wish to shorten the walk

White trunked Eucalyptus

Birds nest

Back into the sanctuary

Big Wallaby and for once it didn’t hop away

The management road back inside the sanctuary

The interpretation signage is excellent on this trail

Sock testing. I was looking for somewhere to stand in the water to test out a new pair of socks. I remembered why I do this in summer rather than the middle of winter

Wool shed. Drop in and look at the interpretation signage. There is also a toilet at the rear of the building at the left of this image

Don’t drink the water. I have but I filtered it

Toilet sign on the left hand front side of the building

Woolshed Interpretation signage inside the shed

Mulligans Flat Bird walk exit point on the left

Out the gate.

Back to the car park

Getting There

Google Map to the trail head for the Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve Bird Walk from the Canberra GPO which is about 19km:

  • This walk is located on the northern edge of the Australian Capital Territory. the Car park is located in the suburb of Forde

Car park for the Mulligans Circuit Walk

Things to Know

  • Toilets: There is a toilet at the wool shed which depending on which direction you start will be close to the start (about 1.5km) or the finish of the walk is about 1.5km into the walk
  • Water: You should bring your own water however there is a water tank at the woodshed as well as dams along the water but I suggest bringing a filter
  • Phone: The mobile phone coverage is excellent on this trail
  • Trail: This trail is walkable year round and is mainly on management road
  • Other: 
  • Dogs: No dogs allowed
  • Other: 
    • This trail is best done in a clockwise detection as the scenery and the views are better this way


This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker

Australian Hiker Newsletter

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