Top 15 Things to Do In Australian Capital Territory

The Best Australian Capital Territory

The Insider’s Guide to Australia’s Capital Region: 15 Unforgettable ACT Experiences

What if a simple weekend getaway could transport you from the halls of Parliament to the tranquil wetlands filled with over 200 bird species? The Australian Capital Territory offers this and so much more.

Things to do in the Australian Capital Territory include visiting the iconic Parliament House and exploring the National Gallery of Australia. Additionally, enjoying the natural beauty of Lake Burley Griffin and the Canberra Floriade festival are popular activities.

  • Explore the grand Parliament House and get an insider’s view of Australian democracy
  • Discover indigenous heritage and the nation’s history at the National Museum
  • Indulge in tastings at acclaimed wineries like Clonakilla, Shaw and Collector
  • Witness Canberra transform into a floral wonderland during the Floriade Festival
  • Take in panoramic views on hot air balloon rides and Mount Ainslie hikes
  • Encounter wildlife up-close at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
  • Cruise along Lake Burley Griffin for iconic views of the capital’s landmarks
Parliament House Canberra
Parliament House Canberra

1. Visit Parliament House

Visiting Parliament House in Canberra, the capital city of Australia, is a must-do experience for those interested in the country’s political history and contemporary governance. As the meeting place of the nation’s Parliament, this iconic building is not only an architectural marvel but also a symbol of Australian democracy.

Tours of Parliament House offer insights into the workings of the Australian government, including visits to the Senate and House of Representatives chambers, when Parliament is not in session. The building also houses an impressive collection of Australian art and historical exhibits. Additionally, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Canberra from the grass-covered roof of the building. Visiting Parliament House provides a unique opportunity to learn about Australia’s political past and present, making it a key destination for anyone interested in the country’s civic heritage.

The location also offers a picturesque viewpoint, offering panoramic views of Canberra. With over 3,907 reviews, it’s clear that Parliament House is a must-visit attraction in the Australian Capital Territory.

2. National Museum of Australia Tour

After exploring the wonders of Parliament House, your next stop in the Australian Capital Territory should be the National Museum of Australia, beautifully situated on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.

The National Museum of Australia, located in Canberra, is a premier cultural institution dedicated to preserving and presenting Australia’s social history, indigenous heritage, and national identity. This museum offers a diverse array of exhibits that explore the rich tapestry of Australian life, from ancient Indigenous history to contemporary culture.

Your National Museum of Australia tour will reveal a plethora of interactive exhibits that beautifully narrate Australia’s rich history. You’ll enjoy panoramic views of the lake as you meander through the stunning architecture filled with engaging narratives.

The indigenous culture showcase is a must-see, offering a profound insight into Australia’s first peoples. Guided tours are available to enhance your experience, enabling you to dive deeper into the diverse stories that define this great nation.

Visitors can engage with interactive displays, view artifacts, and participate in educational programs, gaining a deeper understanding of the country’s history, people, and environment. The museum’s architecture, with its striking design and use of symbolic elements, adds to the visitor experience. A visit to the National Museum of Australia is essential for anyone looking to gain a comprehensive understanding of Australia’s past and present, its challenges, achievements, and vision for the future.

3. Exploring Local Wineries

Sampling the wineries of the Australian Capital Territory is an enjoyable and indulgent experience, especially for wine enthusiasts. The region, though smaller than Australia’s more famous wine-producing areas, boasts a number of boutique wineries producing high-quality wines. These vineyards are known for their cool-climate varietals, such as Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Shiraz, offering a distinctive taste reflective of the unique terroir.

Visitors can tour these scenic wineries, often located within a short drive from Canberra, and enjoy cellar door tastings where they can learn about the wine-making process from local vintners. Many of these wineries also offer gourmet dining experiences, pairing exquisite local produce with their wines. Sampling the wineries of the Australian Capital Territory not only provides a taste of some excellent wines but also offers a glimpse into the region’s growing reputation as a producer of quality Australian wines.

Some of the best wineries to visit in the area:

  1. Shaw Wines – Known for their multi-award-winning wines, including riesling, merlot, malbec, shiraz, and cabernet sauvignon, all estate grown. Visitors can enjoy a tasting with a cheese platter and dine at the Olleyville Restaurant.
  2. Mount Majura Vineyard – Offers a range of cool-climate wines. A popular destination for wine tours and tastings with stunning views of Canberra and the surrounding region.
  3. Clonakilla – Internationally recognized for producing the iconic Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier, expertly blending shiraz with viognier. This velvety, complex wine has won numerous prestigious awards.
  4. Collector Wines – Known for producing elegant cool-climate wines like riesling, chardonnay and shiraz from their Collector and Lake George vineyards. Widely praised by leading wine critics.
  5. Capital Wines – Produces award-winning wines focused on regionality. Their Ministry Series featuring unusual blends and the single vineyard range express Canberra’s unique terrain.

