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Black Mountain - Telstra Tower Tips (18)

Black Mountain (Telstra) Tower

Black Mountain is probably the most visited (over 430,000 visitors per annum) of the three main lookouts in Canberra. The other two are Mount Ainslie and Red Hill lookouts. Given vegetation around the base of the Tower you will see nothing unless you pay and go up the tower.

The fact that some of the bush/trees cannot be trimmed back to give you a view without having to go up the Tower, obviously the local government pandering the to profit motives of the Tower and associated facility owners, irks me somewhat but let me leave that aside for this review.

The Tower itself is a 195m telecommunications tower atop Black Mountain at 812 metres. It was opened, despite a feeling of outrage and vigorous protest on aesthetic and ecological grounds (including a Supreme Court challenge) by vocal protesters, in May 1980 by the then Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser.

While long used as a meeting place and food source by local Aboriginal people, the first Europeans, explorers Charles Thorsby, his son Charles Thorsby Smith and policeman James Vaughan, to climb Black Mountain did so in 1820.

Black Mountain got its name from 1832 sketches of the mountain made by surveyor Robert Hoddle under which he wrote 'Black Hill' because, at the time, it was burnt (black) as part of the local Aboriginals' land management practices. These 'back-burning' techniques, originally used by Aboriginals, are widely used throughout Australia today in an attempt to limit the impact of bush fires, especially in urban areas.

In addition to a viewing gallery the Tower incorporates a theatrette, Panorama Cafe and a gift shop. Since I originally wrote this review the five star Alto Tower Restaurant, Canberra's only revolving restaurant has closed down. This does not surprise me. As I formerly wrote, the restaurant "....I feel, owes its success more to the views than its overpriced and unspectacular food'. The café is also overpriced for basic fare on offer and the gift shop carries a large range of mostly tacky souvenir’s (better value elsewhere).

Once up the tower the views are excellent. A 360 degree panorama of Canberra and its rural surroundings.

The viewing gallery, cafe and gift shop are open from 9.00 am until 10.00 pm, 365 days per year.

The Tower is accessible by an infrequent though adequate bus service (Action Bus routes 81 and 981( the latter, weekends and public holidays)). You can also drive to the Tower, take a taxi, cycle (hard ride) or preferably (assuming an average level of fitness) walk. Black Mountain has numerous walking tracks including a summit walk from the beautiful Australian National Botanical Gardens or Firth Road. See my separate review of the Summit Walk which gives details on both starting points.

While I locate my photos of the view from the top, the attached photos are exterior views taken on a more recent walk up the mountain. For excellent photos of the view from the top of the Tower I recommend you have a look at VT member Balhannah's review - Black Mountain Lookout.

Entrance Fee

Adult : $7.50
Child : $3.00 - Children under 4 free
Family : $17.00 - Two adults and two children
Concession : $3.00

Next Review – North Canberra

wabat's Profile Photo
May 06, 2016


Black Mountain is the location of the 195 metre high Telstra Tower, officially opened on May 15, 1980 by the then Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser
You can drive here and enjoy the views, or do one of the many bush walks on the Mountain. There is lots of Native birds and animals that call this area home.

Located in the entrance foyer of the Telstra Tower is theTelstra Heritage Exhibition which traces the history of Australian telecommunications. The video shown in the theatre is about the tower's design and construction when it was built and opened in 1980..

I suggest you pay the admission fee and go up the Tower as it is well worth the money to see the 360° view without trees in the way. Even people in wheelchairs can enjoy this marvelous view as a lift will take you most of the way.

There is more than one floor open to the public.
One has the revolving restaurant, another the Coffee Shop/Kiosk plus an enclosed viewing gallery, and the open area which involves climbing some steps to reach.


And what views they are, 360 degree of absolutely stunning scenery, especially on a nice sunny morning like when we visited. There were beautiful reflections on the lake.

The Tower has won two awards for outstanding design.

Telstra Tower viewing gallery is open from 9.00 am - 10.00 pm.
Coffee Shop 9.00am till late, every day of the year, including Christmas Day and Good Friday.

Adults $7.50
Aged pensioners $3.00
Children 4-16 years $3.00
Children under 4 years Free
Family Pass (2 adults & 2 children) $17

Bus route 81 on weekdays and 981 on weekends



balhannah's Profile Photo
May 08, 2016

Telstra Tower 1

The Telstra Tower is where you must certainly have the best view of all Canberra - from the top of the hill/mountain looking down on the lake and valley. I think it's about $4 for adults to go to the observation deck.

Kate-Me's Profile Photo
Feb 28, 2005

Telstra Tower

The tower rises 195 metres above the summit of Black Mountain, providing 360 degree views of Canberra and the countryside around it.

The tower is more than a landmark and viewing gallery, however. It has a functional role in providing state-of-the-art telecommunications facilities for Canberra. In the lower level of the Tower's entrance foyer, the exhibition "Making Connections" traces the history of Australian telecommunications from the earliest days into the 21st century.

sunnywong's Profile Photo
Nov 16, 2002
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Perfect Lookout

A perfect lookout double act. - 195m tower built on an 812m hill. The telecommunications tower, in Canberra's west, offers 360 degree views of the nation's capital and surrounds, including Parliament House, Lake Burley Griffin, the Australina Institute of Sort and further in the Brindabella Ranges and Mt. Ainslie.
The tower houses the revolving Alto Restaurant, which does a full circuit in about 85 minutes.
An exhibtion, tracing the history of Australian telecommunicationsis in the entrance foyer.

