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Eight Epic (But Easy) Walks You Can Do with Your Dog in Canberra This Year

Head into the capital's great outdoors with your four-legged friend.
By Hudson Brown
March 17, 2020
By Hudson Brown
March 17, 2020


in partnership with

Head into the capital's great outdoors with your four-legged friend.

If you want to take your dog on a new adventure but don't want to have to work too hard to keep up, Canberra offers seemingly endless hillside journeys that'll leave you with enough energy to get through the day. Each side of the city presents a fresh summit to reach with dog-friendly paths winding through some of Australia's most diverse bushland. So, grab the lead, say the magic word and send your dog into fervour — these eight walks around Canberra shouldn't have either of you panting for too long.

Please stay up to date with the latest ACT Government health advice regarding COVID-19.

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    Located within Woodstock Nature Reserve, Shepherds Lookout is another much-loved destination for a weekend stroll with your best mate. That’s because it offers excellent views of the Murrumbidgee River — undoubtedly one of the region’s centrepiece natural landmarks.

    At just a 30-minute drive from the centre of Canberra, Australia’s second-longest waterway is well worth the trip to explore. The walk itself is a rather simple one, with the loop clocking in at a modest 600 metres. However, you’ll likely end up taking longer than you expect as your curious pup explores its surroundings — just be sure to keep them on a lead so they don’t wander off while you’re soaking up the picturesque Murrumbidgee and the nearby New South Wales border.

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    Mount Painter Summit Walk

    Situated north of Canberra in the suburb of Cook, Mount Painter has an array of peaceful walks that feature great views of the surrounding landscape. The summit walk is one of the most popular, thanks to its sealed trail and multiple lookout points.

    It begins at Bindubi Street, and the first views you’ll come across are of Mount Ainslie and Black Mountain. Just up ahead, there are sprawling views to the west of the Brindabella Mountain Range. Most walkers complete this in just over an hour, so this urban walk is one that you and your pup can take on and complete before breakfast at nearby dog-friendly spot Two Before Ten.

    Image: Steve Bettinger via Flickr

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    For a summit hike that rewards you with a coffee at the end, the Red Hill Lookout Walk has to be at the top of your list. As you make your way through the thick bushland, you’ll cast your gaze over the likes of Woden Town Centre, Molonglo Valley and Lake Burley Griffin from various viewing points.

    After about 30 minutes of walking, you’ll arrive at the peak and the wonderfully weird building that houses both fine diner Onred upstairs and Coffee ‘n’ Beans cafe downstairs. Find a seat outside and grab yourself a bite to eat from the menu of Aussie cafe classics like eggs benedict, smashed avocado and a steak sandwich. Don’t forget to reward your pooch with a nibble, too.

    Image: VisitCanberra

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    Mount Ainslie Kokoda Track

    For outstanding views within touching distance of the city centre, Mount Ainslie, and specifically the Kokoda Track, fits the bill. Depart from Remembrance Park, right behind the Australian War Memorial, for a relatively easy 4.5-kilometre stroll to the summit along a firm trail. Towards the top, things get a little tougher as you have to ascent some stone steps to complete the walk.

    Along the way, the views looking back across the city are top-notch. This is a popular dog walk trail for Canberra locals, so your pooch will likely make a few new mates along the way, too. At the summit, you’ll experience panoramic vistas of Lake Burley Griffin and the mountain ranges in the distance. Break out a lunchtime spread at the picnic tables, and give your pup a well-deserved drink at the water fountain.

    Image: VisitCanberra

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    Mount Taylor Summit Walk

    Situated on the edge of the city, Mount Taylor is a well-trodden landmark for those who love nature but don’t want to travel too far. Its summit walk, which is just under two kilometres from the base and has an elevation of 856 metres, is a touch more strenuous than others with some steep sections and uneven rocks — so, perhaps only bring Rufus along if he’s still a spritely pup. If you’re keen, you’ll find two of the access points in the suburb of Kambah — on the corner of Mannheim Street and Sulwood Drive, and at Colquhoun Street off Sulwood Drive.

    Once you reach the peak, you’ll be rewarded with views of Tuggeranong Valley and Woden Valley, plus a glimpse of Namadgi National Park. If you’re feeling especially keen, take your doggo on a pre-dawn walk and experience sunrise as the city comes to life.

    Image: Pascal Vuylsteker via Flickr

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    The Cooleman Ridge Nature Reserve places you among some distinctly Australian flora and fauna. The area was once cleared to make way for cattle grazing, but it’s since been restored to some of its original natural beauty. The nature track, a loop trail that is roughly 3.6 kilometres, begins at the end of Kathner Street in Chapman, and offers a reasonably peaceful saunter up through a ridge of towering eucalypt trees. You’ll likely see other native species such as indigo false sarsaparilla and native pink geraniums, too.

    The wildlife here is particularly vibrant, as wedge-tailed eagles and Australian kestrels are known to roam the area, so be sure to keep Luna on a leash at all times. You’ll also be able to admire the distant Brindabellas from the summit, and the Cooleman Trig station marks the turnaround point to complete the loop.

    Image: Reuben Gibbes

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    Molonglo Gorge to Blue Tiles Trail

    Just a quick 20-minute drive from Canberra, Queanbeyan offers a range of natural landmarks that your dog will love. One of the most striking is the Molonglo Gorge, which formed more than 15 million years ago. Featuring a variety of dense bushland, rock pools and streams to cross, the recreation park has plenty of walks to consider.

    The Blues Tiles Walk is a particular favourite — the somewhat challenging endeavour meanders along an overgrown path of native trees and rocky outcrops. Throughout the six-kilometre round-trip, you’ll get to see a variety of wonderful landscapes. When you find the perfect spot along the river, unpack some lunch and relish the tranquil location while your best mate has a frolic in the water. On your way back into town, make a stop at Capital Brewing for a well-deserved beer (for you) and a nap in the beer garden (for Fido).

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    Mount Ainslie to Mount Majura Circuit

    If you’re seeking a day-long adventure, the Mount Ainslie to Mount Majura Circuit is a trip that’ll see you complete two of Canberra’s best-known peaks. Make sure you carry plenty of food and water, as this 16.6-kilometre (return) walk links the Kokoda Track with the wooded trails of nearby Mount Majura. Depending on your pace (and your furry friend’s), the entire hike should take about four hours to finish — just be sure to pack enough water for you both.

    Throughout the walk, you’ll be surrounded by countless plant species, including cypress trees, kurrajong trees and a range of eucalyptus varieties. There’s also a chance you’ll come across eastern grey kangaroos, rock wallabies or even an echidna or two — so make sure Patch stays close.

    Image: VisitCanberra

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To discover more outdoor adventures to have in Canberra, head to Visit Canberra and start planning your next city break.

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