Wanniassa Hills Nature Reserve
Wanniassa Hills Nature Reserve, part of Canberra Nature Park, is a 286 hectare gentle ridge line located in south-east Woden Valley. The reserve is great for bird watching and offers views of southern Canberra from the summit and wildflower displays in spring.
A number of walking trails cross the reserve and there is a horse riding track on the northern side. Mountain biking is permitted on formed vehicle trails.
The reserve protects open forest and woodland, including the endangered yellow box-red gum grassy woodland. Wanniassa Hills also supports a population of the nationally vulnerable pink tailed worm lizard (Aprasia parapulchella) and provides an important habitat for threatened and regionally declining woodland birds.
- Horse riding (only on designated trails)
- Mountain biking (only permitted on formed vehicle trails)
- Walking tails
- Dogs allowed on leash
Land Use History
The ACT has a long and rich Aboriginal history, extending from the present day back at least 25,000 years. Over this time, generations of Aboriginal people have cared for Country, and have been sustained, physically and spiritually, through their relationship with the land. Traditional Custodians have also actively managed the landscape for thousands of years, and created the landscapes first seen by European explorers and settlers through activities such ‘fire stick farming’ and selectively cultivating certain plants.
With European settlement of the Tuggeranong Plains in the nineteenth century, the lands of the reserve were primarily used for pastoral grazing. ‘Wanniassa’ was the largest property in the Tuggeranong area. It was renamed ‘Tuggeranong’ in 1858 following purchase by the Cunningham Family (from Thomas Maquoid) and incorporated into the Lanyon pastoral enterprise, until the Commonwealth Government acquired the area for military purposes in 1917.
Vegetation communities and associations
The reserve is predominantly woodland and includes mealy bundy (Eucalyptus nortonii), red box (E. polyanthemos), brittle gum (E. mannifera), scribbly gum (E. rossii), broad-leaved peppermint (E. dives) and apple box (E. bridgesiana). A small patch of endangered yellow box-blakely’s red gum grassy woodland occurs in the western and eastern parts of the reserve.
Plants – Land of diversity
Wanniassa Hills contains a high diversity of plant species rare in the ACT and supports relatively large populations of shaggy rock fern (Cheilanthes distans), sickle fern (Pellaea falcata), mountain hickory (Acacia penninervis), pink caps (Stegostyla congesta) and thin-clubbed mantis orchid (Arachnorchis atrovespa).
Other rare plants species include common fringe myrtle (Calytrix tetragona), golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha), hill fireweed (Senecio hispidulus), the nationally endangered hoary sunray (Leucochrysum albicans), pink five corners(Styphelia triflora), prickly moses (Acacia ulicifolia), slender wire lily(Laxmannia gracilis), tick bush (Indigofera adesmiifolia), yellow burr daisy (Calotis lappulacea)andzornia (Zornia dyctiocarpa).
Animals – Home to many
The reserve provides moderate and high value woodland bird habitat with nesting sites of threatened and declining bird species recorded. A large and active Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax) nest is found in the reserve.
The reserve contains drooping she-oak (Allocasuarina verticillata) which provide seed cones for the threatened glossy black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami). Open habitat supports a population of threatened pink-tailed worm lizard (Aprasia parapulchella).
Wanniassa Hills Nature Reserve is accessible from Erindale Drive on the west side and from the suburbs of Fadden and Macarthur.
Note: If you have difficulty accessing the information in this map please contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81.
About Canberra Nature Park
The ACT Parks and Conservation Service is responsible for managing Canberra Nature Park. Canberra Nature Park is made up of over 35 reserves ranging from bushland hills to some of the best examples of lowland native grassland and endangered ecological community of Yellow Box-Red Gum Grassy Woodland left in Australia.
The management of Canberra Nature Park is greatly assisted by a group of volunteers called ParkCare. ParkCare volunteers undertake a variety of activities including seed collection, plant propagation, tree planting, weed removal, erosion control, vegetation mapping and recording, water quality monitoring, raising community awareness and the maintenance and restoration of heritage places.
Caring for Ngunnawal Country
The ACT Government acknowledges the Ngunnawal people as Traditional Custodians of the Canberra region, and their continuing sense of responsibility to preserve the spirit and stories of their ancestors throughout the landscape. Cultural values are also living and current, as much as an appreciation of the past. For more information visit Caring for Ngunnawal Country.
Canberra Nature Map
Report rare and endangered plant sightings via the Canberra Nature Map.
For more information on heritage tracks, visit Canberra Tracks which is a network of heritage signage that incorporates six self-drive routes leading to many of Canberra’s historic sites.
The ACT Parks and Conservation Service conducts prescribed burns throughout Canberra Nature Park.
More information and feedback
For more information or to provide feedback, contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or complete an online feedback form.
The reserve is also part of the Centenary Trail which is a 145 kilometre self-guided, non-motorised loop trail for walkers and touring cyclists that showcases Canberra and takes users on a journey between urban and rural environments past iconic sites and hidden treasures.