Often underestimated, Canberra sits proudly in the natural beauty of its surrounds. We’ve found some of the best vantage points to view this fine little city that will absolutely take your breath away!
Mount Ainslie Lookout
Any time of year, the Mount Ainslie Lookout is worth the trek. In autumn, the rich colours of the leaves frame the views of Lake Burley Griffin, old and new Parliament House, and the War Memorial. In spring and summer, the greenery is vibrant and alive. Even on a clear winter’s day, snuggled in a warm coat and gloves, the overlook of the city and its precisely planned structure is a true wonder.
The lookout is particularly beautiful at sunset, so after you’ve soaked in the view, warm up with some authentic Chinese and Malaysian food at the boisterous nearby local favourite Sammy’s Kitchen. Or, if you prefer something more quiet and intimate, the one-hatted Lanterne Rooms offers fine modern Malay dining at its best.
On the edge of the Gibraltar Creek Pine Forest right near the Deep Space Communication Complex, you’ll find a quiet secluded spot for Canberra’s only waterfall. It’s gorgeous here, and a great spot to have a picnic, with a picnic shelter, barbecue, and nearby amenities.
If you’re like us and want something a bit easier, grab some takeaway at Thai Som Tum Restaurant & Bar on your way through and watch in awe at the wonder of this natural beauty while you nom on some tasty Thai food. If you’re feeling particularly enthusiastic, head up to Mount Tennent for even more great views. On your way back to the city, stop off at Ojo Café and Bar for a bite to eat or a relaxed beer or two.
Need some action with that scenery? Mount Stromlo’s got just that! It’s massively popular among cycling enthusiasts, and BMXers, mountain bikers, and road cyclists love the bike park and long distance cycling tracks. Prefer your transport of the four-legged variety? There are several equestrian trails and private equestrian facilities available.
If food is the name of your game, grab some of the best neighbourhood fish and chips from the Cookery Nook Food Bar just outside the Hawker Shopping Centre and head up to the Mount Stromlo Observatory for spectacular views, picnic facilities and plenty of places to get a winning Insta shot. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy a stylish modern Australian meal and a glass of wine at the chic Rock Salt Café.
Extremely popular with locals when the weather is good, Mount Taylor requires some amount of effort, but the rewards are absolutely worth it. There are several trails to get to the top, but most will take about half an hour to go up the occasionally steep dirt track.
At the top, the views are spectacular! With Black Mountain and Mount Ainslie in the background and views over Tuggeranong Valley, Brindabella range, and Woden Valley, it’s a true Canberra natural wonder. At the top there’s also a picnic table, so stock up on some tasty grub from Theo’s Takeaway Food & Pizza Bar or Spring Garden Chinese Restaurant in Kambah Village and enjoy the incredible scenery.
Urambi Hills Nature Park
The great thing about walking around the Urambi Hills is that it really is one of those places where the journey is just as good as the destination. There are some great bushwalking tracks and quite a few local bushwalking clubs who enjoy the area for its good trails, stunning scenery, and fascinating history. Expect to burn some calories here! It can be steep at times, but is mostly a steady and enjoyable walk.