From lakeside city parks to surrounding nature reserves and forests, enjoying the outdoors comes naturally in the Bush Capital.
Go hot air ballooning
There’s no better way to fully appreciate the capital’s charm than from the air in a hot air balloon as the early morning sun fills the valley and lakes with soft morning light. Balloon Aloft and Dawn Drifters will have you drifting peacefully over the city, one of the only places in the world where you can get the chance to fly directly over a Parliament House.
Ride the rapids
Enjoy an epic day on a rafting tour with Alpine River Adventures in Canberra. The Murrumbidgee River tour cutting through the scenic Red Rock Gorge showcases amazing bush scenery and wildlife. While the tour is designed for both novices and experts there are plenty of fast-flowing rapids to get your heart pumping.
Get up close with animals
Interactive and hands-on experiences with creatures great and small make for amazing memories at the National Zoo & Aquarium. Take a tour that allows you to handfeed a huge brown bear, a lion or tiger, come nose to nose with a giraffe, meet a cheetah inside their enclosure, or even pat a shark!
Explore open range enclosures brimming with Australian native animals in their native habitat at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. See endangered species like Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby, Long-nose Potoroos and the Northern Corroboree Frog. Why not set yourself the challenge on a visit to Tidbinbilla to spot five famous native Australian animals that call the area home: a koala, a platypus, a kangaroo, an emu and a wombat?
Tackle the Centenary Trail
Walkers, cyclists and nature lovers can experience the best of Canberra’s urban and natural environments on the Centenary Trail, a legacy of Canberra’s 100th birthday celebrations. The 145-kilometre self-guided trail loops around the ACT, is family friendly and can be experienced in sections. For those keen to tackle the whole trail on foot, it will take about seven days averaging 20-kilometres per day.
Explore Canberra's central lake
The central basin of picturesque Lake Burley Griffin is a hub of activity, especially in the warmer months. Get active and explore the lake with stand up paddle boarding, rowing, sailing, kayaking, canoeing and swimming.
A fun way to get around the lake is on a guided segway tour with SegGlideRide located near the International Flag Display on the southside of the lake, or you can do as the locals do and spend an hour walking the ‘bridge to bridge’ path around Lake Burley Griffin, stopping off at attractions along the way.
Get on your bike at Stromlo
Stromlo Forest Park to the west of the city is one of Australia’s best mountain bike venues and the site of many world championships. Stromlo Forest Park boasts a criterium cycling circuit, a cross country running track, equestrian tracks and mountain bike tracks to suit any level of rider. The Playground is a fun way to test and improve your mountain bike skills and abilities before you head off into the park.
Try bushwalking and rock climbing
Canberra has a rich heritage of rock climbing and bushwalking with many notable Australian mountaineers taking their first steps and climbs at renowned places like Booroomba Rocks in Namadgi National Park. Get into the excitement of rock climbing, abseiling and caving plus other outdoor challenges with the expert guides of K7 Adventures who take trips in the Canberra district and nearby at the Snowy Mountains and South Coast.
The alpine regions of Namadgi and Bimberi Wilderness adjoining the Australian Alps offer experienced walkers plenty of challenging and rewarding walks ranging from day walks to places like Square Rock to multi-day hikes through snow gum wonderlands. Canberra can also be the starting point or finish line of the 650km remote and challenging Australian Alps walking track, spanning stunning alpine wilderness across New South Wales to Walhalla in Victoria.
Head to the hills on a horse
Saddle up for an adventure in the Australian countryside with Burnelee Excursions on Horseback, just 30 minutes' drive from Canberra. At Burnelee, a fully operational grazing property of 3,500 acres, you can enjoy the thrill of mustering sheep and cattle, or simply spot the native wildlife in the vast areas of natural bushland. Horses are available for all levels of rider, including beginners, with each ride accompanied by an experienced instructor.
Learn to ski or snowboard
During the winter months, you can give skiing and snowboarding your best shot at Corin Forest Mountain Resort, which has recently introduced a 75m long conveyor belt ski lift system (magic carpet lift), opening up 5000m2 of gently sloping terrain and the latest snowmaking technology. It’s the perfect way to work up a sweat (or a chill) during Canberra’s winter months.
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