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Giants fans cheering at Manuka Oval

100 things to do in Canberra

Updated 8 Jul 2024

Celebrate Manuka Oval's centenary in style

Cheer on the GWS Giants as they take on Hawthorn at Manuka Oval in Canberra (4 August) and then cheer again to celebrate the heritage stadium’s 100th birthday. Mark this historic milestone by challenging your friends and family to do 100 amazing things in Canberra.

Family on free tour of National Museum of Australia looking at crocodile
National Museum of Australia
Exterior shot of the Australian Parliament House building
Australian Parliament House
A young child and an older man placing a poppy into the wall of names of fallen soldiers.
Australian War Memorial
A mother and daughter in front of a portrait in a gallery
National Portrait Gallery
Three kids of varying heights looking at a digital collage of black and white photographs at the National Archives of Australia.
National Archives of Australia
Two people sitting on a bench with art in the background.
Canberra Museum and Gallery
Couple walking through an Aboriginal memorial in a gallery
National Gallery of Australia

Museums and galleries

Canberra is well-known for its national attractions, but culture lovers also thrive within the city's local arts scene and heritage sites. Many offer free entry and tours.

1.       Walk in the footsteps of decision makers at Australian Parliament House (free entry).

2.       Pay your respects at the Australian War Memorial (free entry).

3.       Uncover Australia’s many stories at the National Museum of Australia (free entry).

4.       See ancient and contemporary art at the National Gallery of Australia (free entry).

5.       Discover local tales at the Canberra Museum and Gallery (free entry).

6.       Visit famous faces at the National Portrait Gallery (free entry).

7.       Witness the memory of our nation at the National Archives of Australia (free entry).

8.       Watch classic films at the National Film and Sound Archive.

9.       Meet talented artists at Canberra’s 30+ boutique art galleries (free entry).

10.   Travel back to the 1830s at Mugga Mugga Cottage.

Couple walking past trees in autumn
National Arboretum Canberra
Couple walking across bridge surrounded by large, green ferns.
Australian National Botanic Gardens
Mountain bike riders admiring the view form One Tree Hill
Canberra Centenary Trail
A woman with sunglasses looking out across Canberra.
Mount Ainslie Lookout
Booroomba rocks at Namadgi National Park
Namadgi National Park
Stars shining at night at an observatory
Mount Stromlo Observatory
Mulligans Flat Woodlands Sanctuary at twilight with tour guide and tour group
Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary's twilight tour

Outdoor adventures

A 100% renewable energy city with over 70% dedicated nature space, Canberra is a nature lover’s dream.

11.       Complete a lap of the capital on the Canberra Centenary Trail.

12.       Conquer Canberra’s four urban peaks and be rewarded with stunning lookouts.

13.       Hike through Namadgi National Park (free entry) and reconnect with nature.

14.       Spot koalas at The Sanctuary in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

15.       Head to the Australian National Botanic Gardens (free entry), home to over 4500+ native plants.

16.       See the city on two wheels as you cycle along Canberra’s many bike paths and trails.

17.       Stargaze at Mount Stromlo Observatory’s public evenings.

18.       See endangered spotted quolls at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary (free entry).

19.       Walk through 90+ forests of rare and significant trees at the National Arboretum Canberra (free entry).

20.   Fish, swim, canoe, and spend a night under the stars on the banks of the beautiful Cotter River near where it meets the Murrumbidgee River.

A group of children watching a science experiment at Questacon.
Questacon
A child and her mother going down the snow at Corin Forest in a tobaggan.
Corin Forest
Two children completing an obstacle course in a forrest.
Treetops Adventure Canberra
Parent and kids exploring the Museum of Australian Democracy
Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House
National Zoo and Aquarium
Canberra Reptile Zoo
A child playing amongst the miniature sculptures and displays at Cockington Green.
Cockington Green Gardens
National Dinosaur Museum
National Dinosaur Museum

Kid and family activities

From beginner snow slopes to miniature villages, Canberra offers more than just the classics when it comes to epic family activities. 