These wineries offer a diverse range of high-quality wines while providing a fantastic wine tourism experience. There are stunning vineyards and excellent restaurants perfect for every wine lover visiting the Canberra region and the Australian Capital Territory.

4. Attend the Floriade Festival

Stepping into the vibrant world of the Floriade Festival, you’ll be captivated by the stunning spectacle of over one million flowers in bloom, offering an array of entertainment and horticultural enlightenment.

The Floriade Festival in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, is Australia’s premier spring celebration and the largest flower festival in the Southern Hemisphere. Held annually, Floriade showcases more than a million blooms in a spectacular display of color and creativity. The festival transforms Commonwealth Park into a tapestry of flowering bulbs, artistic designs, and vibrant landscapes, drawing visitors from all over the country and beyond.

Grab your camera and take advantage of the Floriade festival photography opportunities, capturing the dazzling displays of flowers against the backdrop of the city skyline.

You’ll be enthralled by the live music, cultural celebrations, and the stunning NightFest event with its illuminated flower displays.

Don’t forget to explore the Floriade festival food options, where you can tantalize your taste buds with a diverse selection of cuisines.

The festival also offers horticultural workshops and demonstrations, perfect for those looking to broaden their gardening skills and knowledge.

In addition to the stunning floral displays, Floriade features a rich program of events, including gardening workshops, music performances, culinary demonstrations, and cultural activities. The festival is family-friendly and offers something for everyone, from gardening enthusiasts to those simply seeking a beautiful and festive outdoor experience. Floriade not only celebrates the beauty of spring but also highlights Canberra’s status as a vibrant and culturally rich city.

Hot Air Ballooning, ACT
Hot Air Ballooning

5. Ride a Hot Air Balloon at Sunrise

Riding a hot air balloon at sunrise in the Australian Capital Territory offers an unforgettable and breathtaking experience. As one of the most serene and picturesque ways to view the landscape, a hot air balloon ride provides stunning aerial views of Canberra and its surroundings, including the Parliamentary Triangle, Lake Burley Griffin, and the lush countryside.

Floating gently in the early morning sky, passengers can witness the beauty of the sunrise as it illuminates the city and its natural surroundings. This peaceful and scenic adventure is not only a visual delight but also an opportunity to experience the tranquility of gliding through the air. A hot air balloon ride at sunrise in the Australian Capital Territory is a must-do for those seeking a unique and memorable way to explore the region’s beauty.

View from Mount Ainslie
View from Mount Ainslie

6. Hike Mount Ainslie

Hiking Mount Ainslie is a popular activity in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, offering panoramic views of the city and its landmarks. This well-known trail, easily accessible from the city, leads to the Mount Ainslie Lookout, providing hikers with a stunning vantage point to view the Australian War Memorial, Parliament House, and the aligning axes of Canberra’s layout.

For the photography enthusiasts among you, Mount Ainslie Lookout provides an incredible vantage point for capturing memorable photos. Here’s a tip: make use of the golden hours at sunrise or sunset for the best photographs.

The hike is moderately challenging and suitable for most fitness levels, winding through native bushland where hikers can observe local flora and fauna. It’s particularly beautiful during sunrise or sunset, when the changing light casts a picturesque glow over the city. The Mount Ainslie hike is not only a great way to experience Canberra’s natural beauty but also to gain a unique perspective of the city’s distinctive design and architecture.

As for the best time to visit Mount Ainslie Lookout, it’s truly stunning year-round, but for an extra special experience, try visiting in the Autumn when the city is awash with vibrant fall colors. It’s a sight to behold and a freedom lover’s paradise.

7. National Portrait Gallery Visit

Visiting the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, is an enriching experience for art lovers and history enthusiasts. This gallery houses a significant collection of portraits that depict influential and iconic Australians, reflecting the nation’s history, culture, and diversity. The portraits include a mix of paintings, sculptures, and photographs, featuring prominent figures from various fields such as politics, science, culture, and sports.

The gallery regularly hosts special exhibitions, offering fresh and exciting perspectives on Australia’s cultural heritage. When you need a break, you can relax at the popular café, where you can grab a bite or sip a hot cuppa. Don’t forget to stop by the bookshop, a treasure trove of art-themed books and unique gifts.

The National Portrait Gallery not only showcases artistic talent but also offers a deeper understanding of the individuals who have shaped Australia’s society and identity. The exhibitions are thoughtfully curated to tell stories and connect visitors with the diverse narratives of Australia. A visit to the National Portrait Gallery is a must for those interested in exploring the faces and stories behind Australia’s rich and complex heritage.

And don’t worry about parking, it’s free for visitors. So, soak up some culture and enjoy your time at the National Portrait Gallery.

