Top 15 Things to Do In Canberra

The Best Things to Do In Canberra

An Insider’s Guide: 15 Captivating Ways to Discover Canberra

Beyond Parliament House political halls lies Canberra’s treasure trove of interactive science museums, thought-provoking art galleries and floral hiking trails waiting to captivate the curious traveler.

You might think you’ve seen it all, but unless you’ve journeyed to the heart of Australia and immersed yourself in the eclectic mix of activities that Canberra has to offer, you’re just scratching the surface.

Things to do in Canberra include visiting the Australian War Memorial and exploring the National Gallery of Australia. Also popular are touring the Parliament House and enjoying the city’s numerous parks and outdoor activities.

As the nation’s capital, this city is brimming with rich history, stunning architecture, and a vibrant arts scene, all nestled amidst breathtaking natural landscapes.

You’ll find yourself stepping back in time at the Australian War Memorial, marvelling at world-class art in the National Gallery, and feeling the adrenaline rush as you hike up Mount Ainslie.

But wait, there’s much more. You’re just at the beginning of an unforgettable adventure that will leave you yearning for more.

Now, wouldn’t you like to know what else Canberra has in store for you?

  • Pay homage to Australia’s war veterans at the deeply moving national memorial
  • Solve interactive puzzles inside hands-on science exhibits at Questacon
  • Peer over politicians’ shoulders on an exclusive Parliament House tour
  • Sample fresh flavors at the weekly bustling Old Bus Depot craft markets
  • Ride hot air balloons over Lake Burley Griffin’s glittering expanse at sunrise
  • Spot wild kangaroos while hiking skyline trails on bushy Mount Ainslie

1. Exploring the Australian War Memorial

When you visit Canberra, you absolutely must find time to explore the Australian War Memorial, a moving tribute to the Australians who laid down their lives in war. Here, you can delve into rich historical insights, witness poignant artifacts at the world-class museum, and participate in an enlightening historical tour.

The interactive exhibits provide a captivating way to gain insights into Australia’s involvement in wars and conflicts. The historical artifacts, on the other hand, tell stories of bravery and sacrifice that’ll touch your heart. Don’t miss out on witnessing the Last Post, played daily at 4:55 pm, which is an emotional reminder of the freedom enjoyed today.

It’s more than just a visit; it’s a journey into the past that reaffirms the value of peace.

2. Experience at the National Gallery

Looking for an immersive cultural experience in Canberra? Don’t miss the National Gallery of Australia, home to the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, and a treasure trove of works from renowned artists such as Jackson Pollock and Sidney Nolan.

Take advantage of the guided tours for an enriching exploration of the diverse collection. You’ll delve deeper into the cultural significance of the pieces, enhancing your understanding of the art world.

The educational programs provided are a fantastic way to learn while having fun. Make sure to visit the serene sculpture garden for a unique outdoor art experience.

Witness the vibrant art scene of Canberra by checking out the rotating exhibitions. This is freedom in its finest form.

3. Fun Times at Questacon

Ready for an adventure that’s both educational and fun? Dive into the thrilling world of Questacon, where you’ll find more than 200 interactive science exhibits waiting to spark your curiosity.

You’re not just observing here, you’re actively participating. Engage in hands-on technology experiences at the Technology Learning Centre or sit in on captivating guest lectures. It’s not simply a visit, but a whirlwind of educational experiences.

With family-friendly fun at every turn, Questacon promises a shared joy of discovery. The exhibits are so engaging, you’ll forget you’re learning! Questacon has mastered the art of making science and technology accessible and enjoyable.

Whether it’s your first visit or your fiftieth, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable adventure at Questacon.

4. Strolling in the Cockington Green Gardens

Next on your Canberra journey, step into the enchanting world of Cockington Green Gardens, where you’ll marvel at exquisitely crafted miniature English gardens and international icons, perfect for a memorable family outing.

This family-friendly attraction offers a unique, immersive experience. Spot the meticulously created miniature displays, from charming cottages to famous international landmarks. Don’t forget to ride the miniature steam train, providing a delightful tour through the beautifully crafted landscapes.

Pause for a cup of tea and a scone at the café, while soaking in the captivating surroundings. Take a selfie with the diverse displays to remember your visit.

Cockington Green Gardens isn’t just a stroll in the park, it’s an adventure into a miniature world of beauty and intrigue.

Parliament House Canberra
Parliament House Canberra

5. Touring the Parliament House

If you’re fascinated by politics and architecture, a guided tour of the Parliament House should be next on your Canberra itinerary. As part of the tour, you’ll explore the unique architectural symbolism of the building, delve into the chambers of power, and enjoy an exclusive high tea experience.

Savour sweet and savoury delicacies while soaking in the understanding of Australia’s political history. Unravel the craftsmanship in exhibitions and art collections, adding a cultural dimension to your visit.

With around 3,907 visitors, the Parliament House is a popular attraction, and the free parking is a bonus. So, embrace your spirit of freedom, delve into the world of politics, and appreciate architectural beauty, all in one visit.

Experience Canberra’s Parliament House and enrich your travel diary!

6. Visiting the National Museum of Australia

Dive into Australia’s rich history, culture, and identity at the National Museum of Australia. Engaging exhibitions and interactive displays await your exploration.

You’ll discover the indigenous culture through historical artifacts in the Eternity and First Australians galleries. These galleries offer panoramic views of the lake and surroundings.

You’ll also immerse yourself in a diverse art range. This includes the sculpture garden and global artists’ collection.

The museum isn’t just about art and culture, it’s also a gateway to understanding Australia’s military history through the ANZACs at the Australian War Memorial.

Make the most of your visit with a Canberra Highlights Tour. This tour includes the National Museum and other main attractions, ensuring a hassle-free and enlightening experience.

7. Discovering the National Science and Technology Centre

For a thrilling introduction to science and technology, you shouldn’t miss a visit to Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre in Canberra, where a world of interactive exhibits and exciting experiments awaits you.

Here, you’ll have the chance to engage in hands-on learning, making your experience both fun and educational.

Questacon offers a variety of science shows, special events, and guest lectures, giving you the freedom to explore a multitude of scientific topics.

Don’t forget to stop by the Technology Learning Centre for unique workshops and technology play.

Conveniently located near other museums, this centre gives you the opportunity to satisfy your curiosity and expand your knowledge in a captivating and interactive way.

8. Admiring Street Art in Canberra

Stepping away from traditional museums, you’ll find Canberra’s streets bursting with vibrant art, where the city’s diverse neighborhoods serve as an open-air canvas for dynamic murals and graffiti that reflect its local culture and history.

Go on a self-guided walking tour, snapping Instagram-worthy shots of the city’s street art scene. Don’t miss out on street art events, where you can watch local artists in action, creating their masterpieces right before your eyes.

If you’re keen to learn more, join a guided street art tour. You’ll gain insights into the artists behind the vibrant murals, understanding their artistic inspirations and the stories they tell through their unique pieces.

With every turn, Canberra’s street art offers a fresh perspective, making your journey an unforgettable experience.

9. Exploring the National Portrait Gallery

After soaking up the vibrant hues of Canberra’s streets, it’s time to enrich yourself further with a visit to the National Portrait Gallery, a cultural hub that opens a unique window into Australian identity and history.

As you explore, you’ll delve into the world of portrait artists, each capturing the essence of their subjects in a way that’s both personal and universal. The gallery isn’t just a chance to admire aesthetic mastery; it’s an opportunity for understanding Australian history through portraiture. Every face has a story, linked to the wider narrative of this diverse nation.

After immersing yourself in this captivating experience, you can enjoy a coffee at the café or pick up a souvenir from the shop. Explore, learn, and enjoy—freedom is in the discovery.

10. Shopping at the Old Bus Depot Markets

Canberra’s Old Bus Depot Markets are a shopper’s delight, offering a treasure trove of unique handcrafted items, locally made products, vintage clothing, jewelry, and homewares.

Dive into the vibrant market culture as you explore stalls brimming with vintage treasures. Chat with the local artisans, learning about their craft while supporting local businesses.

It’s a unique shopping experience where you can get your hands on handmade crafts, gourmet food, and fresh produce. Taste the flavors of Canberra’s market scene as you sample delicacies from various food stalls.

Engaging and interacting with vendors adds a personal touch to your shopping. So, step into these buzzing markets, relishing the freedom to explore, discover, taste, and shop in the heart of Canberra.

11. Relaxing at Weston Park

Once you’ve had your fill of shopping at the Old Bus Depot Markets, imagine unwinding at the serene Weston Park, a perfect spot in Canberra for picnics, leisurely walks, and wildlife spotting.

This tranquil haven offers peaceful picnic spots along the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, where you can relax and soak in breathtaking views. Engage in fishing or boating, explore lush greenery, gardens, and playgrounds, each offering a peaceful escape. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a kangaroo or two!

Take a leisurely stroll or bike ride around the parklands, drink in the natural beauty, and bask in the freedom of wide-open spaces. Weston Park, with its wildlife spotting and tranquility, surely offers an unrivaled experience.

View from Mt Ainslie
View from Mt Ainslie

12. Hiking at Mount Ainslie

If you’re yearning for a more adventurous activity in Canberra, hiking at Mount Ainslie should be on your list, as it offers stunning panoramic views of the city and a peaceful, serene atmosphere to enjoy.

The scenic trails wind through beautiful landscapes, providing excellent photography opportunities for both professionals and hobbyists. It’s a popular spot not just for hiking, but also for picnics, with plenty of spots to relax and soak in the beauty of the cityscape.

Nature lovers will be thrilled by the flourishing local flora and fauna.

13. Bonsai Collection at National Arboretum

Don’t miss the chance to explore the diverse and beautiful Bonsai Collection at the National Arboretum. Here, miniature trees from various cultures and traditions come alive in a stunning display of horticultural artistry.

Delve into the intricate world of bonsai cultivation techniques and marvel at the meticulous care that goes into each miniature masterpiece. Guided tours offer enlightening insights into the cultural significance of bonsai, revealing a deep-rooted history and fascinating traditions.

Amidst the tranquility of this captivating collection, you’ll find a unique way to connect with nature and indulge your senses. So, get off the beaten track, embrace your love for freedom, and cultivate a newfound appreciation for this exquisite form of horticultural artistry.

Lake Burley Griffin Fountain
Lake Burley Griffin Fountain

14. Experiencing Lake Burley Griffin

Next on your Canberra adventure is the tranquil Lake Burley Griffin, a must-visit destination where you can walk or cycle around, appreciating the picturesque views and exploring the landmark buildings and memorials along its loop walking path.

To add a splash of fun, consider an electric boat hire. It’s eco-friendly and doesn’t require any boating experience or license. Simply pack a picnic, hop on board, and you’re set for a memorable day on the water.

For a touch of magic, don’t miss out on a hot air balloon experience at sunrise. It’s a breathtaking way to see the city from a new perspective and is rated one of the best things to do in Canberra.

Freedom awaits at Lake Burley Griffin!

15. Dining Options in Canberra

After a captivating day at Lake Burley Griffin, your appetite will be set for Canberra’s vibrant food scene, teeming with diverse dining options to explore. You’ll uncover Canberra’s culinary delights at hotspots like Pilot and Eightysix, where unique dining experiences are the norm.

Farmers Markets are hidden gems in Canberra’s dining scene, offering fresh local produce and artisanal goods. For a change of pace, indulge in a traditional tea and scone at Cockington Green Gardens.

Don’t forget Canberra’s array of wineries and vineyards. They’re not just for wine tasting but also offer exceptional dining.

Embrace your freedom to explore, taste, and savor the diverse flavors of Canberra. Each bite and sip will be an adventure in this foodie paradise.

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