21.       Get hands-on as you learn about the wonders of science and technology at Questacon.

22.       Learn how to toboggan and ski on the beginner-friendly slopes of Corin Forest.

23.       Challenge yourself on an aerial obstacle course set amongst a pine forest at Treetops Adventure Canberra.

24.       Get crafty or opt for role play at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House (donation entry).

25.       Learn about endangered animals and breeding programs at the National Zoo and Aquarium.

26.       Make money at the Royal Australian Mint (free entry).

27.       Enjoy visual storytelling, animation, and imaginative play at the National Museum of Australia’s Discovery Centre.

28.       Meet snakes, owls and everything in between at the Canberra Reptile Zoo.

29.       Marvel at handmade miniature replicas of buildings from around the world at Cockington Green Gardens.

30.   Roar with a T-Rex at the National Dinosaur Museum.

Artistically plated dish at Raku restaurant
Raku
The Howling Moon
Person carrying beers at Bentspoke Brewing Co
BentSpoke Brewing Co
Patrons eating burgers
Capital Brewing Co.
Big River Distilling Co
Fun Time Pony
Musician playing live at Assembly Bar
Assembly
Beltana Farm Dining
A truffle farm owner, truffle dog and tour participants finding a truffle from the ground.
The Truffle Farm

Foodie experiences

Make the most of every meal and drink on your trip. Meet the chefs, taste local produce, and feast at highly awarded cafes and restaurants.

31.       Sip a coffee made by an Australian Barista Champion.

32.       Discover for yourself why so many Canberra restaurants have achieved famed chef hat status.

33.       Find your new favourite wine at one of the 140 vineyards and 40+ wineries within a 35-minute drive of Canberra.

34.       Tour Canberra’s breweries to taste Australia’s favourite beer two years running and the nation’s first carbon-neutral brews.

35.       Savour local flavours as you sample Canberra’s gin distilleries.

36.       Catch a gig or two at the capital’s popular live music bars.

37.       Join a truffle hunt to watch talented dogs locate delicious gems before feasting on the finds.

38.       Indulge in a meal with a view that is just as delicious as the dishes.

39.       Hop between cafes, restaurants and bars in the foodie heaven that is Braddon.

40.   Spend a morning brunching, shopping in boutiques, and watching boats flit across the lake at the Kingston Foreshore.

A family is walking alongside picturesque Lake Burley Griffin
Bridge-to-bridge loop
Three friends enjoying a beverage on a boat.
GoBoat
Love Boats
MV Southern Cross cruise
Blundell's Cottage is a historic heritage building along the lake.
Blundells Cottage

Lake activities

The glistening centrepiece of Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin is a water playground whilst its shoreline is home to many great trails and sites.

41.       See iconic sites including the Australian War Memorial and Australian Parliament House on a walk beloved by locals, the five-kilometre bridge-to-bridge loop.

42.       Cycle around the lake on 40 kilometres of paved bike paths.

43.       Hire an e-scooter and zip around the lake to the National Triangle, home to many museums and galleries.

44.       Enjoy a floating picnic on a sustainable, electric GoBoat made from recycled PET bottles.

45.       Skipper your own luxury Love Boat and see the sites in style.

46.       Spot famous landmarks on a sightseeing cruise with MV Southern Cross cruise.

47.       Soak in Canberra’s signature colourful sunsets on a Lake Burley Griffin cruise.

48.       Join a qualified Stand Up Paddle instructor on a self-paced journey around Lake Burley Griffin.

49.       Keep an eye out for the ghost rumoured to haunt Blundells Cottage, a 150+ year-old home on the shores of the lake.

50.   Hear the Southern Hemisphere’s largest musical instrument, the National Carillon, located on Queen Elizabeth II Island.

Canberra Balloon Spectacular
Women looking at a lion.
Jamala Wildlife Lodge
A couple looking out across Canberra as the sun sets.
Mount Ainslie lookout
Flower beds with pink tulips and purple pansies at Floriade Festival 2014 with the Ferris wheel in the background. | © Jo Bakas
Floriade
A man in a hot air balloon soaring across Canberra national attractions
Balloon Aloft
A group of kangaroos resting on the grass by the lake during sunrise.
Weston Park

Picture perfect places

Your camera roll will be filled with picturesque scenes from your trip to the capital. Check out @VisitCanberra on Instagram for more inspiration.

