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A man in a hot air balloon soaring across Canberra national attractions

Lesser-known nature experiences you need to explore

Updated 28 Mar 2024

Consider yourself an outdoorsy type? Become acquainted with some of Canberra’s coolest outdoor experiences and incredible natural beauty

Sure, the view from the iconic Mount Ainslie peak is breathtaking, not to mention the hike to get there... but why not try something a little different?

Canberra’s outdoor and nature experiences extend far beyond pretty vistas and lake-side cycling. Scratch below the surface and discover the array of scenic, adventurous, and surprising activities on offer for the whole family.

Whether you're an avid adventure seeker or just looking for a peaceful escape from the city, these gems are sure to offer more than a unique and unforgettable experience. From bushwalking trails to secret gardens and wildlife reserves, Canberra has a wealth of natural beauty that is just waiting to be discovered.

Canberra. There's more than they're telling us.

See Canberra from above

Take to the skies to see Canberra from a completely new angle with a hot air balloon flight from Balloon Aloft or Dawn Drifters. There’s no better way to take in the sunrise across the nation’s capital. Or jump in a ride-like-no-other with Helicopter Corporation for breathtaking views of iconic national attractions, plus the surrounding mountains and rivers.

Two children completing an obstacle course in a forrest.

Thrills at your own pace

Get ready for the ultimate outdoor adventure, just a short drive from Canberra’s city centre, with Treetops Adventure Canberra. There’s fun for the whole family over the age of 3, with 90 aerial obstacles and 16 ziplines that suspend between 2-15 metres above the ground.

Just 45 minutes from the city, Corin Forest hosts the scenic 1.2km alpine slide, which is arguably the most majestic way to take in the Mountain Ash forest. Corin Forest also has beginner-friendly slopes to show kids the snow ropes from tobogganing to the basics of snowboarding and skiing.

Kid taking a photo on a phone at Mulligans Flat

Step into an oasis of biodiversity and natural wonder

A visit to Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary promises a unique encounter with the native flora and fauna of the region. See if you can spot the eastern bettong with a distinctive white belly, the spotted-tailed quoll or the elusive echidna. Take on one of their famed Twilight Tours to experience Australian bush as it was 100 years ago.

Two people sit down holding a glass of wine in a glamping tent

Wake up to vineyard views

Simple and intimate, Cubby and Co's two bell tents and one tiny house nestled in Mount Majura Vineyard have created a space for you to reconnect with nature while enjoying the creature comforts of 'home'. The perfect chance to ‘get away from it all’ only 20 minutes from the city centre, these un-plugged overnights will help you relax, indulge, and reconnect with nature and your travel buddy.

Visiting in the cooler months?  While the bell tents close across winter, the tiny home remains open and inviting. With fully insulated walls complete with an outdoor patio heater, a cosy night away is guaranteed.

Giant acorn playground at the National Arboretum Canberra

Crawl through giant acorns

The award-winning POD playground at the National Arboretum Canberra will have kids climbing structures and testing out slides, swings, giant acorn cubbies, and music-making instruments. 

Adults of the group can take a wander through the nearby Bonsai Collection which hosts a world-class display of some of the finest miniature trees and forests in the world. Or enjoy a guided Forest Walk amongst some of the over 20 kilometres of multipurpose trails winding through the mosaic of 94 individual forests at the arboretum.

Two adults patting a cheetah in a zoo

Spot some furry friends in a different light

Get up and personal at the National Zoo & Aquarium with the Meet-A-Cheetah experience or get to know the meerkat family in a close encounter.

When the sun goes down, choose your vehicle and embark on a Wild Night Zooventure complete with an ‘African Sundowner’ during the tour (canape and drink stops? Yes please!).

Sugar Glider sitting in a tree is one of several species you will see on an Night Safari.

Turn into a creature of the night

Join the team at Wildlife Reimagined for an expedition under the stars to see nocturnal animals in their prime. Shine your spotlight on endangered Greater Gliders or tune into Australia’s largest owl protecting its territory with its call. Venture into the neighbourhoods of resident possums, wombats, and wallabies as they commence their daily activities.

Mountain bike riders admiring the view form One Tree Hill

Take on the centenary trail 

The Canberra Centenary Trail is a 145 kilometre, self-guided loop trail that takes walkers and touring cyclists on a journey past iconic sites and local treasures. The trail is either a seven day walk or a three-day ride and has various spots for hopping on and off the trail as you please. Explore as much or as little as you’re up for while enjoying around the capital as you go on a journey between urban and rural surroundings, including swimming spots and cafes along the way.

Gear up for the ultimate urban explorer's ride

Make your way to the Canberra and Region Visitor's Centre at Regatta Point to hire your very own bike or e-scooter (complete with a stylish helmet). 

While you're there, chat with the friendly local staff and volunteers who can help you plot your journey around the city on two wheels. Before you go, be sure to explore the shop, which is full of handcrafted gifts, hampers, and unique souvenirs celebrating Canberra.

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