Mt Majura

9 Oct

I’m not sure whether Boyfriend still hasn’t forgiven me about stretching the truth re our last walk being ‘mostly flat’, but he disappears to play golf the next time I mention a leisurely afternoon walk. It’s a shame, because I think Mt Majura might now be my new favourite walk. (And that is a big call.)

I’ve done Mt Majura once before, but it’s almost a year ago. I remember it being very enjoyable, with a killer steep bit at the end. Cooper joins me in the car and we head towards Antill Street. It’s a public holiday and it’s the first Monday of daylight savings, so there’s still plenty of light when we get into the car at 5pm.

After driving and driving down the long street, we come to the entrance to the horse paddocks that lead us into the nature park. Plenty of cars are parked there, and there’s a wide path and signs pointing the way – not to mention people in the distance!

About 200 metres in, the path starts to get a bit of an incline to it, just enough to require a bit of an effort. It gets a little more wooded, and Cooper’s senses go into hyperdrive – new smells, new plants, new surroundings.

Wooded area in the horse paddocks

Wooded area in the horse paddocks

At the end of the horse paddocks, we turn right briefly before a stepped path opens up on the left.

Start of the stepped path

Start of the stepped path

It’s one of the better quality and maintained paths I’ve walked on. The steps don’t seem to have loose rocks, and there’s certainly no bush bashing.

The steepness of the walk through the horse paddocks means we’ve already got quite a bit of height.

I don't know what this is, but it looked pretty

I don’t know what this is, but it looked pretty

We’re blessed with dappled late afternoon sun – pictures don’t do it justice.

Looking back down the path

Looking back down the path

The trees cheekily flash views of Black Mountain at me, and I try in vain to get some good pictures. I soon realise there’s a trick to knowing where to get some of the best views and pictures of Black Mountain: where the path changes. There’s a point where the steps of the path turn to rock for a few metres, and another point where there’s a metal bridge. It’s here that I seem to naturally turn my head to the right – and I’m rewarded.

Black Mountain from near where the path becomes rock

Black Mountain from near where the path becomes rock

I make Cooper pose on the rock. He's unimpressed.

I make Cooper pose on the rock. He’s unimpressed.

Black Mountain near the bridge

Black Mountain view from near the bridge

Said bridge

Said bridge

When we started up the stepped path, Mt Majura seemed to be directly above us. The path seems to take us more and more to the right towards Mt Ainslie… but I try to put it out of my mind. With a final push, we’re at the top of the path. Hooray! We’ve done it!

… we haven’t done it at all. All that walking in the other direction? Now we’ve got to walk back in the direction we’ve come from, but with greater height. And no more steps – it’s just a loose dirt path.

I do consider turning around. The top of the stepped path has gorgeous views over the airport and beyond, and there are big dark clouds brewing. But, in the name of blogging and providing an accurate review, soldier to the top.

Soldier to the top is also stretching it a bit. It’s pretty much a case of surging forward, and then stopping to catch my breath. Surging forward, then petting Cooper to disguise that I’m catching my breath. Surging forward, then taking a few photos to disguise that I’m catching my breath. I fool no one.

Looking up - still a steep way to go

Looking up – still a steep way to go

Looking back down from where I've stopped to catch my breath - see those clouds?!

Looking back down from where I’ve stopped to catch my breath – see those clouds?!

Mt Majura is good training for Mt Tennent. Both have that bastard quality of a final push of steepness on a loose path which seems to never end.

With a final surge, we make it to the top. Again, not quite. The elusive trig is up another small mound, and there’s no easy way to get up it. We walk around the back of the mound to where the terminal area radar is – the least steep way to get up to the trig is here.

Terminal area radar

Terminal area radar

Proof that we bagged the trig

Proof that we bagged the trig

Briefly, we’re at the highest point (888m) in Canberra.

The clouds are beginning to look really ominous – and a lot closer than before – so we make tracks. I’m a little slow coming down the loose rocky path but my cautiousness means I don’t go A over T (note that even cautiousness does not always guarantee this).

