Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, is very blessed when it comes to beautiful ‘rural walks within the city’. Of all these walks the short walk to the top of Mt Painter has, for my money, the best ‘views to effort ratio’. Within 20 minutes walking time (and that’s certainly not rushing it) you have some of the best unobstructed views available anywhere in Canberra – towards Black Mountain/ Telstra Tower, the city centre and Lake Burley Griffin/Molonglo Valley (main picture), Mt Tennent in Namadgi National Park, Tidbinbilla, Cotter, the Brindabellas and Belconnen – in short, wonderful 360 degree views. You do this walk for the views, not so much the flora or fauna.
There are a number of access points to Mt Painter, I started out from Booth Crescent in Cook. If you do likewise (and I think this results in the shortest walk to the top) remember that you are parking in a residential suburb on a fairly narrow street so don’t block driveways or the street itself. The entry point to Mt Painter is not well marked so drive slowly, it’s about half way round the short crescent between houses number 20 and 22.
Having passed up the public entry between the two houses (about 30 metres walk) turn right – yes, it seems that you are walking away from the summit which you can see a short distance ahead – indeed you are – but do remain on the track from which you have nice views, off to your right, to Belconnen town centre. Soon you veer left passing two large water tanks (you can’t miss them). From here it is a slightly steeper climb – still relatively easy and only a couple of hundred metres maximum – until you reach a viewing point, just before you pass through a gate for the final part of the ascent to the summit. Haha that last comment makes it sounds like you are climbing Everest – not quite, Dear Reader – ref picture 2 above.
All in all, a lovely walk of less than a kilometre (each way) – short and sweet. I did the return walk, early one lovely clear frosty morning, in around 45 minutes and this gave me ample to admire the beautiful views from the top and at various points along the way. If you can make it for sunrise or sunset the views will be even more gorgeous. In this regard, I recommend you have a look at this review, of a late evening/ sunset walk, by an excellent Canberra blogger, ‘T1’ – https://inthetaratory.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/mt-painter/. It contains some stunning photographs. I actually recommend this blog more generally, particularly for Canberra restaurant and café reviews, an area I tend not to concentrate on in my own reviews.
The first part of the walk is along a gravel trail with the later half being on a sealed path with some steps towards the end.
Dogs, on leashes, are permitted on this walk. Those with dogs on the day I visited seem to have missed the ‘on leash’ requirement clearly spelt out at all entrances!
Getting there by bus – Route 40 (940 weekends) from the City Centre or Belconnen. Check out – https://www.action.act.gov.au/ – for timetable and stops, good service during week – hourly at weekends.