The tower is open daily from 9a.m to 10p.m
Adults $6 and children $1.90

carmen.'s Profile Photo
Jul 22, 2007

Don't bother to go

This tower is in a very isolated location and not accesible by public transport. It was very disappointing inside, as the interior of the tower is in much need of modernisation, and the view is hardly spectacular. And the coffee shop wasn't even open for business.

The admission fee is $4.40 which gives you access to 2 outdoor viewing platforms and 1 indoor.

UKDaisy's Profile Photo
Apr 12, 2006

What not to do in Canberra

what a disgusting excuse for a restaurant, the teltra towers rotating restaurant is run by the most judgmental, pathetic excuse for a manager we have ever come across, with little to no customer service skills what so ever. As a young couple in our mid 20's on holiday in Canberra with money to spend on a romantic dinner we made the mistake of choosing this restaurant, to our disgust we were refused service after being seated by a waitress, who later denied showing us to a table after the manager rudely approached us and accused us of seating ourselves and then once told otherwise, openly discussed our presence to fellow staff members at the bar, telling the waiter to lie to us about the kitchen being closed, which was obviously untrue due to the other customers awaiting their meals at 7.30pm! what a disgusting act of judgment, as a business who are they to choose who they serve and don't serve based on the appearance of the social status of their customers, we were dressed neatly and appeared presentable, apart from being the youngest people in the restaurant. how unaustralian, and snobby do you have to be to be accepted in such a place, as nice as it looked with the view over Canberra, is it really worth supporting the poor attitude that they run their business by, humiliating their customers at their own leisure for no clear reason, what can only be assumed as poor judgment. our story is long, with the complaints, all we can say is dont waste your time or money with such a business, we would recommend the local pizza place well above this so called fancy tourist site.

Oct 09, 2010

Telstra Tower

Telstra Tower is formerly known as Telecom Tower - The tower rises 195 metres above the summit of Black Mountain and has become a well known landmark in the city but it also provides state-of-the-art telecommunications facilities for the Capital.

The lower level of the Tower houses an exhibition tracing the history of Australian telecommunications. You can see old equipment and photographs.

keeweechic's Profile Photo
Aug 02, 2003

Top 5 Canberra Writers

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"Wonderful, immoral, tempting and terribly ........"
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"CANBERRA - Aboriginal for "MEETING PLACE""
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"The Bush Capital..or..a good sheep paddock wasted?"
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"A Capital Idea"
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"Canberra Our Home"
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Here you see the Telstra...

Here you see the Telstra Tower and rises 195 meters above the summit of Black Mountain and provides 360-degree views of Canberra and the surrounding countryside. Stunning views of the city can be seen by day are nights from two open viewing platforms or enclosed viewing gallery. This place is really worth a visit.
See for more pics and info in the
Telstra Tower travelogue please.

Ronald_T's Profile Photo
Sep 12, 2002

The Telstra Tower

From the top of the Telstra Tower (on Black Mountain) you get a great view of Canberra... It costs a bit to get to the top deck but the view is wonderful on a clear day. If you are interested in seeing a view of the city then this is a good location...if you'd prefer another place then go to Mt Ainslie instead.

The tower is open daily from 9 am to 10 pm and closed only on Christmas Day.

CandS's Profile Photo
Dec 05, 2005

360 views of Canberra at Black Mt Tower

If you are pressed for time, it is a good idea to visit the Black Mt Tower at Black Mt Drive, Acton in Canberra to get sweeping views,(360) of Canberra and surrounds.

The Tower stands 195 metre tall and is open till nighttime so you can get views of the city lights as well! There is also a good revolving restaurant so you dine in style amidst the backdrop of the Canberra skyline!

If you are not up to climbing up to the tower, there are walking tracks around the tower and you might get lucky to encounter native animals like the ringtail possum. Many native trees and shrubs are there too so you also get to experience a bit of bushwalking!

AusPinay's Profile Photo
Feb 02, 2009

Black Mountain Tower

Atop one of the higher peaks overlooking Canberra, is a telecommunication tower situated above the summit of "Black Mountain". Rising over 195 meters above the Mountain summit, is Canberra's notable landmark that allows visitors to view panoramic views of the city and its surrounding countryside from an indoor observation deck with two oudoor viewing platforms and a revolving restaurant, business offices, sales, and radio communication facilities that was originally the "Telstra Tower" or "Telecom Tower" that replaced the microwave relay station of Red Hill. Developed by the Department of Housing and Construction under design by William H. Wilson of Sydney, much debate and protest proceeded its construction based on aesthetic and ecological concerns. It was beat in Federal High Court and the government was able to proceed. It was opened on May 15, 1980, was unveiled by the Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. It annually receives over 6 million visitors. It is responsible for major trunk line radio-telephony facilities, television transmitters for national and commercial services, FM radio transmission, radio paging facilities, mobile radio telephone base station services, and as a cellular phone base station. It cost over 16 million to build.

leafmcgowan's Profile Photo
Apr 24, 2011

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100 Black Mountain Drive, Acton, ACT 2601


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