Five Hills 2024

29 January 2024 / Words and photos by Norm and Roz Barker

The Five Hills Run is our traditional first run for the year. The weather was overcast but rain wasn’t forecast. There were 12 MX-5s lined up in front of the Russell offices.


After the briefing the cars lined up and set off for a cruise around Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin, going up and down five of the surrounding hills.

Climbing the first hill, Mt Pleasant in the grounds of Duntroon/ADFA, we had to dodge the growth poking out from the sides. Canberra was very green after a very wet summer so far.

Next was up Mt Ainslie, which involved a steep climb on a winding road. A short stop was made to take in the view. The 12 Cars were able to stop mostly in one long line, which attracted attention from the visitors to this popular lookout. One Indian family had visitors with them who were quite taken with the display of sports cars, including the fun signs and decals on some of our group’s cars. One had added “Retirement edition” under the MX5 badge on the boot and a very cheeky prancing donkey. Another had a sticker with some very good advice “You can’t buy happiness but you can buy an MX-5, which is kind of the same thing”. We can only agree. They asked lots of questions and inspected the different models. We all waved goodbye to the bystanders as we left.

After descending Mt Ainslie, the convoy drove past the Australian War Memorial (in disarray due to the massive extension) and down Anzac Parade. At the bottom of Anzac Parade, the group turned right and followed the lake along to Black Mountain.  This is another steep and winding road and at the top we circled the car park. There tower on the top of this mountain is currently closed and looks abandoned, but hopefully one day it will be restored.

At the bottom of Black Mountain, we headed west to the National Arboretum and as we went under Parkes Way a white Holden Ute joined the group and followed us up to the top of Dairy Farmers Hill.     

Leaving the National Arboretum, we (and the ute) followed the route past the Canberra Zoo and across the top of Scrivener Dam, through Curtin and Deakin where a Nissan 280Z joined the group and we all went up Red Hill.  At the top the convoy formed up in the car park for some photos. The white ute with a young man and his girlfriend stopped and chatted with the group as did the guy in the 280Z. This was a first for one of our runs! Obviously, they were quite taken with the cars and just decided to tag along. We can’t help it if the MX-5s are so attractive.


Once all the photos had been taken, we proceeded to Lennox Gardens for a picnic by Lake Burley Griffin. People spread out on the lawns and chatted. Everyone had an enjoyable drive and time together over the picnic. Another successful MX5 run.