Most of central Canberra is relatively flat, but there are some decent sized (~800m) hills within a few km which provide some great views of the city. From a vantage point the planned nature of the city is apparent, with the land axis Mount Ainslie to Parliament, bisected by the water axis of Lake Burley Griffth, forming the parliamentary triangle formed by Commonwealth, Kings and Constitution Avenues.
The first hill I tackled, on foot via the Australian National Botanic Gardens, was Black Mountain Nature Reserve, which is topped by the Telstra Tower. For $7.50 you get impressive 360 degree views, which includes an impressive amount of bush and green land close to the city centre.
The next day on a cheap single gear hire bike I cycled / walked up Mount Ainslie lookout, the 10% incline making for a good workout. It was well worth it for the iconic views of the city.
The final of the three hills close to the centre city was Red Hill lookout, behind the Parliament. While not offering the best views of the city, it does offer some good walking tracks and views of Woden, the first major satellite city developed to cope with Canberra’s growing population.
The Australian Parliament is actually built into a hill, and offers good views from the grass covered top. There are also some wonderfully framed views from the terrace at the front of the building.
Finally there are some lovely views of Lake Burley Griffth from it’s shore.
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