Mount Ainslie

See Canberra as its designer intended it to be seen, from the dramatic lookout point at the top of this picturesque mountain. 

Reach the top of beautiful Mount Ainslie by bike, car or on foot. The tracks and roads up to the summit provide for all three options. But whichever way you get there, be prepared to spend some time at the lookout point, which offers stunning panoramic views as well as a unique insight into the grand plan behind the design of Australia’s capital city.

Canberra was designed by American architect William Burley Griffin. In 1911, the Australian government launched a competition to find a design for the country’s new capital city. Burley Griffin’s vision for the city was declared the winner. Look out across the cityscape below from the top of Mount Ainslie and see many of the city landmarks laid out exactly as in his original architectural plans.

See if you can find Parliament House, which Burley Griffin intentionally placed in a direct line from the Mount Ainslie lookout. This was the center point of his vision for the city, shielded by mountains offering the ideal viewing point for his creation. Make sure you also spot beautiful Lake Burley Griffin, named after the great man himself.

Remember to bring a camera when you head up the mountain, not only to photograph the stunning views from the top, but to capture images of any wildlife you see along the way. The mountain is populated by a wide range of interesting animals, especially birds.

To walk to the summit of Mount Ainslie, set out on the Kokoda Memorial Track, which begins near Treloar Street’s Australian War Memorial. Leave around an hour to reach the top. This should be slightly more than you need if you are moving at a steady pace. The track, though steep, is clear and well-marked, and most older children should have no trouble with the walk. Sunset is a particularly wonderful time to see the view from the summit. Be sure to leave lots of time to linger at the top, as this stunning bird’s-eye view is one that you won’t want to leave behind.