While Canberra’s sunsets are particularly impressive, hang around for another couple of hours and you’ll be spoilt by the natural lightshow in the skies above.

The national capital is known for its low air pollution, clear skies and abundant bush reserves where the local lights won’t impede the view.

Rug up on cooler nights and take along your binoculars to watch the vista at these top locations.

Mount Stromlo

From Mount Stromlo Observatory the sky opens up to spectacular views, uninterrupted by city lights. It has the only operational research telescope and is home to a world-respected community of researchers exploring space. These researchers from the Australian National University offer stargazing evenings, tours and lectures – check their calendar for upcoming dates.

Mount Stromlo Observatory at night, Canberra
Stars are in abundance on a clear night at Mount Stromlo Observatory. Photo: Nick Anasson

Lake George

The expanse of Lake George sits to the north of Canberra, and offers a familiar welcome for drivers arriving from Sydney on the Federal Highway. Its regular water level fluctuations and mysterious history make it an attractive place to take in a starry night. Head to Weereewa Lookout to capture the panorama.

The Milky Way pictured from Lake George near Canberra
A Canberra view to behold from the lookout at Lake George. Photo: NIck Anasson

Mulligans Flat Woodlands

At the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary you can book a Twilight Tour to see animals in the wild – many of them endangered – and feel the nocturnal magic around you. On a clear night, look for constellations and planets, or simply gaze at the moon in the midst of nature. 

Cotter Bend

About half an hour from the city, the Cotter Bend is where Paddys River meets the Cotter River. It’s a  beautiful place to relax during the day with some fishing and swimming, and then watch the stars come out after the sun sets. Close by is Cotter Campground – with its simple charm, shared wood barbecues and shower facilities.

Mount Ainslie

Be sure to drive or hike your way up to Mount Ainslie Lookout. Framed by mountain ranges, you’ll be able to see many of Canberra’s national attractions, beautiful city lights, as well as a planet or two far, far away. Take your camera – this is THE spot to capture an Insta-worthy panorama.

The city of Canberra captured a night with star patterns above
Spectacular photography from atop Mount Ainslie lookout. Photo: Silvia Li Photography

Telstra Tower

An iconic landmark of Canberra, Telstra Tower has 360-degree views of the national capital and beyond. The viewing gallery is open until 10pm each night so you can look out over the lights of the city and watch the changing night sky above.

Lake Burley Griffin

Simply sit by Lake Burley Griffin to absorb the cosmos above. Take a picnic or grab an outdoor table at one of the many Kingston Foreshore restaurants. Catch a movie under the stars in summer, or book a dinner cruise with MV Southern Cross Cruises.

A starry night above Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin
A starry night above Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin. Photo: Glenn Martin Photography

Dining under the stars

Canberra’s dining scene offers a variety of al fresco options so you can continue to watch the night skies. Try delicious meals at Sage Restaurant, Pialligo Estate Canberra, or The Boat House. Grab a more casual outdoor dining experience at Southern Cross Yacht Club, Joe’s Bar at East Hotel or Bentspoke Brewing Co.  

Share your stargazing snaps with us by tagging #visitcanberra on Instagram or Facebook.

 

Main photo by Canberra based photographer Glenn Martin Photography.