Amazing Crace: a family ride in Gungahlin

Landlocked in Gungahlin lies the quiet suburb of Crace. Motoring along the Gundaroo Drive, Crace is easily missed. As is typical for urban and cycling infrastructure planning in Canberra, there is an unpassable Ginninderra Creek on one side, and Gungaderra Grassland Nature Reserve on the other (walking only), the Barton Highway death trap to the south, and the Palmerston missing link (see ACT Fast-track program) to the north. The residents of Crace – and beautiful shared paths – lie undisturbed in sleepy isolation. A few years ago we saw both a brown snake slither away and an echidna trying to waddle across Gundaroo Drive.

Echidna, near Gungahlin Pond, Gungahlin, Canberra
Crace park, pond and playground, Gungahlin, Canberra
Crace park, pond and playground, Gungahlin, Canberra

Within the fortifications of Crace, you find a well-designed modern suburb with mixed housing. Crace has shops, a hill-top park, and a playground. The local shops turned out well and inviting, and with a nice restaurant. The public toilet for the restaurant and shops is found 400 m away at the playground. Public toilets are an aspect of suburb design that is increasingly neglected.

Gungaderra Grassland Nature Reserve, Crace bike path, Gungahlin, Canberra
Gungaderra Grassland Nature Reserve, Crace bike path, Gungahlin, Canberra

There is an underpass under Gundaroo Drive that links Crace Gungahlin Pond and Percival Hill.

Birds in flight, Gungahlin Pond. Photo credit - Joy Studio @joy.studio
Birds in flight, Gungahlin Pond. Photo credit – Joy Studio @joy.studio
Crace, Gungahlin, Canberra. Map: OpenStreetMap (OSM)
The cycling potential in Crace, Gungahlin, Canberra. Map: CyclOSM and OpenStreetMap (OSM) 

Suburban bike loop

Turn off to the Barton Highway, Crace bike path, Gungahlin, Canberra
Turn off to the Barton Highway, Crace bike path, Gungahlin, Canberra

There is a fantastic recreational and mostly asphalt community bike path around the edge of Crace (5.4 km long, rise 82 m). The section on the Gundaroo Drive of the suburb is through a park with a playground. The bike path from the high side of Crace provides great views of Gungaderra Grassland Nature Reserve (and access for the walker) and the Gungahlin Pond. There is a “green corridor” bike path from the top of the suburb, past the shops to the local playground, along the central axis of the suburb. Crace has a park on the hill, as is quite common in Gungahlin. For want of a little imagination, it is called Hilltop Reserve (Bill Bryson would have had a field day!)

Ettrick Street, Crace bike path, Gungahlin, Canberra
Ettrick Street, Crace bike path, Gungahlin, Canberra

Percival Hill

Opposite Crace on the other side of the Ginninderra Creek and marsh is Percival Hill. Percival Hill is prominent and provides a good view in all directions, including Crace. The hill is steepest on the south. If you want to practice your hill-climbing skills, there is a steep formed vehicle trail to the peak from Nicholls. Construction work has built an even steeper one on the south side, which is visible driving from Belconnen. I recommend to take the easy way up along the ridge from Gungahlin Pond with a nice gradient and a rise of 70m.

Crace from Percival Hill, Gungahlin
Crace from Percival Hill, Mount Majura left and Mount Ainslie right in the background, Gungahlin, Canberra
Percival Hill, looking towards Belconnen, Gungahlin
Percival Hill, looking towards Belconnen, Gungahlin
The ascent of Percival Hill from Gungahlin Pond, Gungahlin
The ascent of Percival Hill from Gungahlin Pond, Gungahlin

Gungahlin Pond

Gungahlin Pond is a favourite of locals, dogs, birds and even an echidna. The pond is not visible from Gundaroo Drive and many people do not know about it. It is quite big and sunsets here are glorious. You can ride along the foreshores on both sides on a horseshoe track with the dam across Ginninderra Creek at its head. When the Gundaroo Drive bike path is reconstructed we will be able to cycle right around it again. Can’t wait!

Gungahlin Pond looking north-west, Gungahlin, Canberra
Gungahlin Pond looking north-west, Gungahlin, Canberra

8 Replies to “Amazing Crace: a family ride in Gungahlin”

  1. I need to do this ride. I’m not an avid rider or anything but the highways are scary and the lake is just way too full of people! Only problem is getting my bike TO the ride. It doesn’t like car trips 😥

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I think anybody that rides Canberra bike paths will agree they hate being shaken to pieces by all those bumps. Sometimes the vision blurs. I hope the ACT Government will get on top of the maintenance.

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  2. It’s definitely a nice ride but a shame the path doesn’t complete the loop back to the Gundaroo underpass. There seems to be space to enable it.

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