51.       Be neighbours with lions, giraffes, meerkats, or sharks for a night at Jamala Wildlife Lodge.

52.       Sleep amongst the vines with Cubby and Co’s luxury belle tents at Mount Majura Vineyard and Yarrh Wines.

53.       Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city on a hot air balloon flight.

54.       Snap a selfie in front of iconic mid-century modern architecture.

55.       Take in the panoramic views from Mount Ainslie lookout.

56.       Admire the ancient practice of growing and training tiny trees at the National Bonsai & Penjing Collection (free entry).

57.       Enjoy an impromptu photo shoot amongst Canberra’s many Cherry Blossoms each spring and russet red leaves in autumn.

58.       Pose in front of a backdrop of over one million blooms and annuals at Floriade (14 September – 13 October, free entry), Australia’s largest celebration of spring.

59.       Watch kangaroos sunbathing at Weston Park.

60.   Photograph the aptly named Canberra Balloon Spectacular (typically held during the third week of March, free entry) when dozens of hot air balloons take to the sky

The owner of Gallery of Small Things Anne Masters standing infront of artworks.
Gallery of Small Things
Haig park village market at Braddon
Haig Park Village Markets
The Little Burley Market
A young girl wearing a pointed witches' hat and harry potter robes.
Quizzic Alley

Markets and popular shops

Many boutique, speciality, and mega stores are open seven days a week, whilst weekends in Canberra are full of markets.

61.       Browse The Little Burley Market at the lake’s edge every Saturday to taste gourmet food and find artisan goods.

62.       Stock up on fresh, local produce at the Capital Region Farmers Market held every Saturday.

63.       For a sprawling market with over 200 stalls in a country setting, head to Hartley Hall Markets held on the first Sunday of every month.

64.       Hosting some of the region’s best, Haig Park Village Markets is a foodie delight held in leafy Braddon each Sunday.

65.       Admire glass homewares, art and jewellery at the Canberra Glassworks’ shop. Stop by on a Sunday to pair your trip with a visit to the neighbouring Old Bus Depot Markets.

66.       Live out your witch and wizardry dreams at Quizzic Alley, a store dedicated to Harry Potter’s magical world.

67.       Shop the wares of dozens of local craftsmen and vintage sellers at Dirty Janes Canberra, a warehouse full of delights.

68.       Pick up a piece of miniature art at Australia’s smallest art gallery, the Gallery of Small Things.

69.       Find your next read at the National Library of Australia bookshop where the shelves are filled with the works of talented Australian authors.

70.       Get the perfect souvenir of your trip to the capital at Pop Canberra, a Braddon shop dedicated to local flavours, art, and accessories.

Two axes in front of wooden targets
Axxe
Climbing the colourful walls at Blochaus bouldering in Fyhwick.
BlocHaus
Movie-watchers gather around the bar before the film begins at Palace Electric Cinema.
Palace Electric Cinema
Power Kart Raceway
Tour group playing basketball
Australian Institute of Sport

Indoor activities

Explore the great indoors with adventures waiting to be discovered behind every door.

71.       Ever wanted to break a faulty printer with a baseball bat? Head to Breakr.

72.       Perfect your axe-throwing skills at Axxe.

73.       Test yourself at BlocHaus, an inclusive bouldering centre where no ropes, partners, or experience are needed.

74.       Jump in all directions at BOUNCEinc, an unparalleled indoor adventure with a X-Park ninja course, trampolines, dodgeball, wall running, and a cliff jumping experience.

75.       Work together to outsmart a cunning set of challenges at Escape Rooms Canberra and reward yourself at the garden cocktail bar.

76.       Try to get a hole-in-one at Holey Moley mini golf or work with friends to score points in the four-minute challenge rooms where whimsy meets mayhem at Hijinx Hotel.

