• Distance 6.2km
  • Altitude max 793m
  • Altitude min 653m
  • Duration 2 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 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 Hiker Difficulty Grading System is based on the australian standard for measuring trail hikes.

Parking
Toilets
Rubbish Bins
Camping Grounds
Showers

Northern Campground Walk ACT (6.2 km)

Australian Capital Territory

Nearest Town

Bonner, Canberra, ACT

Starting Location

Mulligans Flat Road. Trail head car park

Mulligans Flat Road car park. Your start and finish point for this trail

Finish Location

Mulligans Flat Road. Trail head car park

Best Time to Travel

Year round

Northern Campground Walk Summary

The walk to the Northern Campground from the Mulligans Flat Road car park is just on 3.1 km each way on a reasonably well marked path, part of which forms the Canberra Centenary Trail. This is an easy day walk to an excellent campsite if you are feeling withdrawal symptoms from the outdoors or you have never camped before.

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. You start this walk with the suburbs in full view across the Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve. Access to 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 which houses one of Canberra’s largest kangaroo concentrations. On the walk I did this write up, I stopped counting at 100 roo’s. I’ve seen some pretty big kangaroos in my life but without a doubt the large male we spotted near the car park on the return leg of the trip is the largest kangaroo I have ever seen. He was close on two metres tall and very healthy. With plenty of food and water its not surprising.

The trail starts 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). To reach the Northern Campground turn right and follow the fence line up the hill until you come to a gate. At this point you converge back on to the Canberra Centenary Trail and you are now heading along the well marked path to the Northern Campground.

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 average hiker will comfortably do this walk to the Northern Campground in under an hour, or allow 2-2.5 hours if you are doing the return walk in one day.

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. If you camp under the shelter with the divider, try to avoid the trail side as early morning walkers or late evening bike riders will come reasonably close to your tent as they pass. The return trip starts with a walk up to Oak Hill then back down the way you came the day before to the car park at the start of the trip.

If you are feeling fit you can walk the 18 km (approximately) to the township of Hall from Mulligans Flat and either have a car waiting at each end or have someone pick you up. If you are really looking for a challenge walk from Mulligans Flat to the township of Hall and return for a 36 km trip.

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

The Canberra Centenary Trail signage. While part of this trail follows the Centenary Trail you start the walk on the Golden Sun Moth Walk before going up to the Centenary Trail

This big male kangaroo doesn’t look too large in this photo but he was close on 1.8 metres+ when fully standing

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

Pre dinner snacks

There are two water tanks at this site. Only one tank has a formal faucet. The other has a farm type valve which is hard to get water out of without wasting.

Getting There

Northern Campground access from the GPO (image from Google maps)

Google Earth Satellite image showing the trail on the landscape

Things to Know

  • This is an easy day walk but is one of Canberra’s best camp sites for hikers just transitioning to overnight hikes. This is Canberra’s only designated campground within the city confines that is also in bushland. The majority of Canberra’s camping sites are located firmly in urban areas or located in the remote National Parks and nature reserves
  • The mob of kangaroos that live in the paddock at the start of the walk is one of the biggest in Canberra. This is a great place to take tourists on this side of the city
  • There is a disabled toilet facility at the Northern Campground. Bring your own toilet paper just in case
  • The water supply at the Northern Campground is marked as not for drinking. I suggest that you boil/filter the water to be on the safe side
  • If camping in mid-winter come prepared for temperatures to get down as low as -7° Celsius or colder
  • This is a shared trail so watch out for bike riders who are supposed to give way to hikers but often don’t
  • There is a booking system for camping at this site and while I have never seen a ranger turn up at night time its always a possibility. The payment is under $5 per person with the fee helping to subsidise maintenance of this facility
  • The Northern Campground is limited to a maximum of 20 campers per night. Bookings for this site can be made here
  • Fires are not allowed

No fires allowed

Disclaimer

This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker

Comments

comments