Mastering Mount Ainslie


Recently I decided it would be a good idea to climb a mountain…twice. Crazy? Maybe. Worth it? Definitely!

It all started when I recently decided to include ‘becoming a true Canberran by walking up Mount Ainslie to look out over the city’ to a list of things I still wanted to do before the end of summer.

I had wanted to complete the walk up to the Mount Ainslie summit and lookout for years and now seemed as good a time as any.

The Mount Ainslie track is one of the most popular in Canberra and completing the walk is almost a rite of passage if you call this city home. Bordering on the inner-city suburbs, the 843-metre-high mountain offers some of the best views over the capital. From the lookout you can look over the Australian War Memorial, down Anzac Parade, across Lake Burley Griffin to the Parliamentary Triangle including Parliament House. The outlook over the city centre and Black Mountain is also striking and makes for some incredible sunset photography.

The first walk began on the long weekend with my husband in tow. We got to the base early to beat the foot traffic and started our hike. I was advised by The Girl Has Sparke that “the start is a killer but worth it” and she wasn’t kidding. There’s no easing into it with this walk – the start is consistently steep for about 10 minutes and soon my poor little calves were burning.

From the first viewing spot (or rest stop in my case) it starts to flatten out slightly and the rest of the walk is a bit more manageable, until you reach what my husband calls “the stairs of death”! This epic staircase takes you to a final viewing spot before the actual lookout, but you are rewarded with the most beautiful views. After that its a few more twists and turns and then a small staircase until you reach the top.

I won’t lie; it is a tough walk, especially the first time, but trust me, the views make it all worth it. So much so we returned just three days later to do it all again.

The second time around things were a lot easier because we knew what to expect and how to pace ourselves better to tackle to walk. We shaved about 10 minutes off our time and felt like we had really pushed ourselves.

The walk is set to become a regular for us and I am keen to better my time as we go.

Have you walked Mount Ainslie? What did you think of the track and the view?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. kate says:

    This is a walk I’ve been wanting to do since we moved here but the “stairs of death” sound terrifying! I think I need to do a little conditioning before attempting it. Beautiful views though, and beautifully captured!


    1. Little List Of Mine says:

      I have total faith that you could do it Kate! I did it with no conditioning and it gets easier every time. Plus the view is one of Canberra’s best 🙂


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