77.       Choose between karaoke, arcade games, ten-pin bowling, table tennis, and pool at Kingpin.

78.       Get an adrenaline hit at Power Kart Raceway as you speed along a F1-style indoor circuit.

79.       Watch the best international cinema, arthouse, and quality new release films at Palace Electric before getting a drink at their Prosecco Bar.

80.   Try wheelchair basketball, virtual downhill skiing, rock climbing, and football penalty shootouts at Sportex at the Australian Institute of Sport.

Ngala Tour of the National Arboretum Canberra
Dhawura Tours
She Shapes History tour
Van Du Vin winery tour
Two women being cleansed during smoking ceremony.
Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation

Tours and guided experiences

See the very best of Canberra on a tour with a local. Taste Canberra’s food and wine, explore the Australian bush, and learn about our First Nations culture.

81.       Taste the best flavours, dishes, and drinks during an Eat Canberra Food Tour.

82.       Identify native plants used for medicinal, culinary and cultural use by traditional custodians on a Ngala Tour of the National Arboretum Canberra.

83.       Learn how women and queer people have shaped history in Canberra on a She Shapes History tour.

84.       Choose between eight self-drive heritage trails that explore the long, diverse history of the capital region with Canberra Tracks.

85.       Journey back in time to become a part of 'The Dreaming' with Dhawura Tours’ Ngunawal guides in Canberra’s nature reserves. 

86.       Meet vintners, taste local wines, and visit cellar doors on a guided tour of the Canberra Wine Region.

87.       See the capital and Brindabella Ranges from above on a helicopter tour with Air CBR.

88.       Join one of the cultural tours by Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation to see and learn about the land from the eyes of the Ngunnawal people.

89.       Design your own tour full of museums, galleries, wineries, and award-winning attractions with Canberra Guided Tours.

90.   Hop on Hop off the Red Explorer Loop Bus to visit popular attractions including the embassy precinct.

91.   Spot native, nocturnal wildlife in their natural habitat on a Night Safari tour.

A painting of two Tahitian women sitting down.  | © Exhibition realised with gratitude for exceptional loans from the Musée d'Orsay. Paul Gauguin, Tahitian women (Femmes de Tahiti) 1891, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, gift of Countess Vitali 1923. Photo: © GrandPalaisRmn (musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowsk
Gauguin’s World: Tōna Iho, Tōna Ao. Exhibition realised with gratitude for exceptional loans from the Musée d'Orsay. Paul Gauguin,Tahitian women (Femmes de Tahiti)1891, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, gift of CountessVitali 1923. Photo: © GrandPalaisRmn (musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski.
Truffle hunt
Discovering Ancient Egypt
Giants fans cheering at Manuka Oval
GWS Giants v Hawthorn Hawks

What’s on - events, festivals, and games

Plan the ultimate weekend in Canberra to see the Giants take on Hawthorn. There’s lots on in the first weekend of August including events celebrating Ancient Egypt, LEGO, Gauguin, truffles, photography, and Manuka Oval’s 100th birthday. Explore our events calendar to discover even more.

92.       Watch talented dogs hunt truffles and taste the delicacy for yourself during truffle season.

93.       Immerse yourself in the art of a French Post-Impressionist master at Gauguin’s World: Tōna Iho, Tōna Ao (on until 7 October) at the National Gallery of Australia.

94.       Journey to the land of the pyramids to discover the wonders of society, religion, and the afterlife at Discovering Ancient Egypt (on until 8 September) at the National Museum of Australia.

95.       Celebrate science and history at CURIOSITY: Building Breakthroughs (on until 11 May) at Questacon with a LEGO display meticulously crafted by Brickman.

96.       Choose your favourite artwork at the National Photographic Portrait Prize (on until 13 October), where 34 finalists provide a powerful visual record of the past year.

97.       Literally laugh out loud at a comedy show with Urzila Carlson (1-2 August) and Tommy Little (3 August).

98.       Support the Raiders NRLW team as they take on the Knights at GIO Stadium (3 August).

99.       Cheer on the GWS Giants as they take on Hawthorn at Manuka Oval (4 August) in their final Canberra home game of the year.

100.       Celebrate Manuka Oval’s 100th birthday in 2024 by doing 100 awesome things in Canberra.

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