After much discussion we decided to walk section 4 of the trail instead of sections 2 and 3 as we have decided to do sections 2 and 3 together making it a 32km walk and thereby requiring 6 hours of walking time which, in the lead up to Christmas, was impossible.
For the 19km section from Hall village to Black Mountain Vic and I were joined by another colleague, Steve, setting off just after 3pm at the Centenary Trail sign on the outskirts of Hall.
The weather was perfect for an afternoon walk and we set ourselves a 10min per km pace meaning we should finish the stage in just under 3 1/2hrs.
The first part of this section took us through the Hall village, with its beautiful historic buildings and quiet ambience, then along the Barton Highway towards Gold Creek Village. We needed to follow the map along here as the Centenary Trail signs were few and far between.
This part of the walk could definitely benefit from a few new signs – particularly at road crossing points.
The trail runs parallel to the Barton Highway for some distance before directing us into the Gold Creek and Federation Square precinct. A bit more guessing where the actual trail led us (a couple more signs in this section would also help) and we are back along the Barton Highway.
The trail takes you past the Ginninderra Blacksmith Shop. An interpretative history of the Ginninderra Blacksmith Shop can be found at http://www.cas.asn.au/reports/Interpretative-History-of-the-Ginninderra-Blacksmith-Shop.pdf
The sight of Black Mountain tower in the distance reminds us that we have a way to go!
With Percival Hill on our left we cross the highway through the underpass at William Slim Drive and follow the bike path. We think that we are on the wrong side of William Slim as there didn’t seem to be any trail signposting at our turn. We follow the bike path with the Palmerville Heritage Park on our right. The TAMS’ very comprehensive guide to Canberra’s urban parks, nature reserves, national parks and recreational areas gives more info about the park:
The park was named after Lieutenant George Thomas Palmer, the first pioneer owner of the area of ‘Ginninginningderra’, as it was originally known. The area was later known as Palmerville. A general store, post office, dwellings and woolshed once existed at the heritage park.
We continue on the bike path along the Giralang side of William Slim Drive, and Ginninderra Creek as it flows into Lake Ginninderra. The view across the lake shows the earthworks at Lawson, Belconnen’s newest suburb (and the ubiquitous Black Mountain tower in the distance).
After crossing Ginninderra Drive through the underpass, we reach John Knight Memorial Park. We enjoy some shade along the lake foreshore and decide we’ve earned a couple of lollies to boost the energy levels. We are just past halfway at this point and although 19km sounds like a long walk we have agreed not to stop for a break (instead we ate a few lollies on the go) – although we might revisit that on the long sections 2&3 walk!!)
Walking alongside the lake towards Emu Bank gave us a good chance to see the recently completed work to convert the inlet into a wetland. More info on this can be found at http://www.tams.act.gov.au/parks-recreation/water_catchments/urban_water_catchments/lakeginninderra
We continue past Lake Ginninderra College, the town centre, the skate park, and head for the University of Canberra.
After a close review of the map we see that we should have crossed over College St and walked through the Gossan Hill nature reserve behind Radford College. Not sure if we missed a sign but at this point (about the 14km mark) we are not retracing our steps and continue on to meet the trail signs again as you cross Haydon Drive and head up Bruce Ridge.
Entering Bruce nature reserve is a nice change after the mostly urban setting for the majority of the walk. We enjoy the bushland and seeing some of the inhabitants along the trail.
A deviation through the AIS complex (with lots of signposting) gets us onto a busy cycle path – familiar territory for those of us who walk to Canberra Stadium for Brumbies and Raiders games.
We are nearing the end, finishing after 3 1/2 hrs of brisk walking. One of the reasons I am loving walking the Centenary Trail is that I am seeing my hometown in a completely new way – on foot. Even though the majority of this section was in the urban environment I walked along areas that I had never been before despite living here all my life including spending a reasonable time in Belconnen.
What a beautiful place we live in
As I complete each stage my appetite for completing the Trail gets bigger. The next walk is going to be a challenge – I’ve never completed a 32km distance before but one of my New Years resolutions was to walk more. So here goes…