Discover the natural capital of Canberra
Experience Australian native wildlife and get up close with animal conservation activities with a visit to Canberra’s Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and the National Zoo and Aquarium.
National Zoo and Aquarium
Go behind-the-scenes at the National Zoo & Aquarium with a Zooventure, Family or Walk on the Wildside tour. Have a 110kg Sumatran tiger leap up on the fence and take a piece of meat from your hand. Have a lion roar only inches from your face. Watch otters display their amazing underwater skills in a feeding frenzy. Have a giant brown bear lick honey from your hands. Come face-to-face with a friendly giraffe or take part in the life-changing Meet-a-Cheetah experience.
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
There’s always an opportunity to see wildlife while bushwalking in the Sanctuary forests and wetlands at Tidbinbilla. Located at the foothills of the Australian Alps between the Tidbinbilla and Gibraltar Ranges, Tidbinbilla is an easy 40-minutes drive from Canberra’s city centre and offers a wide variety of outstanding nature experiences for the whole family to enjoy.
With 22 marked walking trails, ranging from an easy 15 minute stroll to an all day bushwalk, there is something to suit everyone. Linger at the lookouts, search for platypus from the boardwalks, observe the resident and migratory bird life, and explore granite outcrops. The 20-minute Koala Path walk is perfect for families and don’t forget to look out for koalas as you take a short stroll through the wet eucalypt forest, home to wombats, wallabies, echidnas and many species of birds and reptiles.
Discover your wild side. Venture beyond reserve management gates on an exclusive, behind the scenes, endangered wildlife experience on Tidbinbilla’s Snooze with the Roos, a two-day adventure into the 'off limit' areas for close encounters with some of Australia’s precious wildlife. Discover the leading role Tidbinbilla plays in breeding the critically endangered Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby and the Northern Corroboree Frog, and personally contribute to this important research as you assist wildlife officers with the wildlife breeding and animal monitoring programs. After a rewarding day contributing to conservation, return to camp at Nil Desperandum, a heritage homestead hidden away in a tranquil valley, and reflect on the days’ experiences by a camp fire, under a stunning canopy of stars.
Dinosaurs, reptiles and birds at Gold Greek Village
The family will love a visit to Gold Creek Village. You can wander through galleries, gift shops and specialty stores before grabbing a bite to eat at one of the cafes. The village is home to the National Dinosaur Museum, which has loads of robotic dinosaurs, dozens of life-like models and skeletons plus hundreds of fossils and minerals on display. Experience a guided tour, Dinosaur Hunt challenge, interactive hands on specimens and enjoy the school holiday activities. Nearby is the Canberra Reptile Zoo and the Canberra Walk in Aviary, home to about 550 free-flying birds from 58 different species from Australia and around the world.
Adventures on horseback
You can also ride horses on a fully-operational grazing property with Burnelee Excursions on Horseback. Lindsey Butt started his business Burnelee Excursions on Horseback with his family 35 years ago and to this day continues to lead rides on the 4500-acre family property, with the help of his children. Burnelee Excursions on Horseback cater for anyone over the age of six years, from beginners to experts. Each ride on the grazing property is different and allows for riders regardless of experience level to enjoy the unique beauty of the local countryside.
Canberra Nature Park
Canberra is blessed with numerous nature reserves dotted throughout the city. See kangaroos, wombats and a wide range of bird species in woodland and grassland reserves. You can easily walk along guided trails or undertake the full length of the 140km Centenary Trail and explore river gorges, mountain tops, encountering wildlife in beautiful landscapes. You can explore the trail in small, easy sections, or set yourself a challenge to take longer rides and walks at your pace.