How did I Run on Mount Tennent?
This year has been demanding and challenging for me. I decided it’s time for change and personal growth. In search of what to do to change my everyday routine and tedious way of life, I’ve come up with an interesting idea. The desire to get out of Sydney encouraged me to look up some nearby places and what could be a perfect adventure. Finally, I decided to go to Canberra and try running and hiking on local hills and mountains.
Mount Tennent was the first on my list. It’s located in the southern part of Canberra in Namadgi National Park. The park has got Visitor Information Centre where you can find out anything you wish to know about the trail. You can get maps and even some snacks for the road. Not a bad way to start, right? There are two carparks – main carpark with plenty of room, and outside carpark which you can use if you plan to stay on the trail a bit longer, since the Visitor Information Centre closes at about 4:30 p.m.
The trail begins at the gate of the Visitor Information Centre. There’s a sign which will lead you around the Visitor Centre. After passing the Gudgenby interpretive shelter and the Mouat Tree exhibition there will be a fence that you will have to cross. I highly recommend stopping at both of the sites before going further, so you could learn some historical facts of this region, which will only make this whole experience more special. Now you are ready to start the walk up the hill.
The first 5 km of this path is ascent, but since this was just the beginning and I was all hyped up, I expected it would be a piece of cake. Half way up the rock stairs I nearly blacked out and started seeing stars. Guess I wasn’t as fit as I thought I was. Then you come to Cypress Pine Lookout – the first part of your path. It was named after many pine trees which can be found in the area around the lookout. This place is amazing because of the breath-taking view it gives you. Also, if you are unexperienced or just exhausted from the first 5 km, this could be your final destination. Believe me, it’s worth every step.
But despite exhaustion, I was determined to go further. I stayed at the lookout for a while, resting and enjoying the view. I enjoyed the snacks from the Centre as well. The next 2 km to the fire trail were also ascent and then there was a steady rise for 1 km to the top. When you get to the top there is a communication equipment and a fire tower. The real reward for this success, besides the great feeling of pride, is the spectacular view towards Canberra, which is on the northeast and on the west, the Bimberi Wilderness.
There were many hikers and runners that day and they were in far better shape than me. Some of them were running up and down the hill and conquering the ascents as if it wasn’t that big deal. Well, clearly for them it wasn’t. And what’s even more astonishing for me, after they would run the entire time, they would do the trip all over again at a walking pace. I admired them so much.
This trail is very similar to the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory. There were a lot of rocks on the way. If you ever decide to try the Larapinta trail this could be a great practice for that trip – test the footwear on Mt Tennent and if all goes well you’ll know what to wear to Larapinta as well.
A lot of people come to Namadgi National Park to see the wildflowers and animals which can be seen on most of the walks the park offers. However, that is not the case with Mt Tennent. So, if your primary goal is to see the wild world, you should stick to the walks within the park. The trip up Mt Tennent is nowhere near easy, and you are warned about that. If you’re a beginner or not in the best physical shape it would probably take you up to 6 hours to reach the top. In this time you will have more than enough time to stop every now and then to get some rest. On the other hand, those of you who are experienced hikers will reach the top in about 3 and a half hours.
Namadgi National Park Visitor Centre is located 2.7 km from Tharwa. You go along Naas Road and you will find the park on the left side.
Things to Know Before the Trip
- The round trip on this trail is 14.4 km long
- The walk is almost a continual ascent of 783 m to the top
- There is a chance of strong wind on the top, so even if the weather is nice and warm you should bring some windproof clothes just to be sure
- Bring your own water
- No dogs are allowed
- Phone signal is good
- There are toilets at the visitor centre
Main Image Source: Pixabay