72 HOURS OF FAMILY FUN
Updated 27 May 2022
Enjoy this family-friendly weekend itinerary of where to eat, stay and play in Canberra.
There are plenty of fun things to do in Canberra with kids for school holidays or a weekend away. From interactive indoor activities and exciting outdoor adventures, to the best family restaurants, you'll quickly discover Canberra to be a favourite among the whole family.
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.
The GoBoat drop off point at Kingston Foreshore makes for an ace spot to catch a sunset. Dine at La Rustica for traditional Italian or visit The Dock, which offers moreish pub food and a kids' menu over an unrivalled waterfront setting. Kids will delight in the range of options 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, it’s easily considered 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 — The National Science and Technology Centre. With more than 200 interactive exhibitions, make sure to leave time to catch the enthralling science shows. Questacon is a multi-Australian Tourism Award winner with 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 more. The buddying palaeologist in the family can brush up on dino facts during a tour of the National Dinosaur Museum and admire its extensive gemstone and fossil collection. Enjoy Cockington Green Garden's impeccably maintained seasonal gardens housing hand-built structures from your seat on their steam train. Feed birds from your hand – or from on 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. Take a walk down Braddon’s popular Lonsdale Street to fuel up on mouth-watering burgers, pizzas and shakes at Grease Monkey. For little fuss and big flavour, revel in the creations at Mookie, an American-style burger joint with a unique Japanese twist. Make sure to try Mookie’s signature frozen custard desserts.
Soak into Sunday and enjoy breakfast over 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 instruments. Catch your breath at the Bonsai Collection which hosts a world-class display of some of the finest miniature trees and forests in the world.
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 and exploring and taking home memories of unforgettable animal encounter experiences. With 2.6 kilometres of walking trails, following the numbered Adventure Trail map is a great way to explore the zoo. Check times for the daily activities and keeper talks. During school holidays, the Zoo offers a Zoocation holiday program – 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-see, particularly for young visitors.
Canberra’s Weston Park along the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin near the inner south suburb of Yarralumla 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 slide which takes you through the striking Mountain Ash Forest of the Gibralter Valley.
Tons of indoor fun
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. Ski year-round at Vertikal Indoor Snow Sports – the perfect place to try skiing or train before your visit to the snowfields. Nearby, 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 on a synthetic surface 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.