Australia’s capital, Canberra, is a city within a nature park and there’s no better way to explore it than on foot. Canberra’s scenic hikes will soon be just an eight hour flight away, with Singapore Airlines’ set to commence direct services between Singapore and Canberra on 20 September.
Since more than half of the Australian Capital Territory is either a nature reserve national park or state forest, we have narrowed down five must-do walks catered for all fitness levels.
1. Canberra Centenary Trail
For the hardcore walker, this 145km loop passes many natural and man-made cultural icons of the capital. You don’t have to do it all in one go, of course – it’s divided into sections so you can tackle it bit by bit, averaging 20km a day over a week.
Keep an eye out for kangaroos, wombats, echidnas and wedge-tailed eagles. If you're lucky you might be able to see a platypus, as they're shy and nocturnal.
2. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
There are lots of different walks of various grades. The nature reserve is organised so you can hop into the car to get from one area to the next and then do a short walk. The friendly rangers at the Visitor Centre can help you work out what to do and see.
There're lots of kangaroos in this nature reserve and there's also a breeding programme for the endangered brush-tailed rock wallaby. You'll definitely have a good chance of them. Koalas are also a common appearance there and if you visit first thing in the morning, you'd be able to see some wombats and platypuses.
3. Namadgi National Park
The Namadgi National Park is abundant with wildlife, scenic views and great bushwalks. Managed in cooperation with local Ngambri leaders, the park with 160km of walking trails is a wonderful place to explore the region’s Indigenous heritage.
Combining natural wonders with human history, you’ll feel a connection with your surroundings. If you want to stay overnight, camp sites are available.
4. Mt Ainslie
One of the most popular walks among locals, the bush track behind the Australian War Memorial goes to the top of Mt Ainslie. It’s about 2km each way, there are plenty of steps and it’s steep in parts, so check your fitness level!
The views from the top, looking across to Old Parliament House and Parliament House, are well worth the effort. If you’re unable to walk up, you can ride your bike or cheat by driving up Mt Ainslie Drive. You’ll see plenty of kangaroos and rosella parrots.
5. National Aboretum Canberra
The Arboretum as a living museum of trees of sorts. Spread over 250 hectares are 94 forests of rare, endangered and significant trees only 6km from the city centre. There are many trails for you to walk or ride a bike through and a popular playground for kids.
What's amazing about the Aboretum is the spectacular views across Lake Burley Griffin. They also have an informative Village Centre where you can learn about the forests and seed banking project. You can also see living artworks in the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection.