6 Family Friendly Walks Around Canberra
A study led by The University of Queensland and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions found that kids who grow up experiencing more time outside may experience developmental benefits. They may also have better mental health later in life, as spending more time outside creates:
- Opportunity for physical activity
Social contact and building relationships
Biological changes which work to reduce the stress hormone cortisol
Lower blood pressure
So now that you know it’s important to take your family on walks, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite family walks (with maps) to help you get outside.
Recognised as Canberra’s leading ecotourism attraction, Tidbinbilla offers outstanding wildlife and nature-based experiences, as well as opportunities to learn about the conservation initiatives at Tidbinbilla. There are many picnic areas, a kiosk and a great Nature Discovery Playground. You can also book a ranger-guided walk and experience wetland wildlife in the Sanctuary, koalas in the eucalypt forest, and platypus at Black Flats Dam. For the energetic, there are mountain bike trails too.
The best trails for kids include:
- Peppermint Trail: 1.8 km, 45-minute return. An easy walk ideal for viewing koalas and forest birds.
Congwarra Trail: 3-4 km, 1 hour. An easy stroll from the Visitor Centre, it takes you to the Nature Discovery Playground and down to the Tidbinbilla River.
Bushland Meander: 1.6 km, 1 hour. A lovely stroll through open woodland. Start at Black Flats car park and look out for wallaroos, kangaroos and wallabies.
Koala Path: 700m, 20 minutes. Ideal for little legs that can’t walk too far. Look out for wombats, koalas, potoroos and wallabies.
To get there: Tidbinbilla is located to the south of Canberra, an easy 40 minute drive from the city centre. Access is off Paddy's River Road, via Cotter Road (Weston Creek).
2. Black Mountain Nature Reserve Forest Trail
2 km return, 1 hour
This moderate track has some uneven ground with exposed sections, but there are no steep hills making it a relatively easy walk with kids. The walk rewards you with fantastic views and kids will love stumbling across reptiles sunning themselves on the path. Renowned for its diversity, Black Mountain is a wonderland of birds, plants and insects.
To get there: The summit road is off Barry Drive. You can also get to the Reserve via the Botanic Gardens Summit Trail or from the car park off Belconnen Way.
3. Jerrabomberra Wetlands
Kelly Loop, 40 minutes
Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve is one of the most valuable wetland habitats in the ACT. Of national and international importance, it’s a refuge for migrating birds from the northern hemisphere and inland Australia. Take a stroll through the wetlands and discover an array of wetland and terrestrial habitats, remnants of the wetlands’ agricultural origins, and learn about the ecology of this special place. There are several different walks to take but we recommend starting with Kelly Loop.
To get there: The Wetlands can be accessed from either Dairy Road, Fyshwick or Eyre (formerly Newcastle) Street, Kingston.
4. The National Arboretum
Dairy Farmers Hill Circuit, 2km, 1 hour return
The National Arboretum Canberra features 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from around Australia and the world. Many of the trees are still young but some of the forests are over 100 years old. There’s a restaurant, gift shop, information hub and high quality visitor services and facilities. The Dairy Farmers Hill Circuit starts at the southern end of the main car park and traverses past some spectacular panoramic views and nine forests to get to Dairy Farmers Hill viewing platform and the Nest III sculpture. Dogs are allowed.
To get there: The Arboretum is located at the western end of Lake Burley Griffin, just 6km from the city centre.
5. Lake Burley Griffin Central Loop
Also known as the “bridge to bridge walk”, the Lake Burley Griffin Central Loop is a 4.9km walk between the two bridges that go over Lake Burley Griffin. The walking path is easy for all ages and popular with bike riders and runners. If you have young kids who can’t quite manage the whole loop it’s still a beautiful walk along the water’s edge before turning around.
Gungahlin is one of the newer areas for suburban development in the ACT and there are a ton of sites that reveal previous uses. Aboriginal and pastoral sites abound, the area is home to many reserves, grasslands and parks. Some of the walks you can do will take you to historic villages and homesteads where you can discover the heritage of Gungahlin. Visit the school house (1884), the former St Francis Roman Catholic Church (1872), Gungahlin Homestead (1883), Crinigan’s Hut and more.
To get there: Ginninderra Village is located at O’hanlon Place, Nicholls.
If you find yourself peckish after taking some of these walks, and the kids are looking to sit down for awhile, visit Marketplace Gungahlin after your walk.