Suburbs of Bonner and Forde in northern Canberra
Mulligans Flat Road. Trail head car park
Mulligans Flat Road car park. Your start and finish at either end of this trail but I recommend starting at Mulligans Flat to take advantage of the cafes in Hall at the end of the walk
Corners of Hoskins and Hall Streets in Hall
Year round. Section of this trail can be closed during periods of total fire ban so check before you walk in the hotter months
This walk incorporates a number of other walks starting from this trail head including the main part of the short Golden Sun Moth Walk, and the Northern Campground walk. The majority of this trail with exception of the first section that winds its way through the large paddock at the start of the walk also forms part of Canberra’s largest trail the Canberra Centenary Trail. As you near the township of Hall you can also divert up to the summit of One Tree Hill if you are feeling energetic. This walk can be done as a two day walk with a stop of in the Northern Campground or done in a single day with a light pack if your up for the longer distance. The walk starts on the edge of the suburbs of Bonner and Forde which is well under 30 minutes drive from the centre of Canberra. This walk can be done as an end to end walk or if you are really being energetic and want to do around 29km then you can walk to Hall and then turn around and walk back.
You start this walk with the suburbs in full view across the Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve and access the reserve is either by crossing a stile or walking over the nearby horse access. The first kilometre of the walk is through a grassland sparsley dotted with taller trees and shrubs on the Golden Sun Moth Walk but as you reach the other side of the main paddock, the Golden Sun Moth Walk diverges to the left (follow the signs). From here you head up a steepish but short hill and when you hit the fence at the top turn left which means that you are now on the Canberra Centenary Trail.
Once you go through the gate you will walk along the ridge line and provides excellent views of northern Canberra and of the still working farm below. After a steady but short incline you will reach the highest point on this trip at Oak Hill. Stay on the trail as crossing over the fencing on either side will take you onto private property. From Oak Hill you can see to the centre of Canberra and down to the southern town centre of Woden and beyond so this is a good opportunity for some panorama shots of northern and central Canberra. Continue along the ridge a short distance and you start your descent down the hill and its short switchbacks that lead to the campsite. The final approach towards the Campground is steepish for walkers but if you ever do this on a pushbike be aware that as you approach the bottom of this hill you have a 90 degree turn so you don’t want to be going too fast otherwise you either hit the tree, or the warning sign (there is nowhere else to go) if you are going too fast to stop.
Once you have made this turn its another 30 metres and you are into the Northern Campground paddock. This paddock has a camping shelter that will comfortably fit two tents, another shelter with a table and benches, a tent platform, a toilet facility and two water tanks. In addition to the built structures there is also enough room to pitch tents throughout the paddock for potentially a maximum of 20 people. The average hiker will comfortably do this walk to the Northern Campground in under an hour. This is a good spot to take a break as well as using the composting toilet.
Continue on through the gate at the end of the paddock still keeping to the trail. From here the trail winds itself though well treed areas and open grasslands as it heads towards the township of hall which is around 11km away.
This section from the Northern Campground to Hall can be closed when a total fire ban is in place so make sure you check if doing this section during the summer months. If there is a fire, there is no where to go.
A large number of cyclists use the trail and even though hikers have right of way most cyclists aren’t aware of this so its just easier, and safer, to get off the trail as they pass. As you move round the valley below you will come to the access point up to One Tree Hill. If your feeling keen and don’t mind adding an extra kilometre to you walk then head up and take a look. I usually do One Tree Hill as its own walk so will usually bypass this option. From here it’s around 3.5km back to the township of Hall with most of this on a slight downhill slope.
When you reach the township of Hall follow the Canberra Centenary trail signage, which will take you past the small shopping centre in the main street which has a couple of cafes which is a good place to take a break before your return walk/drive back to the starting point. If you are doing this walk as a return walk you will be doing nearly 29km so allow enough time to do it the the daylight.
I do this walk at least once a year and never get tired of it.
Entry stile into the reserve
Dogs aren’t allowed in this area because of the need to protect wildlife but also because of the fox baits
This big male kangaroo doesn’t look too large in this photo but he was close on 1.8 metres+ when standing all upright
Cockatoos flock near the waterhole
Once you go up the hill go through the fence and you are now on the Canberra Centenary Trail
An example of the trail, easy to spot and easy to walk on
Don’t wander off the trail otherwise you are on private property
Working farm on the side of the trail
View from Oak Hill
Entering the Northern Campground paddock
This shelter is divided into two. The best choice to set up your tent is the side away from the trail
Toilet block at the Northern Campground
Shelter with table which is a good place to shelter out of the elements or just to take a break
Someone’s got too much free time. you will com cross this area of little rock cairns about 20-30 minutes after leaving the Northern campground
Black Mountain in the distance.
Shingleback Lizard on the trail when we walked this during summertime
Bike parking area for one Tree Hill. If you are feeling energetic walk up this hill for some great views which will add around 1km to the walk
Panorama across the valleys below
New housing being built in the valley below
This trail is heavily used and is one of the most groomed unsealed trails in the Territory
Trail head in the township of Hall. Follow the Canberra Centenary Trail signs and they will take you into the shopping area about 500metres away
Hall main street
Northern Campground access from the GPO (image from Google maps)
This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker