Things to see and do in Canberra

Canberra is the nation's capital and home of the Australian story. Collecting institutions, galleries, museums and archives house the Australian National Collection, a treasure trove of Australian art, culture, history and records. Our flourishing food, coffee and wine scene is attracting curiosity and gaining international accolades.

Canberra is one of the best places to see Australian fauna in their natural habitat across our city parks and nature reserves. Active people love the clean, fresh air, abundant recreation activities and easy access to trails, playgrounds, bush, lakes and rivers.

In fact, Canberra is one of the best undiscovered short break destinations in Australia. With so much to see and do in one small place, you can have a huge time. Come visit Canberra and see for yourself!

National Zoo and Aquarium

Animal Experiences

Did you know you see kangaroos in their natural habitat, ride horses through the countryside, see sheepdog training on a working pastoral property and experience the rush of looking a big cat in the eye in Australia’s national capital? Canberra is home to an exciting array of animal encounters the whole family can enjoy.

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Exterior front view of the Papua New Guinea High Commission in Canberra showing traditional Papuan long house architecture


Canberra is home to official foreign missions, embassies and high commissions of over 80 nations.  Offering consular assistance for intending visitors and foreign nationals travelling in Australia, many embassies celebrate their national building and traditional architectural design. Take a scenic embassy drive and explore their architecture. Please note, this website does not provide consular or visa information. Contact details are listed for each embassy. 

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An intimate, seated audience listens to a piano recital in the foyer of the National Library of Australia - just one of the many venues offering entertainment across Canberra


Take some time out to be entertained in Canberra. Catch a show, attend a race, watch a performance or a live act when you stay in Australia's capital city. There is a range of venues across Canberra offering entertainment options every day of the week for all ages and interests.

You can also browse our comprehensive event listing to find out what's on in Canberra here.

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A child walks through the blue Rototron exhibit at Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre, a very popular family attraction in Canberra

Family fun

You'll have trouble keeping up with your kids when you visit Canberra for a family holiday. There are so many options for things to see and do. Many of the best are free.

Discover the treasures of the Australian National Collection and feed creative minds and active imaginations with both indoor and outdoor family fun.

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Vans the Omega, a graffiti artists paints a wall with an aerosol can in Canberra.

Galleries, museums and collections

Canberra is the home of the Australian story. The treasures of the nation are housed in national galleries, museums, archives and collections that are open to the public.

Visit international blockbuster exhibitions and see an ever-changing range of displays and regular events that bring the Australian National Collection to life. 

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Visitors pause to hear a ranger guided interpretation of a rock shelter used by Aboriginal peoples of the Canberra region at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Radiocarbon dating indicates the shelters were used as long as 21,000 years BP.

Historic sites

Canberra's Aboriginal history dates back to at least 21,000 years. Since European settlement, historic sites include convict constructions, historic huts, agricultural endeavours, architecture and places that supported the first moon landing. Explore the region's rich history and heritage on numerous self drive and heritage trails.  

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An aerial view of Telstra Tower on Black Mountain, a prominent and iconic Canberra landmark that dominates the skyline from many lookouts across the Canberra region.

Landmarks and buildings

Across the precincts of Canberra's planned layout, national galleries, museums, archives and foreign missions stand as icons representing 20th Century and modern architectural movements. Historic and modern landmarks dot the city and surrounding region.

Explore landmarks on self-drive Canberra tours, or grab your camera and play spot the attraction from one of the city's many lookouts

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Visitors gather around lit candles in the Canberra Nara Peace Park, a memorial celebrating the sister city relationship between Nara in Japan and Canberra in Australia

Memorial sites

Visit the national memorials that commemorate, acknowledge and reflect on the chapters that have defined Australia as a nation, including both Aboriginal and European. Australia's most popular attraction is the Australian War Memorial that commemorates the sacrifice of those Australians who have died in war. Take the time the reflect on those who came before us at our many memorial sites. 

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An aerial view from a balloon basket of national attractions including the National Portrait Gallery, The National Gallery of Australia and the High Court of Australia

National attractions

Visit the galleries, museums, memorials and archives that collect, preserve and display the treasures of Australia. A visit to the nation's capital is the ideal time to find your connection to our nation's story and to learn about the people, events and objects that acknowledge our ancient Aboriginal history and document the modern progress of this great nation. 

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Gibraltar Falls, a populat roadside attraction along the Corin Forest Road near Tidbinbilla and Canberra city

National Parks and Reserves

Discover the preserved and protected beauty of Canberra’s national parks and reserves. Over half the land area of the Australian Capital Territory is set aside as nature reserve, making Canberra a vibrant city within a flourishing and extensive park. 

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A visitor admires Gibraltar Falls near Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve from the lookout. Gibraltar Falls is a popular sightseeing stop on the way to Corin Forest, Tharwa and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Natural attractions

The Canberra Region is easy to get around, so you can experience a lot of nature. Natural attractions include waterfalls, gorges, lakes, rivers and snow capped mountains in winter. Canberra is also renowned for visitors experiencing their first encounters with Australian native animals in our parks and reserves. 

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Visitors photograph shafts of light through the mists in the Rainforest Gully at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra

Parks and Gardens

Come and discover our natural capital. Parks and gardens abound in the national capital. Canberra is also home to the National Arboretum Canberra, with spectacular views over the city, and the rich diversity of flora and fauna within the Australian National Botanic Gardens. 

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Exterior view of church building across gravestones of St John's Anglican Church in Reid, one of Canberra's earliest Christian church buildings consecrated in 1845.

Places of worship

The nation's capital has places to worship for many faiths and denominations. From churches, to temples, a mosque and a synagogue the nation's capital welcomes and respects all faiths. The city also welcomes weddings and other rites and practices in our parks and national attractions. If you are unable to find your preferred place of worship here, there are plenty of directories for places to worship you can browse.

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Shoppers smell scented candles at a stall in the Handmade Markets held regularly in Canberra

Shopping and Markets

Canberra offers four distinct seasons of fashion, thriving local markets and a growing handmade, upcycling, recycling and op-shopping culture. You will find major retail brands and suppliers you need for travel, leisure, homeware and outdoors activities. Dotted throughout our precincts and suburbs are treasured boutiques and galleries waiting for you to find that unique piece or something special for a loved one.   

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A mountain bike rider descends the downhill track at Stromlo Forest Park with sweeping views east to Canberra city and Black Mountain. Stromlo Forest Park is a free multi-use outdoor recreation area in Canberra, Australia.

Sports and Recreation

Explore world class mountain bike facilities, walk extensive nature trails, play at sporting grounds around town. You should definitely pack your gear and get active when you visit the capital. With so much nature in the city and surrounds, you can be walking, cycling, paddling, swimming, climbing or playing your favourite outdoor sports in no time. Then play a game with friends or test your skills against rivals in one of our indoor arcades and sport venues.

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Interior view of  treatment rooms at the Jindii Eco Spa in Canberra, Australia

Spas and retreats

There's so much to see and do in Canberra it can tire you out. Make sure you book in time to rejuvenate with a visit to a spa, wellness centre or retreat. We even have one nestled among Australia's largest living collection of native plants! Relax and and plan to unwind by browsing and booking from this range of choices. 

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