There’s more to Canberra than matters of parliament and a scenic lake – rugged Stromlo Forest Park, for example, which is just a 15-minute drive from Canberra’s city centre. There’s plenty here for explorers, whether you’re into walking, jogging, cycling, horse-riding (or just having leisurely picnics). That said, it’s particularly come-hither for mountain bikers.

The park’s cross-country trail network spans more than 50 kilometres of diligently maintained trails. All abilities are catered to, from the beginner-friendly area of Holden’s Creek to the fearsomely-named double-black-diamond options such as Blood Rock and Cardiac Arrest. The trails have been tried-and-tested by some of the world’s best mountain bikers during high-profile competitions, including the World Championships and the 2008 UCI World Cup round – so they come with the top-dogs’ approval.

Sections of the park to earmark include Skyline and the Luge, plus the trails on the western side of the mountain (such as Deep Creek), which are a more challenging and less busy than the easily accessible areas on the eastern side of the mountain. To up the ante, there are plenty of Technical Trail Features, including bridges, log rides and see-saws (if you can stop admiring the views over Canberra and its surroundings long enough to try them).

There are six suggested routes to pick from, all of which are one-way. Bikers are asked to be considerate and careful at all times, as the trails within the park are also used by walkers; some of the fire roads are shared with horse-riders. Check the trail’s status page before you head here – they sometimes close for maintenance, events or due to bad weather.

When to go

Canberra experiences extremes in temperature, ranging from 40°C in summer to zero in winter. Winter days generally start with frosty mornings followed by clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine. If you’re a fan of flora, spring sees the city alive with blooms; it’s a very vibrant time to visit.

Where to sleep

Hotel Hotel in Canberra has us saying ‘yes yes’, thanks to its dazzling design, brilliant staff and capital location. Housed in the exciting NewActon cultural precinct, the hotel rubs shoulders with galleries, a cinema and quirky dining spots – and all that creative energy has clearly rubbed off.

Begin your Australian adventure in style with Singapore Airlines. Fly one-stop to Canberra from £675.

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