From marvelling at iconic buildings lit up by stunning architectural projections to waking up to a sky full of hot air balloons, here’s you photo guide of what to expect at Enlighten Festival this year.

Enlighten Illuminations

Enlighten Festival will kick off with the Enlighten Illuminations (26 February – 8 March) as popular attractions in the Parliamentary Zone become canvases for digital artworks.

The view from across Lake Burley Griffin as the Parliamentary Zone is lit up by the Enlighten Illuminations.
The Parliamentary Zone is full of colour and wonder during the Enlighten Illuminations.

Watch as the walls of the National Portrait Gallery, National Library of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Australian Parliament House, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, and Questacon come alight with architectural projections.

The National Library of Australia lit up by an architectural projection of Australian beaches and desserts.
Architectural projections are at the heart of the Enlighten Illuminations.

Art installations will also shine bright throughout the Parliamentary Zone, just waiting to be discovered by you. While this year’s installations are still a secret, past festivals have featured a neon dog park, glow in the dark flowers and an interactive light piece that lets you create your own unique projections.

A man spinning colourful wheels to create a unique pattern of light and movement.
The interactive art installations at the Enlighten Illuminations are sure to bring out your creative side.

Registrations are not required for viewing the projections and installations; however, Enlighten fans are encouraged to use the Check In CBR app.

SStamyk Enlighten 2017
Find your favourite projection as you stroll around the Parliamentary Zone.

Local flavours, Canberra food and beverages, and live music will also be on show at the Enlighten Illuminations. Feast on delights at Enlighten Alley or enjoy a locally crafted brew at the BentSpoke Beer Garden. Registrations are now open and will be required for timed sessions at each location.

People enjoying a drink in a beer garden under a bright BentSpoke sign.
Enjoy a cold drink at the BentSpoke Beer Gardens before exploring the Enlighten Illuminations.

The capital’s major attractions will also open their doors to host an array of exclusive after-dark events. Tickets will go on sale in February.

Canberra Balloon Spectacular

Early risers should also register now for a morning view to remember when the Canberra Balloon Spectacular (6-14 March) lifts off.

Canberra Balloon Spectacular
Wake up to a sky full of hot air balloons during the Canberra Balloon Spectacular.

Held over nine mornings, the sky will be filled with a flurry of colour, sound and movement as up to 20 hot air balloons take to the skies.

People enjoy a ride in a hot air balloon in Canberra.
Register for free tickets to the Canberra Balloon Spectacular.

The famous Skywhalepapa will join in the festivities on Monday 8 March, inflating on Patrick White Lawns from 5:30am.

A hot air balloon shaped like a male whale with baby whales floats through the air above the clouds.
See the famous Skywhalepapa with your own eyes. Patricia Piccinini, Skywhalepapa, 2020 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra commissioned with the assistance of The Balnaves Foundation 2019 purchased 2020 © Patricia Piccinini

Canberra is famous for its coffee and brekkie scene and the Canberra Balloon Spectacular is no exception. Grab a cuppa and something delicious from one of the food trucks as you watch pilots inflate and navigate their balloons up, up and away.

Canberra Balloon Spectacular
Canberra Balloon Spectacular is one spectacular view after another.

Hot air ballooning is weather-dependent so remember to check the Enlighten Festival website and socials each morning to find out if the winds will allow the pilots to fly that day.

Canberra Balloon Spectacular
A popular past time, kayakers and stand up paddleboarders love chasing the hot air balloons during the Canberra Balloon Spectacular.

More events

The middle weekend of this 17-day festival has even more events to entertain and inspire. Film buffs will love the outdoor screening (5 March) of the finalists’ Lights! Canberra! Action! films, a competition which shines a spotlight on Canberra’s talented film-makers. Book your free ticket today.

Crowds at  Canberra film festival Lights! Canberra! Action!
Watch up and upcoming film-makers' creations at an outdoor screening of Lights! Canberra! Action!

Back by popular demand, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra will once again be taking to the stage with BABBA to perform ABBA’s greatest hits. Framed by the landscape of the iconic Commonwealth Park, bring a picnic blanket and prepare for a night of nostalgia and great tunes at Symphony in the Park (7 March).  Book your free ticket today.

The Canberra Symphony Orchestra and a tribute band performing on Stage 88 to a crowd.
Register for free tickets to enjoy classic hits with a twist at Symphony in the Park.

If attending any of the Enlighten Festival activities and events, remember to register if required, use the Check In CBR app and please stay home if you are unwell.

Start planning your festival experience, exploring the full Enlighten Festival program, and registering for free events today.