Canberra, the capital of Australia, is also know as the the bush capital due to it being designed to include natural hills, ridges and buffer zones throughout the city. In addition the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) that is home to Canberra also contains just one National Park, Namadgi. What we lack in numbers of parks we make up for in size with Namadgi covering 46% of the Territory’s land mass.
While these green spaces, right on our doorstep, are often taken for granted by many locals those in the know take the opportunity to get out and hike both within the city limits as well just a short drive away from residential areas.
The following hikes are our top 10 hikes under 10 km you should do at least once. Many of these trails will be accessible to most hikers regardless of their experience and fitness levels but there are a couple of toughies in here as well that need a degree of fitness.
All the trails on this list have been walked by Gill and myself, and each trail has something that makes it special for us. If something catches your eye, you can click on the links below for our full reviews. We hope you enjoy!
Out favourite sub 10 km walk and also one of our Top 10 Favourites. This is without a doubt the best standalone summit walk under 10 km in the Canberra region providing some spectacular views to the valley below. Located within the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve this walk is easy to access; just remember to start early to avoid the crowds and wear ‘grippy’ footwear for the summit.
This is probably the most walked trail in Canberra. Located behind the Australian War Memorial this walk provides excellent views to the central core of Canberra. Great as either a day time or night time hike. Spectacular as an early morning hike in winter when the fog blankets the city centre.
This walk provides easy access to Aboriginal Rock art in the Namadgi National Park and a great opportunity to see kangaroos, and in spring lots of wildflowers. In addition, this walk also provides a short introduction to the Bimberi Wilderness. There are lots of wildflowers on this walk in mid spring.
This walk, located in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, was a bit of a surprise for me. At just 1.8 km in length this short walk has some great views over the reserve and goes past Church Rock, hence the name. More importantly, at least for me, it just has that ‘certain something’ which is hard to define and which was a real surprise on this relatively short walk.
I must admit I’m usually not a fan of walking up hills just for the sake of it – I just don’t see the point. The Mount Franklin Summit Walk is a remote walk on the western border of the Australian Capital Territory that combines views to Canberra’s remote wilderness regions along with providing an insight into our historic past.
One of Canberra’s most loved bush walks and a must do for any keen walker. The view from the summit is back towards the city of Canberra and while the walk to the viewing area is pretty much uphill, if you take your time it is not too difficult.
This is one of those walks where it’s all about the destination. The top and summit of the hill are littered with large granite boulders (or tors) that are common to this area and this is where the walk’s name comes from. The views from the summit are excellent with the added bonus of being able to view the obsolete astronomy equipment and thus providing an insight into the importance of this site and others at Orroral Valley and nearby Honeysuckle Creek to the space program.
Mount Painter is located in northern Canberra within the city confines and has views to nearby Black Mountain and Lake Burley Griffin. Turn to the right and you are looking at views of adjacent rural Canberra and the Brindabella Mountains.
The Settlers Track ‘short walk’ is another of the walks located at the southern end of the Namadgi National Park on the way to Adaminaby. This track can be done either as a long version (approximately 10 km) or ‘short’ version (approximately 7 km) depending on your available time and/or fitness level.
This walk is as it sounds has the destination being a secluded swamp. This walk is not as heavily used as some adjacent walks so if you want some privacy with minimal up and down hill sections then this is your walk.