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Discover Canberra outdoors: best parks for action and relaxation

May 21, 2024

This curated guide is your ticket to discovering the most enchanting encounters with Canberra’s natural beauty.

Known as Australia’s “bush capital”, Canberra, with its plethora of parks, nature reserves and surrounding mountain ranges, is an inland mecca for boundless outdoor adventures. So if you’re thinking of moving to Canberra - or if you were born here - let’s look at Canberra’s best parks and hikes so you can be ready to immerse yourself in the local habitat.

Canberra's Top Outdoor Adventures

Treetops Adventure

Just a short drive from Canberra’s CBD, the heart of Majura Pines has transformed into the ultimate Treetop Adventure . This once-working pine plantation has branched out to be home to an epic treetop playground for everyone aged 3 and up to enjoy. It features more than 90 aerial obstacles and 16 ziplines, suspended between 1 and 15 metres above the ground.

Cycle the Centenary Trail

Walk or ride the Canberra Centenary Trail , which showcases urban and rural sites over a 145 km self-guided loop. For added ease, the trail is divided into daily sections and you can join or leave it in many locations. It’s designed for maximum appeal, so is relatively flat, with less than a 10% gradient overall.

Stromlo Forest Park

Whatever your passion - mountain biking, walking, running or horse riding - Stromlo Forest Park is a dream come true if you want to turn it up a notch. With a variety of running, cycling and equestrian trails for all skill levels, this park guarantees an exhilarating walk, run or ride with spectacular views of pristine forest and waterways. 

Murrumbidgee River Corridor

The Murrumbidgee River flows for 1600 km from Kosciuszko National Park and is rich in First Nations history. One of Canberra’s best places for nature-based recreation, the Corridor offers bushwalking, camping, fishing and waterborne adventures aplenty. From kayaking to rafting, embrace the river's rhythm as you navigate its currents and take in the breathtaking riverbanks.

Discover Canberra's Stunning Parks

Picnic at Commonwealth Park

Commonwealth Park stands as a testament to Canberra's commitment to parkland moments from the CBD. On the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin, Commonwealth Park is ideal for picnics and leisurely strolls, and is the location of the annual Floriade flower festival each spring.

Frolic through the forests

If you’re a tree lover, a must-see mosaic of living forest is the National Arboretum . A big name for an amazing place - wander in wonder around 94 forests of more than 44,000 rare, endangered and symbolic trees from around Australia and the world. There are also landscaped gardens, tracks and trails and for the kids, the award-winning POD Playground.

Namadgi National Park

Delve into the rich history of the land at Namadgi National Park . In early 2020, the Orroral Valley bushfire burnt over 80% of the Park, so visitors should note it’s still in recovery. There are still plenty of walking trails open, unveiling stunning vistas and a sense of wilderness like no other.

Canberra's Nature Reserves

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve beckons with its diverse wildlife and serene nature walks. Encounter playful kangaroos, colourful parrots, and other native creatures as you traverse its trails. And for a touch of cosmic wonder, a visit to the Tidbinbilla Space Centre will leave you inspired by the mysteries of the universe.

Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve

For panoramic views that leave you in awe, hike to Mount Ainslie summit through the eucalyptus-scented Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve. As you ascend, you'll be treated to vistas that stretch across Canberra's landscape. Additionally, the Australian War Memorial is in close proximity from the reserve, offering an opportunity to immerse in Australia's military history.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Nature Activities

Swim at Casuarina Sands

Cool off in Canberra's best-kept swimming secret - Casuarina Sands on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. This tranquil picnic spot within the Cotter Recreation Area, has a playground, barbeques, picnic tables, shelters, and toilets, and is the perfect urban escape with its shady riverside beaches. 

Booroomba Rocks Walk

Unleash your inner adventurer with rock climbing and abseiling at Booroomba Rocks in the Brindabella Ranges, also one of Canberra’s best known and loved bush walks. The thrill of conquering these ancient rock formations is only matched by the awe-inspiring views of the city that greet you at the top.


As a planned city, approximately 70% of Canberra and its surroundings in the Australian Capital Territory is dedicated to nature parkland. You'll soon discover that Canberra's natural beauty is more than a backdrop, it's an immersive experience for the mind, body and soul. So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your picnic baskets, and prepare to be amazed by the outdoor experiences awaiting you.