Need some respite from a hot summer’s day? From forest bathing to floating on a lilo down the Murrumbidgee River, we’ve curated the hottest list to keeping your body temperature down – and and chill out factor high – this summer season.
With more than 44,000 trees planted across its 250-hectare site, the National Arboretum Canberra is the perfect place to enjoy the fresh air from the shady comfort of magnificent forests of tree species. Sit back and relax (or read your favourite book) under the canopy of Oak, Pine and more as you avoid the heat and breathe in the gorgeous scent of nature.
More than trees
There are also several designated barbecue areas offering a stunning view of Canberra, the famous POD playground for kids, the Bonsai Garden and the Conservatory Restaurant, Arboretum Cafe plus The Curatoreum gift shop where treasures await.
The much-treasured Manuka Pool was Canberra’s first public swimming pool and offers shady spots underneath trees on grassed areas to relax as well as a toddler pool and kiosk.
More than a dip
Manuka Pool offers a slice of Canberra history, opening in 1931. Fans of art deco will love the aesthetics of the pool and its building, which underwent significant refurbishment in recent years in keeping with its heritage, including tiles sourced from the
Grab some mates and head out to the Capital Brewing Co for a cheeky drink and bite to eat at Brodburger. Choose to sit indoors in the air-con or outdoors in the covered area, listen to some good music and enjoy the fun vibe as the friendly staff look after you. It’s popular especially on weekends, so make sure you book in advance.
More than craft beer
If craft beer is not your thing, there’s some great apple cider and ginger beer on tap. And all beverages best enjoyed with a famous Brodburger. And nearby are some great spots for kids at heart like Vertikal Indoor Snow Sports and the Bloc Haus bouldering centre.
Make sure to pack a camera as you stroll through the Rainforest Gully at the beautiful Australian National Botanic Garden. Let the calming and rejuvenating atmosphere of the Gully transport you into a world of peace and quiet as you admire the greenery and wildlife around you.
More than nature
The Garden is just minutes away from the CBD, entry is free and the Hampton’s inspired Pollen Cafe is a must after you explore the rest of the gardens which have just celebrated 50 years. Chill out further with a Jindi Eco Spa visit for some indulgence.
Swimming in the Murrumbidgee River is a favourite of locals and one of the easiest and cheapest ways to cool down. Canberra is lucky to have 66km of the river for swimming, kayaking, fishing, camping, barbecue-ing and of course, lilo floating. A blow up flamingo is optional.
More than one swimming spot
There are plenty of designated locations along the Murrumbidgee for you to enjoy from the Cotter Recreation Area, to Uriarra Crossing, Kambah Pool, Pine Island and Angle Crossing. If you’re up for a walk, the Murrumbidgee Discovery Track is recommended.
Climb, slip, jump and splash your way through the giant inflatable obstacle course on Lake Burley Griffin. Canberra Aqua Park returns this summer with its slides and ladders for you to conquer… and tumble into the cool, refreshing waters of the lake- even better! Book with a group and take the challenge head on with friends and family for some healthy competition.
More than a slip and slide
While you’re in the Black Mountain Peninsula area, enjoy the playground and barbecue facilities. Or do a sneaky run around the opposite side of the lake to the Yarralumla Turkish Halal Pide House for one of Canberra’s best kebabs.
Try your balance with stand-up paddle boarding. Located on the beautiful Lake Burley Griffin at Yarralumla Bay, enjoy the views and sounds of Canberra’s heart while basking in the sun (with a hat and SPF!). With current health restrictions, you’ll have to create a group booking to hire from The Paddle Hub, so bring some friends and have a go!
More than a paddle
A bit too adventurous? Another way to glide on top of the lake is with a lake cruise. Lake Burley Griffin Cruises and the Southern Cross Cruises both offer a more relaxed take on the lake as you take in the sights.
Canberra’s Big Splash Water Park is the place to burn off some energy. With a number of slides, a 50-metre pool and toddler pool, this is a great spot to cool down. There’s plenty of shady trees to relax under as well at the pool formerly known by locals as the ‘Jammo pool’.
More than a northside icon
Big Splash is not the only icon in the suburb of Jamison. Indulge yourself nearby at Ricardo’s which specialises in inventive, colourful sweet treats.
Enjoy the cool hug of the air con as you lie back, eat snacks and enjoy a good movie in the city centre at either Palace Electric Cinema (in NewActon) or Dendy Cinemas (Canberra Centre). In the suburbs, Limelight (Tuggeranong) and Hoyts (Woden, Belconnen) offer respite from the heat. For a relaxed take on movie watching, the Australian National Botanic Gardens is hosting Sunset Cinema across summer.
More than a flick
Palace’s Prosecco Bar serves up local wine (hello Clonakilla Shiraz), cheese plates and more to take into the cinema while Dendy Premium offers a range of food and beverage options to enjoy during your film.
Sculpture Garden at the NGA
Take your time wandering around the National Gallery of Australia’s sculpture garden at the National Gallery of Australia. Fujiko Nakaya's fog sculpture Foggy wake in a desert: An ecosphere is in operation 12.30pm – 2pm daily, with its misty burst guaranteed for a cooling effect.
More than known artists
View the artwork, remember the artists name. Taking over a large space inside the gallery is the exceptional Know My Name: Australian women artists 1900 to now exhibition. Make sure you book!