Hot air ballooning
There’s no better way to fully appreciate the capital’s charm than from the air in a hot air balloon as the early morning sun fills the valley and lakes with soft morning light. Balloon Aloft and Dawn Drifters will have you drifting peacefully over the city — one of the only places in the world where you can get the chance to fly directly over a Parliament House. You can also watch the spectacle of the annual mass lift off of hot air balloons at the annual Canberra Balloon Spectacular in March.
Walkers, cyclists and nature lovers can experience the best of Canberra’s urban and natural environments on the Centenary Trail a legacy of Canberra’s 100th birthday celebrations. The 145-kilometre self-guided trail loops around the ACT, is family friendly and can be experienced in sections. For those keen to tackle the whole trail, it will take about seven days averaging 20-kilometres per day.
Get up close with animals
Interactive and hands on experiences with creatures great and small make for amazing memories at the National Zoo & Aquarium. Take a tour that allows you to handfeed a huge brown bear, a lion or tiger, come nose to nose with a giraffe, meet a cheetah inside their enclosure, or even pat a shark!
Explore open range enclosures brimming with Australian native animals in their native habitat at Tidbinbilla. See endangered species like Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby, Long-nose Potoroos and the Northern Corroboree Frog. You can even get involved with wildlife conservation through one of the Naturewise at Tidbinbilla tours and work alongside wildlife biologists as they monitor populations and make valuable scientific research.
Explore Canberra's lakes
The central basin of picturesque Lake Burley Griffin is a hub of activity, especially in the warmer months. Get active and explore the lake with rowing, sailing, kayaking, canoeing and swimming.
A fun way to get around the lake is on a guided segway tour with Seg Glide Ride located near the International Flag Display on the southside of the lake, or do as the locals do and spend an hour walking the ‘bridge to bridge’ path around Lake Burley Griffin, stopping off at attractions along the way.
Hop on a Canberra Lake Cruise, departing daily at regular intervals, and take in some major attractions and beautiful parks. For something more intimate, book a cruise with Lake Burley Griffin Cruises and learn about the lake and the history of the area as you relax on the EL Cygnet.
Lake Ginninderra in Canberra's north and Lake Tuggeranong in the south both offer bike paths with parks, playgrounds and cafes and restaurants along their shorelines to enjoy. Water sports and fishing are common recreations to enjoy at each of the lakes.
Stromlo Forest Park
Stromlo Forest Park to the west of the city is one of Australia’s best mountain bike venues and the site of many world championships. Stromlo Forest Park boasts a criterium cycling circuit, a cross country running track, equestrian tracks and mountain bike tracks to suit any level of rider. The Playground a fun way to test and improve your mountain bike skills and abilities before you head off into the park.
Venture to Corin Forest Mountain Resort for a year round alpine playground. In the warmer months, enjoy the exhilaration of riding their alpine slide on a 1.2km descent through the forest. Enjoy nearby bushwalks along trails like the popular Square Rock walking trail or stop in to the popular Gibraltar Falls on the way along Corin Forest Road. In winter, the resort supplements natural snowfall with snow making to provide the opportunity for many to see their first snow. Their slopes are gentle and ideal for tobogganing for families. After natural snowfalls in winter, you should check for road closures and access, either on the Corin Forest website or through the Territory and Municipal Services road closures webpage.
Bushwalking and rock climbing in the Canberra district
Canberra has a rich heritage in rock climbing and bushwalking with many notable Australian mountaineers taking their first steps and climbs at renowned places like Booroomba Rocks in Namadgi National Park.
Get into the excitement of rock climbing, abseiling and caving plus other outdoor challenges with the expert guides of K7 Adventures who take trips in the Canberra district and nearby Snowy Mountains and South Coast.
With an extensive range of Nature Parks in and around the city, and the alpine regions of Namadgi and Bimberi Wilderness adjoining the Australian Alps offer experienced walkers plenty of challenging and rewarding walks ranging from day walks to places like Square Rock to multi-day hikes through snow gum wonderlands.
Canberra is the start or finish of the 650 km remote and challenging Australian Alps walking track, spanning stunning alpine wilderness across New South Wales to Walhalla in Victoria.
Camping in and around Canberra
There's plenty of opportunity to go camping when visiting Canberra. In addition to caravan and campgrounds in and around town, there are opportunities to stay in restored historic huts and plenty of nearby campgrounds to combine the tranquility of the bush with the excitement of the city.
Always take the weather
Outdoor activities are possible all year round in Canberra and the surrounding district. With four distinct seasons you just need to be prepared. Find the latest forecast for weather in Canberra before embarking on an adventure.