At 890m, Mt Majura is the highest peak in suburban Canberra. It is thought that it was named by Robert Campbell, an early European settler, after a place he had visited in India. It is a popular walk with locals and a nice change from the more popular and nearby Mt Ainslie Walk.
I will however say up front that the views, both as you ascend and once you get to the top are not as good as those from Mt Ainslie. If you have limited time and have not previously walked up Mt Ainslie then I suggest to do that walk in preference to this one – specifically for the great views it gives you of the city. In comparison to the Mt Ainslie summit walk this walk is a bit harder and longer. Allow yourself around 90mins for the 5kms return walk (Casaurina Trail from the suburb of Hackett – there are other options). The path surface varies from exposed fire trails to narrow tracks but it is well maintained including having steps inserted at various points. You should wear walking shoes/trainers or boots though the latter are not necessary. What is necessary, indeed essential, is that you carry water, wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun and wear sunscreen. The walk is, in the main, exposed to the sun with little shade.
Mt Majura is within the Mt Majura Nature Reserve which is located in north Canberra with access from the inner north suburbs of Hackett, Watson and the Federal Highway. I walked up from Hackett (via the zig-zag Casuarina Trail) and completed this walk as part of the Canberra Centenary Trail Walk. That reminds me, part of the reason I found the walk harder than Mt Ainslie is that by the time I started my ascent of Mt Majura I had already walked from the Federal Parliament to Mt Ainslie and up Mt Ainslie and thence from there to the base of Mt Majura.
Mt Majura was formed millions of years ago through volcanic activity. In more recent times – from the 1830s through to about 1985 the mountain and in particular its lower slopes were heavily grazed resulting in the loss of much of its native vegetation though there has been regrowth, albeit hindered by foraging rabbits and kangaroos, since 1985 and many older trees remain.
In terms of flora, on the lower slopes you will encounter grassy woodland, featuring Yellow Box (Eucalyptus melliodora), Blakely’s Red Gum (Eucalyptus blakelyi) and Apple Box trees (Eucalyptus bridgesiana) while further up you will find Brittle Gums (Eucalyptus mannifera) and Scribbly Gums (Eucalyptus rossii). In addition, Mt Majura has a diverse understorey of native bushes, grasses and wild flowers including daisies, lilies, bluebells and orchids. All in all, around 200 native species of trees, shrubs, flowering herbs, ferns and grasses grow in the Mount Majura Nature Reserve.
In terms of wildlife, what you see depends on the time of day you visit. As I went up in the middle of a reasonably warm day my sightings were limited to a few birds and a couple of lizards. Your chances of seeing kangaroos are much higher early in the morning or later in the evening. Do watch out for snakes at any time of day – they bite! Your chances of encountering a snake is greatly diminished if you stick to the formed paths, as you should do anyway.
The path to the summit (well signposted) starts off very gently but soon starts a gentle though increasing incline as it meanders upwards in a zig-zag manner.
Most of the way to the top you get decent views back to Mt Ainslie and great views out towards the airport. At various points along the walk you will get glimpses of Black Mountain and its tower.
The final part of the walk (the last 500 metres of so) to the summit along a fire trail is the most strenuous part though the views back towards the airport give ample excuse for regular photo breaks. Watch your step as the gravel on the fire trail can be loose.
Once you reach the top of the mountain (an elevation gain of around 300m from the starting point), in addition to the trig point you will see the Mt Majura airport area radar. This is a high security installation and not accessible to the public. The views from the top, while far from spectacular, are reasonable looking north-west from the trig point. Note that while there is a road to the top of Mt Majura that it is a private road and not open the to general public for vehicular access.
Address: McKenzie Street, Hackett
Directions: There are numerous options for accessing the Reserve – you need to look on a map and decide what works best for you.