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Shepherd’s Lookout: A Scenic Escape in the Heart of the ACT

Shepherds lookout - looking over the winding Murrumbidgee river and ACT border

Shepherds Lookout stunning views of the Murrumbidgee and Molonglo River

Nestled in the beautiful Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Shepherd’s Lookout in Canberra offers visitors a breathtaking vantage point to immerse themselves in the natural surroundings of the region.

Named after nearby property owners, Shepherd’s lookout features panoramic views of the Murrumbidgee River and the picturesque Brindabella Ranges. The powerlines visible in the distance mark the border between New South Wales and the ACT.

Evidence has shown that this beautiful area was once inhabited by Ngunnawal aboriginal people, with many stone tool scatter sites being discovered over the years. The river would have provided the local people with access to water as well as fresh yabbies and fish.

Shepherd’s Lookout is a must-visit destination that showcases the undeniable beauty of the ACT landscape. This scenic gem, located in Woodstock Nature Reserve, is a haven for nature enthusiasts, photographers, and those seeking an escape from bustling city life.

Getting to Shepherd’s Lookout

The scenery is so picturesque and serene, it feels as though you’re miles away from town, but in reality, you’re only 30 minutes away from Canberra’s city centre and a few minutes away from the residential area of Holt.

To get to the lookout heading from Holt, follow the road along Stockdill Drive until you get to a small parking area on the right-hand side.

The lookout is easily accessible for most, with the walking trail starting from the car parking area and heading straight up towards the viewing platform which is around 250m walk.

The lookout platform is situated on a steep part of the hill that overlooks the Murrumbidgee River and offers panoramic views of the Brindabella Ranges and New South Wales & ACT border.

Directions to Shepherd's Lookout from Holt, ACT

Are there other walking trails?

There is a short walking track from the car park on Stockdill Drive. The track from here is approximately 250m to the top of the lookout (500m return).

Around half of the track is sealed, however, as you get around halfway up the hill the track becomes a dirt path. It’s a relatively easy stroll and suitable for most fitness levels.

For the return walk you can go an alternate way which leads you through more narrow bush track through the trees.

We opted for the same path as we had our son with us and it was a lot easier to manage. The track via the trees is a longer walk back to the car parking area.

There are a few other walking tracks available to those wanting to explore the Woodstock Nature Reserve area.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit would be during the early morning or late afternoon when the light is soft and you can appreciate the stunning views. Sunrise or sunset would be beautiful. 

If planning on doing the longer walk, I would recommend going during Spring or Autumn, not when the weather is really hot.

Uriarra Loop

For those that are after more of an adventure, there is a trail from the lookout down to the Molonglo River. There is a small wooden bridge across the river that takes you onto the Uriarra Loop trail. To my knowledge, this walk is around 9kms return

We didn’t do the Uriarra Loop walk this time, though we did drive down to Uriarra Crossing and it was beautiful. This is on my list to do next time I’m visiting the area in the next month. The landscape in the area is just stunning.

Are you able to take your dog to Shepherds Lookout?

The lookout walk itself is dog friendly, as are the picnic areas along the Uriarra Loop. Dogs are not permitted on any of the walking trails from the lookout down to the Uriarra Loop.

There are signs that show the areas where dogs are permitted.


At Shepherd’s Lookout itself, there are no amenities or facilities. If you want to spend the day near the river, there are amenities at some of the picnic areas along the trail. Toilets can be found at the Uriarra East picnic area which you’ll pass on the Uriarra Loop trail.

More information can be found at Parks ACT

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