For many Mt Painter in the northern suburbs of Canberra is the ‘go to’ walk for scenic views of the northern part of the city, with minimal effort. While some consider Mt Arawang to be the Mt Painter of the south, for me the Urambi Hills summit walk earns this accolade though it is a little longer at 2.1 kms return. Either way, both walks offer sweeping views of the southern part of the city and out across the Murrumbidgee river towards the Brindabella mountains to the west.
The Urambi Hills Nature Reserve is located just north of Tuggeranong town centre with the start of my walk being in Meredith Circuit, Kambah. There is a small amount (though ample) of off-street parking here adjacent to house No 40.
At a leisurely pace, this relatively easy walk, taking in two ‘peaks’, took me fifty minutes, including ample time to take in the views along the way and from both peaks. I use the term ‘peaks’ rather tongue in cheek as they are around 708 and 713 metres respectively while the walk starts at 635 metres above sea level. The most difficult aspect of the walk is negotiating a couple of locked gates. The gates, rare on Canberra walks outside reserve entry gates, are here as the lower part of the Urambi Hills is leased out to local farmers for livestock grazing, aimed at reducing fuel loads in the event of a bushfire.
Signage along the walk is minimal – a few faded marker posts – but you really don’t need it as the track is clear with the two peaks easily recognisable and visible once you come out from the slightly wooded area where Yellow Box-Blakely’s Red Gum trees prevail, at the beginning of the walk.
As I came out from the wooded section of the walk the views towards the Brindabellas were amazing.
To take in the first peak you do a slight, easily identifiable, detour from the main track -the blip depicted on the route map above.
From the first peak there are excellent 360 degree views, including of local suburbs and Mt Taylor to the east with Black Mountain Tower easily recognisable in a northerly direction.
From here it is a short walk (about 250 metres) along the rolling ridge-line to the second/ main peak, marked by the ubiquitous trig point used across Australia, particularly in urban areas, to mark hilltops.
From here there are great views south towards Lake Tuggeranong, Tuggeranong town centre and Namadgi National Park.
Having soaked in the wonderful views I made my way back to the start of the walk via the same route that I had taken to get here, leaving out the first peak this time round.
In terms of facilities, there is a seat at each summit but nothing else. Dogs, on a lead, are permitted in this reserve.