Heading down. See, it really is steep!

Heading down. See, it really is steep!

Before we head back onto the much kinder path, we stop to admire the view…

Love the combo of sun and dark clouds!

Love the combo of sun and dark clouds!

… and then the likelihood of us getting saturated hits me. We get a move on.

Miraculously, the weather holds – not just for your interpid travellers on Majura, but for all of Canberra. Some spectacular pics of the clouds appear on Twitter.

Cooper’s pretty oblivious. He’s just interested in whatever’s in that bush over htere.


And the prospect of rain still isn’t enough to stop me from taking some more obligatory pics of Black Mountain.


We’re back down at the car just before dusk.


Time required: About 80-100m minutes from the Antill Street entrance, noting: a) there are many entrances/paths b) I’m very slow (closer to the 90 minutes) c) although I’m very slow I was even slower because I took many pictures and spent quite a long time talking to a lovely couple at one point and spent quite a long time looking at the kangaroos on the way back to the car

Height: 888m – there’s an elevation gain of about 300 metres

Distance: About 5.5km return, with opportunity to extend the walk

Views: Good-excellent; I quite like the frustration of not being able to see Black Mountain properly and then the ‘Ah!’ when it’s fully revealed. The views over the airport are quite something, and the views are lovely looking north-west from the trig. The views aren’t quite ‘uninterrupted’, but that doesn’t detract from the experience.

Flora and fauna excitement level: Medium-high; there are birds everywhere – they’re constantly flying by, or flitting about the trees, and if I can’t see them, their music certainly follows me the entire way. There are a few flowers, but I quite like the change in the flora as we get further into the walk. There’s always something different to look at. It’s also very green at the moment!

Effort expended: Medium. The last slog is, well, a slog. The rest of it is a steady workout.

Quality of track: Medium-high for the first half, and low-medium for the final slog. You can see why in the pics.

Value for effort: High. I loved it. The time required to do it is more than justified because the walk constantly changes – different views and sounds and puff required! I’m just disappointed it’s taken me almost a year between visits. That’s going to change!

Date: Monday, 7 October 2013

Cost: Free

Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile

Want more? Start with the TAMS map of the Mt Majura nature park for a sense of the different paths


27 Responses to “Mt Majura”

  1. Alison (from Chifley) October 9, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    I reckon you need to come on a walk with me!

    • inthetaratory October 9, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

      All of these walks are to get me fitter so that I *can* go on a walk with you (and not embarrass myself!) 🙂

  2. Espirational October 9, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    Hubby no longer sees well enough for those kind of walks. I miss them.

    • inthetaratory October 9, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

      I am really sorry to hear that.

      • Espirational October 9, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

        We still walk, we just can’t do the more “rugged” stuff. Although I think dodging bicycles on paved trails may be more dangerous 🙂

  3. Andrew October 10, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    So many memories, thanks ITT

  4. Boyfriend October 10, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

    Looks mostly flat.

  5. Jas@AbsolutelyJas October 11, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    Love this walk. We used to live in the Solstice complex, so wandered around these trails often (admittedly, only walking to the top once or twice!). I have been trying to get my horse into those paddocks for years – It would be such a great area to explore on a pony!

    • inthetaratory October 13, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

      Such a beautiful wander, whether you get to the top or not! Where do you usually take your horse?

  6. Amanda Caldwell October 13, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    Great read again, and pics, especially the long suffering pup! Mine shares his disdain for having her photo taken. I do like Mt Majura’s view. We climbed it some years ago now, I remember our youngest was quite little. One day we will get over there again.

    • inthetaratory October 13, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

      Thanks Amanda! I strongly encourage it – it’s not something I’d say often, but it genuinely felt ‘good for the soul’! Cooper certainly lets me know what he’s thinking!

  7. Robert Triggs July 10, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

    Really enjoyed this. I felt like I was there. Hope to do this walk with my dog and my camera.


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