10 must-do outdoor adventures
Updated 13 Aug 2023
Enjoy wilderness close to city comforts
Natural beauty is right on your doorstep in Canberra with popular lookouts, challenging hikes, and mountain bike trails in the inner suburbs. Discover gorges, forests, and snow-capped mountains just 45-minutes’ drive from the city at national parks and nature reserves. Stay in town and head to the glistening centrepiece of the capital, Lake Burley Griffin, that has been dubbed a water playground.
Locals love getting out into nature in Canberra, which is a 100% renewable energy city with progressive climate change policies. Tick off the top ten iconic outdoor experiences that locals love and no trip to Canberra would be complete without.
Classic bridge to bridge loop
'The Lake', as it’s affectionately known, is loved by locals and visitors alike. Lined with parks and paths, walking, running, scooting or cycling Lake Burley Griffin’s popular five-kilometre bridge-to-bridge loop is a must for some of the best views in the inner-city. Take in the stunning vistas or stop into the lakeside galleries and iconic attractions.
Koalas in the Eucalypt Forest
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve lives just 40-minutes drive from the city centre, and is home to many native Australian animals. Venture along the Koala Path in the Eucalypt Forest to see these snuggly marsupials, wander the Sanctuary Loop for a fresh breath of the Wetlands, or walk the Camels Hump trail for scenic views over Canberra. Tidbinbilla has facilities for kids, challenging hikes for adults, and plenty of rest areas for family BBQs.
Booroomba Rocks at Namadgi National Park
Nestled on the northern edge of the Australian Alps, Namadgi National Park is criss-crossed with trails just waiting to be hiked. Take the 2.5 km return walking track from the Booroomba Rocks car park or the scenic 10.5 km return from Honeysuckle Campground via the Australian Alps Walking Track.
Centenary Trail around Canberra
The Canberra Centenary Trail loops around Canberra, taking in the many highlights from Parliament House through to secluded natural pools. The 145 km marked path is broken into seven manageable sections, although experienced hikers and cyclists may be able to complete multiple legs at a time. Choose from multiple lengths of the trail, and go as big or as small as you'd like to never miss out on its incredible views.
National Arboretum views
Just six kilometres from the city centre you are able to wander through 44,000 rare and culturally significant trees, in Canberra's own aboretum. Your hardest choice will be deciding whether to walk, cycle, ride a horse, or take a bus tour through the varied forests to take in the views. The National Arboretum Canberra is also home to a collection of beautiful bonsais and a great café.
Hot air balloon at sunrise
Float into the sky as the sun rises and see the whole city from above, before enjoying a champagne celebration at Hyatt Hotel Canberra with experiences brought to you by Balloon Aloft. A one-of-a-kind experience to see some of the most breathtaking views of the area and create lifelong memories you will never forget.
Mount Ainslie summit walk
GoBoat Canberra jaunts
Hire an electric GoBoat to explore the glittering jewel in Canberra’s crown, Lake Burley Griffin. Don a captain’s hat and pack a picnic to feast on as you see the sights from the water. You don’t need a boating licence, but bookings are essential for you and up to seven of your mates.
Black Mountain trails
Choose from the many routes that lead to Black Mountain’s summit to be rewarded with panoramic views over the lake and city. Keen adventurers can explore the Australian National Botanic Gardens at the base of Black Mountain and Telstra Tower at the top. Finish it off with a family BBQ on Black Mountain Pensinsula down below.
Cruises of Lake Burley Griffin
Many distinctly Canberran landmarks are best seen from the water. Time your guided boat trip with sunset to be surrounded by colourful skies and the dramatic silhouette of the Brindabellas. MV Southern Cross and Lake Burley Griffin Cruises both run regularly in Canberra’s warm months.
Discover more with the Nature Lovers Guide
Want to know the local's recommendations on the best lookouts, hikes, cycling trails and native animal spotting opportunities? This guide to the capital's great outdoors has you covered.