Curtin playing fields walk directions
This is one of our favourite walks. Off leash opportunities extend nearly the whole way. The route follows linked informal off leash parks with lots of interesting smells and long grass to run through, traverses large playing fields with excellent ball chasing opportunities, and includes a creek dip to cool down. For humans there are extensive views northeast to the city, Red Hill, Black Mountain and Mount Ainslie, west to the Brindabellas and north to the Canberra Arboretum. The walk can be extended by combining it with part of the Curtin horse paddock walk or reduced by taking a short cut. The walk starts and ends at the Curtin shops where there are several excellent dog friendly cafés. Note this walk includes a gentle, but sustained uphill section.
Start/Finish - Curtin shops, Strangways Street
Time/Distance - Allow 90 minutes/approx 5 km (short option allow 45 minutes/approx 3 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, South Curtin Oval, North Curtin Playing Fields
Distractions - Occasional horse riders and (rarely) kangaroos
Playgrounds - Behind the Scout Hall; after the first Carruthers St underpass; after the Dunstan St underpass
Photo Gallery - See photos taken on the Curtin Playing Fields 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 South Curtin Oval (10 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 your left that drops steeply downhill.
There is a children's playground at the end of the driveway in the park.
3. Turn left on the concrete footpath to pass between the two buildings - the signed Ron Reynolds Training Centre and the old Curtin Scout Hall.
4. Continue along the concrete footpath ignoring the branch nearly immediately to the right and another later branch to the left.
Off leash opportunity on the oval.
5. On reaching a large oval (South Curtin Oval), cross on the grass to the far side to the underpass (beneath Carruthers Street).
Take care if children from the Curtin Primary School on the left of the oval are out and about. The oval is usually deserted and provides a great area for energetic ball games.
There is a green wheelie bin located on the corner of Carruthers Street and the access road to the small car park adjacent to the school (facing the underpass look slightly left and up).
South Curtin Oval to Reef Hill (15 minutes)
6. Go through the underpass and continue uphill on the footpath, ignoring branches left or right, until it passes over a small drainage ditch.
This section of the walk passes through an informal park and past another children's playground.
7. After crossing the ditch, turn right off the concrete footpath to follow the dirt track passing behind houses and gradually rising uphill.
Off leash opportunity starts after crossing the drainage ditch.
This section, until the North Curtin Playing Fields, passes through informal parkland of largely native trees and grasses.
Over the next few minutes, there are views to the left of Mount Taylor, Oakey Hill, Mount Stromlo, the Brindabellas, and Colin Hill in the foreground.
When you reach a fenceline on your left (the Illoura Horse Holding Paddocks), there will be a gap in the houses on your right and extensive views of Red Hill, Mount Ainslie, Mount Majura, Black Mountain, and Parliament House.
8. Continue following the dirt track uphill past the gap in the houses, with the paddock fenceline on your left.
As you reach the houses again, look for a step-through in the paddock fenceline to your left. You can take a very short detour through the step-through to reach the peak of Reef Hill (about 30 metres away at the yellow trig post) to see views of the Weston Creek valley on the other side. But remember to leash your dog while in the horse paddocks. Return to the dirt track to continue the walk.
Reef Hill to North Curtin Playing Fields (30 minutes)
9. Continue following the dirt track as it descends, past houses on your right and the horse paddock on your left.
There are extensive views of Weston Creek, Mount Stromlo Park, the new Molonglo Valley development, and the Canberra Arboretum ahead.
10. After a few minutes downhill, there is another gap in the houses to your right.
To take the optional shortcut back to the Curtin shops, turn right here and walk downhill following the dirt track in the middle of the park. Go through the underpass (underneath Carruthers Street) and continue downhill following the dirt track to return to your starting point. Taking this option will return you to the shops in around 10 minutes. This shortcut to the shops is off leash until the underpass.
An optional extension to the walk also starts here, to the left through the step-through in the horse paddock fence. Refer to the Curtin Horse Paddock walk directions.
11. If you don't wish to either extend or cut short your walk, ignore the dirt track turning right, and continue ahead following the dirt track passing close to the houses on your right rather than the paddock fenceline to your left.
12. This dirt track soon reaches a concrete footpath. If you wish to continue walking your dog off leash, veer left before you reach the footpath and pick a route 'cross-country' across the grass keeping at least 10 metres away from the footpath on your right.
Keeping away from the footpath will at times take you quite close to the fenceline of the horse paddock on your left. You could follow the dirt track along the fenceline but we recommend avoiding this as some off leash dogs find the smells in the paddock too tempting not to slip through the fence.
If you prefer to walk on the footpath with your dog on leash, just follow this footpath and continue until it ends at large green playing fields (North Curtin Playing Fields) at direction number 18.
This section of the walk is where you are most likely to encounter horse riders, although it is not a regular occurrence. It is your responsibility to ensure your dog is calm and under control around horses. Horses here are generally dog-proof, but even the quietest horse can take fright at a dog rushing at it from behind. As well as being a risk to riders, your dog could be killed from a kick. If you'd like to teach your dog to be calm around horses, you could ask the rider whether you can approach with your dog on leash. Most riders will be happy to be help out.
13. After a few minutes, the terrain will flatten out and you'll reach a grassy clearing. At this point, look out for the overhead power-line heading straight ahead through this clearing, and then diving into a seemingly dense plantation of trees and shrubs. Follow the dirt track heading downhill and running on the left of, and parallel to, the power-line. Continue following the track downhill keeping the power-line on your right.
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.
14. 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.
15. Veer right at this point to reach a concrete footpath.
Off leash opportunity ends before you reach the footpath.
16. 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 along the left border of the park, parallel to the 'Great Wall of Curtin'.
North Curtin Playing Fields Section (10 minutes)
Off leash opportunity on the playing fields.
17. When you reach the playing fields, duck under or step over the perimeter metal railing and cross over the grass heading to the far right hand corner to another underpass.
The fields provide another large expanse for playing and running when not being used for sports.
A bin is located next to the brick building on the fields. Public toilets are also accessible here on sports days.
To include a creek swim, head instead 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)
18. 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.
19. Go through the underpass (beneath Carruthers Street) and turn immediately left.
20. 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.