8. Discovering Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, located near Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory, is a stunning natural sanctuary known for its diverse wildlife and beautiful landscapes. This reserve offers a range of activities for nature lovers, including a variety of walking trails that range from easy strolls to more challenging hikes, each providing opportunities to see native Australian wildlife such as kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and a variety of bird species in their natural habitat.

The Reserve is teeming with indigenous heritage and offers thrilling wildlife encounters. Don’t miss the chance to spot tiny sugar gliders in Mulligans Flat at night.

Take a half-day private tour to explore the diverse ecosystems and attractions of Tidbinbilla. It’s not just about the wildlife, it’s about unwinding in the heart of nature.

Tidbinbilla is also rich in Aboriginal history, offering insights into the indigenous culture of the region. The area’s scenery includes wetlands, grasslands, and eucalypt forests, set against the backdrop of the Tidbinbilla and Gibraltar Ranges. The Nature Reserve’s combination of natural beauty, wildlife viewing opportunities, and educational experiences makes it a must-visit destination for those looking to explore the Australian bushland and learn about its ecological and cultural significance.

9. Royal Australian Mint Exploration

As you leave behind the lush landscapes of Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, get ready to dive into a unique cultural experience at the Royal Australian Mint. Here, you can uncover the fascinating process of coin manufacturing and the rich history intertwined with it.

Just a five-minute drive from the city center, the Mint offers guided tours that walk you through its mint history and the coin manufacturing process. You’ll gaze at multimedia displays in the gallery, showcasing the evolution of coin creation.

Even more, you can mint your own $1 coin, a tangible memento of this unique journey into Australia’s past. Don’t miss the chance to meet Titan, the mint’s money-making robot.

As the sole producer of all of Australia’s circulating coins, the Mint is a fascinating destination where visitors can learn about the coin-making process, from design to production. The facility features interactive displays, historical exhibits, and the opportunity to view the manufacturing process from an elevated viewing gallery.

At the Royal Australian Mint, visitors can also see some of Australia’s rarest and most historically significant coins, gaining an understanding of how currency has evolved over time. Additionally, the Mint offers a chance to mint your own coin as a souvenir, making it a memorable experience for both numismatists and casual visitors alike. This exploration is not just educational but also provides a behind-the-scenes look at an essential aspect of Australia’s economy and history.

Lake Burley Griffin
Lake Burley Griffin

10. Go Boating on Lake Burley Griffin

Next on your itinerary, there’s nothing quite like boating on Lake Burley Griffin, a man-made marvel nestled in the heart of Canberra. The charming bridges encapsulate Griffin’s design, which aimed for harmony between natural and urban landscapes. Whether you’re an early bird catching the sunrise or a night owl witnessing the city lights shimmer on the lake’s surface, the views are truly captivating.

Going boating on Lake Burley Griffin is a delightful and popular activity in Canberra, visitors can rent paddleboats, kayaks, canoes, or even hop on a cruise to explore the expansive waters of the lake and enjoy the beautiful views of Canberra’s landmarks, including the National Museum, the National Library, and the Australian Parliament House.

Lakeside activities abound. You can pull-in and explore the vibrant cafes, soak up the bustling atmosphere of local markets, or lose yourself in the tranquility of the abundant green spaces. If you’re feeling adventurous even try your hand at fishing.

Boating on Lake Burley Griffin provides a unique perspective of the city and an opportunity for relaxation and recreation. It really is a favorite pastime for both locals and tourists, especially on sunny days, and is complemented by the scenic walking and cycling paths that line the lake’s shores. Whether seeking a leisurely paddle or a more structured sightseeing experience, boating on Lake Burley Griffin offers something for everyone looking to enjoy Canberra’s outdoor beauty.

11. National Library of Australia Visit

Stepping into the National Library of Australia, you’ll discover a vast collection of uniquely Australian books, manuscripts, and historical documents, including treasures like Captain Cook’s journal and Wills’ diary.

Visiting the National Library of Australia in Canberra is an enriching experience for anyone interested in the nation’s literature, history, and culture. As the largest reference library in Australia, it houses an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, documents, and photographs, many of which are significant to Australian heritage and knowledge.

The library’s architecture, inspired by a Greek temple, beckons you with its grandeur, crafted in marble and travertine.

As you wander through, you’re free to explore special collections and exhibitions in the Treasures Gallery and Exhibitions Gallery. Here, Australia’s rich history comes alive through curated displays.

Don’t forget to pause, soak in the panoramic views of the lake and surrounding areas, reminding you of the breathtaking beauty Australia offers.

The library’s grand architecture and tranquil reading rooms provide an ideal environment for research and reading. Visitors can explore the library’s exhibitions, which often display rare and historically significant items from its vast collections. The National Library also hosts various educational programs and events, enhancing the cultural experience. Whether for academic research or personal interest, a visit to the National Library of Australia offers a deep dive into the rich tapestry of Australian stories and knowledge.

