Weekend Alert: Exploring the ACT

Online Loans

February 7, 2022

The ACT’s mountain ranges make a dramatic backdrop for Madeline’s weekends.

“It starts with mental planning on a Friday lunchtime and the rest kind of falls into place”

We reached out to Madeline (Maddy), one of our recent clients who financed a vehicle better suiting her lifestyle and the activities she enjoys.

She says that Canberra’s proximity to hiking trails and hidden gems means that her working week is worlds away from Saturdays and Sundays.

“It doesn’t take long to get off the highways and into the wilderness. Actually, I can get from my apartment to the middle of the forests in less than an hour.” Says the 28-year-old IT support worker.

hiking in the act

The ACT may be known for parliament and policies that define our country but step “less than an hour” away, and they’ll quickly evaporate into the Australian bush.

  • The ACT is 2,358 km² in size, NWS is 801,150 km², in other words NSW is some 99.7% larger
  • Despite its size, the ACT has dozens of mountain peaks, the highest being Bimberi Peak at 1,912 m
  • Although many are best suited to AWD and 4X4 vehicles, the ACT boasts hundreds of kilometers of trails, of all intensity levels, snaking through its ranges
  • Expect scenery to match its climate swings from below zero in winter to well over 30°C in summer
Mount Franklin underscores ‘weekend escape’

On the south-western border between the ACT and NSW, only just over an hour from Canberra CBD, is one of the most spectacular weekend escapes on offer in the region.

Maddy knows it.

“Mount Franklin is absolutely amazing and one of my first stops for a Saturday morning hike. The road up can be a bit rough on a car so something higher off the ground is helpful.

“You’ll find snow in winter and quite cool breezes all year round and depending on the route you take, you’ll see mountain views and thick forests.”

To reach the summit, walkers can stick to a marked trail that does not require any climbing skills.

You’ll also see remnants from the ‘old days’. Enthusiasts have been skiing in the area since the 1920s as evident by rusted tow lines and old ski chalet foundations – the structure was sadly destroyed in 2003’s devastating bushfires. 

mtfranklin in the act(Mount Franklin’s rusted tow lines from times past)

Nowadays, picnic tables and historical information signage are accessible to those keen on the 800m trail from car park to summit.

More information.

But it’s not just about walking

Pedal power 

“I’m getting back into mountain biking, it’s been on the to-do list for a while. I kind of lost interest during the lockdowns.”

mountain biking

No stranger to more adrenaline-fuelled activities, Maddy explains that the ACT is a mountain biker’s paradise – you just have to know where to look.

“The ACT actually has a lot of mountain bike trails, but that probably wouldn’t surprise you with all the bike shops in the city.

“One of the best mountain bike trails is the Majura Pines, but that can get a little busy so going further out [from the CBD] is great for just taking it all in at your own pace.”

mountain biking in the act(The Majura Pines. Source: flowmountainbike.com)

Located slightly to the north-eastern part of the ACT, Majura Pines offers over 20km of mapped and sign posted mountain bike trails for all abilities. You’ll also find dirt jumps half-pipe style turns for those chasing something a bit more extreme.

As Maddy points out, mountain biking can be a cumbersome pastime, unless you’re prepared.

“With the seats folded down, my car is easily big enough to fit a bike or two in. And, being a Toyota SUV, it can handle some gravel roads.

“Before I bought it, I used to have to ride to bike trails like Majura Pines.”

Don’t have a mountain bike? The ACT has you covered with plenty of hire options.

Camping ties it all together

Hiking, mountain biking and, of course, camping make for a pretty good weekend in the ACT.

“Camping is a great way to experience the wilderness in the ACT, but it does get cold in winter.” Says Maddy.

camping night

“I’ve found spring and autumn are the best times of the year – not too hot or too cold. Camping allows you to enjoy the environment all hours of the clock, the sunrises are really pristine and special.”

Campsites in the ACT range from typical tent options to cabins with more amenities. For example is the Nil Desperandum site.

NilDesperandum1(Nil Desperandum)

Nil Desperandum, nestled in a natural bush setting in the Tidbinbilla Range south-west of the CBD, offers two bedrooms, a kitchen with wood stove with outside gas BBQ and a fire pit. The cottage itself is a historic European pisé house.

camping in the act

Access to Nil Desperandum is by 4WD or AWD vehicles ONLY.

Maddy likes to get off the asphalt.

“Mount Clear Campground is a pretty extreme place. It’s great if you like remote wilderness and fending for yourself.

“It’s got the peace and quiet of the bush but with plenty of kangaroos and wombats around too.”

Mount Clear Campground is located in the southernmost part of the ACT in the Namadgi National Park –  an ancient and diverse landscape managed by Ngunnawal people.

Getting “away” means more than just a few hours drive

“I feel like just the idea of making plans to go to these exciting places makes me feel positive during the work week.” Explains Maddy.

“It’s the idea of removing yourself from your usual routine and usual environment that makes these small trips special.

suv rear

“I think everyone should take the time to experience Australia’s natural side once in a while.”

If your vehicle doesn’t support your lifestyle or the activities you’d like to enjoy, OnlineLoans.com.au is here to help.

Try our loan calculator to have a look at numbers tailored to your circumstances.

Sign Up to the OnlineLoans.com.au Newsletter

Get offers, contests and promos delivered straight to you inbox