72 HOURS OF FAMILY FUN
Updated 5 Dec 2023
Enjoy this family-friendly weekend itinerary of where to eat, stay, and play in Canberra
Calling all adventure seekers and family fun enthusiasts! Canberra is the ultimate destination for an unforgettable school holiday or weekend getaway with kids. From mind-boggling interactive activities to satisfying your taste buds at the best family-friendly restaurants, Canberra will have your entire crew jumping with joy! Brace yourselves for a whirlwind of laughter, exploration, and delicious treats – Canberra is about to become your family's new favourite playground.
Arrive in Canberra and check in to the contemporary East Hotel located in the inner south suburb of Kingston. For the ultimate family room experience, book the Kids Cubby, which is decked out with a set of bunk beds, a kids’ play table, dining table, play rug and bean bags with an Xbox One for loads of fun and games. Call East Hotel directly to secure this room type. Alternatively take advantage of staying in the city centre at Quest Canberra City Walk set in the historic Melbourne building.
Be your own captain and hire an electric GoBoat to explore the glittering jewel in Canberra’s crown, Lake Burley Griffin. You’ll be able to see many iconic attractions like the National Gallery of Australia and the Australian War Memorial, all from the comfort of your floating picnic boat.
With one of the GoBoat drop off points at Kingston Foreshore, you'll be in the right spot to find the perfect family feast. Dine at La Rustica for traditional Italian or visit The Dock, which offers moreish pub food and a kids' menu alongside an unrivalled waterfront view. Kids will delight in the range of options nearby at Gelato Messina such as dulce de leche and strawberries & cream, which can be found in both Kingston and Braddon. With over 40 enticing flavours churned fresh daily in-store, consider it a Willy Wonka Factory equivalent in the gelato world.
Hit the ground running on your first full day in Canberra with a mandatory visit to Questacon. With more than 200 interactive exhibitions, you'll have plenty to explore but you'll want to make sure to leave time to catch the enthralling live shows. Questacon is a multi-Australian Tourism Award winner for a good reason.
Enjoy an adventure for the young and young at heart at Gold Creek Village. Here you will find giant dinosaurs, little worlds, reptiles and much more to explore. The budding palaeologist in the family can brush up on dino bones and facts during a tour of the National Dinosaur Museum, while admiring its extensive gemstone and fossil collection. Cockington Green Garden's impeccably maintained seasonal gardens house hand-built structures, which you can admire from your seat on their steam train. Feed birds from your hand – or from the top of your head – at the Walk-in Bird Aviary and see reptiles up close at the Canberra Reptile Zoo. We recommend purchasing a Gold Creek Adventure Ticket for easy entry to all four attractions.
The older kids in the family will appreciate a stop at Kingpin, where the choice of laser tag, bowling, arcade games and escape rooms is half of the fun. Then take a walk downstairs to enjoy something for everyone at Canberra’s newest indoor dining laneway: Tiger Lane. With captivating neon and 12 dining outlets that span cuisines from all over Asia, there’s sure to be something delicious for everyone.
Start your Sunday with sweeping views at the National Arboretum Canberra, just six kilometres from the city centre. The award-winning POD playground will have kids climbing structures and testing out slides, swings, giant acorn cubbies, and music-making walkways. Catch your breath at the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection, which hosts a world-class display of some of the finest miniature trees and forests in the world. An insiders tip: bring a kite and take advantage of the pristine kite flying conditions that the National Arboretum Canberra
Just a five-minute drive away you will be greeted by cheetahs, bears, meerkats and more at the National Zoo & Aquarium. Kids will enjoy roaring, exploring, and taking home memories of unforgettable animal encounters and tours. With 2.6 kilometres of walking trails, following the numbered Adventure Trail map is a great way to explore the zoo. During school holidays, Zoocation offers a unique experience for primary aged children, but make sure you book in early to guarantee a place.
Have more time to spend in Canberra? There's still an endless list of adventures awaiting. Rediscover the national attractions or slide and ski as you take an alpine adventure just 45 minutes from the city centre.
A trip to Canberra’s national museums and galleries is an unmissable experience. The National Museum of Australia is a must-explore, particularly for young visitors, as well as the National Library of Australia, which offers special school holiday activities and programs, alongside a constantly changing calendar of exhibitions that will delight the whole family.
Canberra’s Weston Park along the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin is home to Yarralumla Play Station. Little ones will love the miniature train ride while school aged kids will be kept entertained with a 36-hole miniature Canberra themed golf course.
You don’t have to travel to the ski fields to hit the slopes. Take an alpine adventure to Corin Forest, just 45 minutes from the city centre. Year round you can enjoy the alpine slide – weaving your way down the 1.2-kilometre metal toboggan track, which takes you through the striking mountain ash forests of the Gibraltar Valley.
Too hot, too cold, too wet? No problem. Take your little wizards to the Harry Potter themed Quizzic Alley shop and join a potion making class. Climb boulders and walls at BlocHaus or challenge kids to an electric go kart race, game of glow-in-the-dark mini golf, or ice skate at Powerkart Raceway.
Want more family fun?
No matter what age your kids are, this guide has all the info you need for a family holiday to remember. Find toddler-friendly activities and things teens will actually love, plus eateries that'll easily feed the troops through and great indoor fun.