March 27, 2018
It’s not too late to plan your upcoming April school holiday trip to Canberra – the cleverest place to take your kids this autumn. Enjoy outdoor activities around Lake Burley Griffin and witness the spectacular changing of autumnal colours, or head indoors to Canberra’s national attractions where the kids will have a blast while learning a thing or two. It’s just one good thing after another in Australia’s capital.
Here’s our hit list of the most ‘edu-taining’ things to do in Canberra these school holidays:
All the family can enjoy a sparkling experience at the National Gallery of Australia these school holidays. Grown-ups and teenagers who appreciate glitz and glamour will delight in the blockbuster exhibition Cartier: The Exhibition, where never before have so many incredible diamonds, emeralds and other precious stones been seen in Australia. The exhibition showcases more than 300 spectacular items, with loans from royal families, celebrities and the astonishing Cartier Collection itself. Teenagers might enjoy eyeing off the Queen’s “Halo” tiara, worn by Kate Middleton at her wedding to Prince William, Dame Elizabeth Taylor’s diamond and ruby necklace, and a selection from the NGA’s exceptional Ballets Russes costumes.
Meanwhile, Junior Picassos can join Indonesian duo Indieguerillas on a cultural journey through the stories of their home in Yogyakarta at NGA Play: Indieguerillas. Tickets to Cartier: The Exhibition available for purchase here. NGA Play entry is free and suitable for all ages.
Give your children a moving, insightful and historic experience and join the thousands of people who gather at the Australian War Memorial on Anzac Day to pay tribute to and remember those who have served. Set an early alarm and attend the Dawn Service (5.30am – 6am), or attend the National Ceremony later in the day.
Tie your visit in with a tour of the Memorial – it’s truly a world-class experience where the whole family can interact with history and connect with the stories of people and events that have shaped Australia. Explore a First World War trench or an Oberon Class submarine at the interactive Discovery Zone, or take a 90-minute guided tour to learn more. Tours are available at 10am, 10.15am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm and 2pm daily. The Last Post Ceremony takes place each day at 4.55pm.
Go on the National Zoo & Aquarium’s Zooventure Tour and hand feed a lion, tiger, bear and more! It’s one of the most interactive animal tours in Australia. (Every day at 3.15pm, minimum age 12ys).
Or take the ultimate all day Walk on the Wildside ‘Wow’ Tour (minimum age 12yrs) where you and your family can spend the day working very closely with the Zoo’s larger and more dangerous animals. Feed the Red Panda, pat the rhinos, hand feed sharks, feed tree kangaroos, cuddle an emu and more.
For a memorable family experience, you could stay overnight at Jamala Wildlife Lodge – Canberra’s first luxury lodge experience. Bathe beside a bear or feed a giraffe from your balcony! Room rates include accommodation, all food and dinner beverages as well as exclusive safari-like tours. (Age restrictions apply for certain rooms)
Take your kids on a fun, interactive musical adventure with Meeting Mozart, showing at the Canberra Theatre Centre. Kids of all ages will laugh with delight as they join pianist Simon Tedeschi, Michelle Doake (as Mrs Mozart) and a string quintet in exploring and learning about classical instruments through popular Mozart pieces. From variations on Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star through to his great orchestral pieces including Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Turkish March (Rondo alla Turca) and music from The Magic Flute, your kids will have so much fun with Mozart’s masterpieces, they won’t realise they’re learning! Bookings required.
Immerse your junior Einsteins in a scientific adventure at Questacon: The National Science and Technology Centre. Older kids will love free falling down a six-metre slide, while little scientists will enjoy Mini Q as they learn through play in an exhibition specifically designed for 0-6 year olds. Entry includes admission to Questacon’s entertaining shows such as The Boc Liquid Nitrogen Show. Or unleash the inner inventor, designer or maker (aged 10-15 years) in hands-on holiday workshops like 3D Design, Wacky Racers, Rockets and more.
Pack a picnic and drive 40 minutes from central Canberra to try your luck to spot koalas, kangaroos, possums, reptiles and more in the natural setting of Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Join in a ranger guided walk or one of Tidbinbilla’s many school holiday activities, or simply let the kids explore the natural beauty and fresh open air. A short drive away is Corin Forest which has a 1.2km alpine slide winding its way through a Mountain Ash Forest. Breathe in the fresh air!
For a birds’ eye view of the nation’s capital, head to the National Arboretum Canberra. See the forest for the trees with its 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world. Walk, drive, cycle or even horse ride around the spectacular 250-hectare site. Kids will delight in the Pod Playground – where they can hide in the acorn cubbies, clamber across climbing nets, create music in the banksia cubbies and slip down the tube slides from giant acorn pods.
For a different perspective on Canberra, walk or drive up to Mount Ainslie and enjoy picture perfect vistas across the capital. Especially spectacular at sunrise or sunset, be sure to charge your cellular and snap a few memory-making pics. You may even score an encounter with our furry, yet friendly wildlife.
Autumn in Canberra is the ideal time to explore the outdoors, and a visit to the Australian National Botanic Gardens will allow all the family to roam amongst one third of Australia’s diverse and spectacular flora in Canberra’s bush land setting.
Climb and explore the Gardens’ latest addition – the Paperbark Treehouse and Who Did That? children’s trail. Sitting among a stand of paperbark trees three metres above the ground, the treehouse and surrounding trail are nestled in the forest canopy of the Paperbark Garden – a fun way for kids to learn all about the exciting plants and animals of Australia’s Melaleuca forests. Winding its way through the Gardens the trail is a journey of discovery where children can find out about Australia’s native plants and wildlife.
No trip to Canberra would be complete without enjoying the beauty of Lake Burley Griffin. Autumn is especially spectacular as the leaves transform to brilliant hues of orange and amber. To keep the kids engaged, take an electric bike tour around the Lake with Canberra Urban Adventures, or take in sunset with a pedal kayak tour (minimum age 6yrs). For older kids (minimum age 12yrs), take a Segway tour with Seg Glide Ride – just lean forward to go, go, go!
Or for a super unique experience, how about GoBoating? Rent a silent, sustainable, Scandinavian-designed picnic boat (aka GoBoat) and explore the Lake and all its waterside attractions while enjoying a picnic (All ages. Life jackets and all safety gear is included in the price).
After all that, surely the kids will be asking for a sweet treat? Go on, indulge them a little these school holidays. Canberra has an assortment of weird and wonderful offerings when it comes to treats. Unicorn lovers will lose themselves with a Unicorn Sundae from Space Kitchen, Phillip or let them get their freak on with a colossal Freakshake from Patissez, Manuka. Ice-cream lovers will rejoice at Frugii Dessert Laboratory, Braddon where ice-cream alchemist John Marshall has made quite the name for himself with his crazy yet delicious ice-cream creations. Peanut butter and bacon ice cream, anyone?
Download the VisitCanberra app to plan your perfect trip to Canberra.
EXPERIENCESAustralian National Botanic Gardens
EXPERIENCESLake Burley Griffin
EXPERIENCESCockington Green Gardens