Curtin horse paddock walk directions
Dogs love this walk. Off leash opportunities extend for long sections through informal parks and a large playing field for ball games. There are lots of interesting smells wandering through a government horse agistment paddock (dogs should be on leash here). Extensive views west to the Brindabellas and north to the Canberra Arboretum and Black Mountain make it attractive for humans too. The walk starts and ends at the busy Curtin shops which boasts several dog friendly cafés. Note This walk may not be suitable for people with knee or ankle problems as sections through the horse paddock are uneven. Our 81-year-old tester completed the walk but found the horse paddock section hard going.
Start/Finish - Curtin shops, Strangways Street
Time/Distance - Allow 75 minutes/approx 4.5 km
Off lead rating - ♥♥♥
Parking - Car parks off Strangways Street
Dog friendly café Our Pick Red Brick Espresso, and others
Public toilets - Curtin shops
Bins - Curtin shops, North Curtin Playing Fields
Distractions - Horses, kangaroos
Playgrounds - Behind the Scout Hall and after the Dunstan St underpass
Photo gallery - See photos taken on the Curtin Horse Paddock walk.
Note - All our dog walks assume you are a responsible dog owner with an obedient and well-socialised dog. See our Important Stuff page before starting any of our walks.
Use the navigation tools to zoom in or out for different views of the route or click on the 'view larger map' icon on the top right hand corner of the map to view in google maps.
Curtin shops to Illoura Horse Holding Paddock (15 minutes)
1. From the shopping centre, find the pedestrian crossing approximately half way along Strangways street and cross.
2. On the other side of the crossing, walk down the bitumen driveway on the left that drops downhill to some small brick buildings. There is a large sign Ron Reynolds Training Centre next to the driveway.
3. Walk past the brick buildings towards the children's playground.
4. Continue past the playground keeping it to your left and follow the dirt track heading up hill through the centre of the informal park.
This area of Curtin illustrates Radburn style residential planning, named after the town of Radburn founded in New Jersey, USA in 1929. Its planners aimed to incorporate modern planning principles, which were then copied in many places around the world, including here in Curtin. Radburn was designed to separate traffic from pedestrians. The other notable feature is that the houses face the park with the fenced 'backyard' next to the street.
5. Follow the dirt track to a concrete footpath passing through an underpass (beneath Carruthers Street).
6. On the other side of the underpass, veer slightly left at the end of the concrete path to continue uphill on the dirt track between the houses.
Off leash opportunity starts on the other side of the underpass
7. At the crest of the hill is the fenceline of the Illoura Horse Holding Paddock.
There are views ahead of Weston Creek and the Brindabellas.
Illoura Horse Holding Paddock trail (20 minutes)
8. Pass through the step-through in the fence and walk straight ahead following a faint path downhill until you reach another fenceline.
Dogs must be on leash throughout the horse paddock section.
The 'step-through' has recently been raised so some dogs may need to be lifted through. If you have a large dog, e.g. a greyhound, you may prefer to follow the fence-line left for about 50 metres where there is another easier step-through, then back track.
The downhill track is faint or obscured in long grass but you can't go wrong if you just continue in a fairly straight line downhill. Be careful of your footing as the grass may obscure loose stones underfoot and the ground is uneven and steep in places.
Be aware that there may be horses in this paddock as they are rotated regularly through six different paddocks. The vast majority of paddock horses are placid but please don't approach them. Horses are by nature unpredictable, easily spooked and should not be approached by inexperienced people (that's why you never see horses in a petting zoo).
As in any semi bush setting in Canberra there may also be kangaroos. We've noticed an appreciable increase in their presence over the last few years, so take care if you have chase inclined dogs. There may also be snakes but in 40 years of walking here we've only surprised two.
9. At the fence, look for the step-through adjacent to a small pedestrian gate. Go through this step-through, or through the pedestrian gate (making sure to close it securely) onto a wide bridle path. Follow the bridle path straight ahead.
10. After a few metres the bridle path crosses a small creek. Nearly immediately after, go through a small gate on your right. Close it securely and follow the faint but distinct dirt track between the creek on your right and another fence on your left. (If you reach a yard and carpark you have gone too far - retrace your steps until you find the small gate near the creek.)
The creek is generally dry but the walk along it is very pleasant passing under young eucalypts.
11. Follow the track ignoring all branches to the right across the creek until the main track crosses the creek with a high metal guard rail on either side.
If you want to let your dog have a paddle/swim, immediately after crossing the creek take the faint track left and walk another few metres to a large pond surrounded by tall reeds. If taking this option do not let your dog wander off leash away from the pond.
12. After crossing the creek, continue on the track up hill to gates on the left. Go through the step-through in the larger gate, or use the small pedestrian gate (closing it securely behind you), and turn right to follow the fence line up hill.
Again, take care if there are horses in this paddock.
13. Continue following the fence line until you come to a timber step-through at the top of the hill. Ignore the step-throughs in the gates leading into the wind break.
As you walk uphill there are extensive views to your left to the Brindabellas, the Canberra Arboretum and Black Mountain.
Cork plantation to North Curtin Playing Fields (15 minutes)
14. Exit the paddock using the timber step-through.
Off leash opportunity starts as you exit the paddock.
15. Turn left to follow a well-defined dirt track. Continue following the track as it curves to the right, away from the paddock fence-line, until you reach an overhead power-line. Turn left here to follow a less distinct dirt track heading downhill. Continue following the track downhill keeping the power-line on your right. At times this track can get overgrown. If this is the case, just skirt around the outside of the cork plantation, or take a clearer dirt track into the cork plantation further along.
A plantation of apple gums provides a shady border on the left of the track, with thick large shrubs and then a cork tree plantation shading the right. The substantial cork plantation dates from experimental plantings in the 1940s.
16. As a road (the Cotter Road) comes into view, look for the second last power-line post before the road. Turn right at this post onto a dirt track heading into the cork plantation. It will soon reach an open grassy area.
Although there is a wire fence before the Cotter Road, keep an eye on your off leash dog here.
17. Veer right at this point to reach a concrete footpath.
Off leash opportunity ends before you reach the footpath.
18. Turn left to follow the footpath until it reaches extensive playing fields (North Curtin Playing Fields).
The concrete footpath meanders through an informal park skirting the edge of Curtin houses on the right. A cycle path runs parallel to the left border of the park beside the 'Great Wall of Curtin'.
North Curtin Playing Fields Section (10 minutes)
Off leash opportunity on the oval.
19. When you reach the playing fields, duck under or step over the perimeter metal railing. Cross over the grass heading to the far right hand corner to another underpass.
The fields provide another large expanse for off leash playing and running unless being used for sports.
A bin is located next to the brick amenities building. Toilets are open on sports days.
To include a creek swim, head first to the far left corner of the fields. On the other side of the bike path you will see a slip way allowing easy access to Yarralumla creek running here through a paved stormwater drain. When you're ready to continue, turn your back to the creek and walk straight ahead across the fields to the underpass.
Watch out for cyclists when crossing the bike path that runs parallel to the creek.
North Curtin Playing Fields to Curtin shops (10 minutes)
20. On the other side of the underpass (beneath Dunstan Street), continue straight ahead on the concrete footpath that will lead to another underpass.
This section of the walk follows an informal park running between houses and past another children's playground.
21. Go through the next underpass (beneath Carruthers Street) and turn immediately left.
22. Follow the concrete footpath a short distance to return to the Curtin shops.
If you'd prefer to join one of our regular guided group walks, find out more at our guided walks page.