12. Explore Quaint Country Towns

Exploring the quaint country towns in the Australian Capital Territory offers a delightful experience that showcases the region’s rural charm and heritage. These small towns, nestled amidst scenic landscapes, provide a glimpse into Australia’s country life and history. Visitors can wander through historic streets, visit local markets, and discover unique shops and cafes offering homemade goods and regional produce.

Each town has its own character and attractions, from Murrumbateman’s renowned wineries to the historic buildings and galleries in Braidwood. These country towns often host local festivals and events, adding to their appeal. Exploring these towns not only offers a break from the city life but also an opportunity to experience the warm hospitality and rich culture of the Australian Capital Territory’s rural communities.

Namadgi National Park
Namadgi National Park

13. Exploring Namadgi National Park

With the Canberra cityscape fading in your rear-view mirror, you’ll find yourself immersed in the diverse landscapes of Namadgi National Park, a sanctuary teeming with wildlife and dotted with ancient Aboriginal rock art.

Namadgi National Park is a vast and beautiful wilderness area that offers a wealth of outdoor activities and natural attractions. This park, forming part of the Australian Alps, boasts stunning landscapes that include rugged mountains, alpine meadows, lush forests, and clear streams. It’s a haven for hikers, with numerous trails ranging from easy walks to challenging multi-day treks, such as the famous Australian Alps Walking Track.

Follow scenic trails that lead to breathtaking panoramic views, perfect for a moment of reflection or a quick photograph. The park’s natural habitats are a haven for bird watchers. Wildlife spotting is a must-do, with plenty of opportunities to observe animals in their natural surroundings.

Namadgi National Park is also rich in Aboriginal history, with several sites showcasing ancient rock art and cultural heritage. Visitors can explore the park’s diverse ecosystems, spot native wildlife, and enjoy activities like camping, bird watching, and fishing. The park’s tranquility and natural beauty make it a perfect destination for those looking to escape into nature and experience the serenity of the Australian bushland.

Visit the park’s informative visitor centers to delve into the rich history and cultural significance of this wonderful place. Namadgi is truly a treasure trove of natural beauty and ancient culture, offering a taste of freedom and exploration that’s hard to resist.

14. Black Mountain Nature Park Hike

Leaving behind the natural splendor of Namadgi National Park, your next adventure awaits at Black Mountain Nature Park, a haven of native birds, wildlife, and a variety of walking trails that are sure to exhilarate any hiking enthusiast.

You’ll have a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the region’s natural beauty and biodiversity. This protected area, characterized by its eucalyptus-covered slopes and the prominent Black Mountain Tower at its summit, provides a range of trails suitable for various fitness levels.

Adjacent to the Australian National Botanic Gardens, the park’s stunning flora adds to the beauty of your outdoor activities. Located near the Australian Institute of Sport, it’s a convenient yet wild escape for nature lovers.

The hiking paths lead through native bushland, offering chances to see local wildlife and diverse plant species. The summit of Black Mountain offers panoramic views of Canberra and the surrounding areas, making the hike particularly rewarding. The park’s convenient location near the city center makes it a popular spot for both locals and visitors looking to enjoy a nature escape within close proximity to urban amenities.

You’ll feel a sense of freedom as you explore the park’s bushland, keeping an eye out for Black Mountain wildlife spotting. The 2.7-kilometer Black Mountain Summit Trail is a must, boasting panoramic Telstra Tower views that’ll take your breath away.

15. Jerrabomberra Wetland Adventure

Swapping mountain trails for tranquil boardwalks, your next stop is Jerrabomberra Wetland Adventure, a picturesque sanctuary located just eight minutes from the city center, boasting over 170 different bird species and serene surroundings to delight any nature enthusiast.

Jerrabomberra Wetlands, located in Canberra, is a significant wetland ecosystem that provides a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. This important ecological site is home to a diverse array of birdlife, with over 200 bird species recorded, making it one of the best birdwatching spots in the region. The wetlands serve as a key habitat for migrating birds and a breeding ground for native species.

Here, you’ll find plenty of birdwatching opportunities with bird hides enabling easy observation of the skittish species. Bring your binoculars and camera, as the wetland offers excellent nature photography spots.

Visitors to Jerrabomberra Wetlands can explore a network of walking trails and viewing platforms, offering excellent opportunities to observe birds and other wildlife in their natural habitat. The area also plays an educational role, providing insights into wetland ecosystems and their importance for biodiversity and environmental health. The tranquil setting and rich biodiversity of Jerrabomberra Wetlands make it a peaceful and rewarding destination for anyone interested in birdwatching, photography, or simply enjoying the beauty of nature.

Spread the word

Similar Posts