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The best school holiday activities in Canberra this autumn

Updated 26 Feb 2024

Everything you need to keep the kids entertained these autumn school holidays.

You won’t have any trouble keeping the kids happy this autumn, as many of Canberra's iconic attractions host activities and programs exclusive to autumn school holiday period (29 Mar-12 Apr VIC, 15-26 Apr NSW, 13-28 Apr ACT) . Book in early to maximise family holiday fun.

Explore the great outdoors

Just 45-minutes from the city, Corin Forest has a scenic alpine slide that trails through the trees for over 1 kilometre, and is a must-do on your visit. Open 7 days a week during the ACT school holiday period (13–28 Apr).

While you’re in the area, take the family over to Namadgi National Park, where you can explore the ancient and diverse landscape that the Ngunnawal People have been custodians of for tens of thousands of years. Namadgi National Park protects 106,095 hectares of alpine, sub-alpine and mountain bushland and makes up almost half of the ACT, making it the perfect landscape to enjoy beautiful walks and breathtaking picnic spots.

For your outdoor-loving teenagers, the Outward Bound Junior program offers 12-15 year-olds five full days of fun, challenge, and personal development in nature (15-19 Apr). More than just a school holiday program for teenagers, this program provides a fun and challenging environment where young adolescents are encouraged to explore their potential through adventure, all the while supported by expert instructors. 

Embark on an adventure through Majura Pines, just a 20-minute drive north east of Canberra’s CBD with Treetops Adventure Canberra (opening March 19, 2024). The park will feature eight rope courses suspended between 2-18 metres above the ground. Each course branches out from a central ‘Home Tree’ and there’ll be over 100 aerial challenges and over 19 ziplines in total. Total, aerial fun for the whole family!

Two people wearing rainbow coloured tie dye lab coats, standing behind a liquid nitrogen science experiment.

See live spectacular science shows

The spectacular science shows at Questacon will have the whole family enthralled by experiments run by the Questacon Excited Particles theatre troupe. Access to these amazing shows is included with your paid admission to Questacon.

Ignite your sense of adventure as you bounce from one gallery to the next, each one tackling science concepts in an engaging way. The Mini Q area, specifically designed for ages 0–6 helps the tiny tots in the family not miss out on the fun.

Walk alongside prehistoric life

Enjoy everything this delightful precinct has to offer with the Gold Creek Adventure Ticket. The ticket gives you full-day access to Cockington Green GardensCanberra Walk-In Aviary, Canberra Reptile Zoo, and the National Dinosaur Museum.   

While you delight your fun-filled day, roam through the interactive National Dinosaur Museum and snap a pic with Sam the T-Rex. Your budding palaeontologist will love the hands-on experiences on offer. The museum is also home to one of the largest displays of crystals, fossils, minerals, and gemstones in Australia.

Kid feeding an animal at the zoo

Encounter animals big and small

A day spent at the National Zoo & Aquarium is a day well spent with family and friends. With a wide variety of both native and exotic animals, as well as the largest inland saltwater tank in Australia, there is something that will surprise and delight the whole family. The Zoo also has an epic playground, known as AdventureLand, with 55 activities and various life-size fibreglass animal sculptures to capture memories of your visit.

During the school holidays, the zoo hosts Zoocation, which offers a unique experience for primary aged children (running 9 am–4 pm on weekdays during the ACT school holidays, 13–28 Apr). Kids can get close to many of the zoo’s animals, playing loads of games, and learn something new along the way throughout a fun-filled day.

Or make your own way to a self-guided adventure through Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, where wallabies, emus, koalas, and even the elusive platypus wander free. You can make the most of the reserve’s Nature Discovery Playground and the idyllic picnic spots, BBQ areas, and many beautiful views, to keep those wiggly little ones well-exercised.

Please note: the Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre is closed until further notice; however, the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is open as per normal opening hours.

See stories come alive

Get a snapshot of our nation at the National Museum of Australia, which is home to more than 210,000 objects representing Australia’s history and cultural heritage.

Follow one of the National Museum of Australia’s family trails to discover the stories behind some of the amazing objects on show at the museum. Take your own pace on either of the two self-guided family trails (available for ages 2–5 and 5–8 years) and see what you can discover along the way.

Or hang with the smaller fam in the Museum’s Tim and Gina Fairfax Discovery Centre (ages birth to 6 years), where young minds can discover five stories from Australian History that encourage different types of play (open daily, costs apply). General entry to the museum is free.

Join in the fun at ANBG

Discover more about the diverse floral life in Australia at the Australian National Botanic Gardens over the school holidays.

Join Storytime for stories, songs, rhymes and creative activities on the Crosbie Morrison Lawn, bringing to life the gardens’ beautiful, natural surroundings (10-11 am, first Friday of every month). Discover the amazing secrets of the plants that live in the Australian bush on a family-friendly tour on the magical Flora Explorer bus (Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays at 11:30 and 1:30 pm). Bookings essential as numbers are limited. 

Then wander through the Rainforest Gully, visit the Red Centre Garden, and finish at the Paperbark Treehouse. 

A young girl wearing a pointed witches' hat and harry potter robes.

Try a creative workshop

Uncover the inner workings of Canberra Glassworks with a hands-on workshop in one of the most exciting art facilities in Australia. With the help of an experienced artist, their School Holiday Program (17-28 April) will teach children how to cut coloured glass to create a two-dimensional masterpiece in a tile-making workshop or try their hand at designing and creating a sculpture in clay. During the school holidays, choose between blowing your own tumbler, fusing your own glass bowl, or crafting your own holiday tiles.

Or take your little wizard to Australia’s most magical store, Quizzic Alley – with the biggest range of official Harry Potter merchandise in of anywhere in the country – where the Potter-fans of the family can enjoy a wand making workshop during the ACT school holiday period.

Explore creativity through motion with Warehouse Circus’ School Holiday program (15-26 April) where kids of all ages can unleash their inner acrobat, clown, and performer. Enrol today and let your child discover the magic of the circus, where they can clip, twist, and turn!

Children playing on the Pod Playground at the National Arboretum.

Climb through 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.

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.

Get your race on or try bouldering indoors

The tracks at Power Kart Raceway are sure to get your heart racing. Take the whole family to try racing the world class electric go-karts on a Formula One style indoor circuit. Also on site is an indoor glow-in-the-dark mini golf course, synthetic ice skating rink, and an array of arcade machines, so everyone will find something to make them happy.

A short drive away you’ll find BlocHaus within the Dairy Road precinct. This bouldering centre is perfect for kids to get a taste of rock climbing, with a section of the gym dedicated to families – with the walls shorter and padded mats below. There’s no need for ropes, partners, or gear for this all-day fun.

 

Tour group playing basketball

Catch some of Australia’s top athletes in action 

Go behind the scenes on a 90-minute tour of the Australian Institute of Sport, Australia’s premier elite sports precinct. Discover where Australia’s sporting champions are created and gain insight into the life of their leading athletes. You might even catch some of Australia’s top athletes in training.

Included is a visit to Sportex, one of Australia's leading interactive sports exhibits, set amongst a first-class collection of sporting memorabilia. Try wheelchair basketball, virtual downhill skiing, rock climbing, football penalty shootouts and more. Great fun for all ages and athletic abilities.

Marvel in a sunflower maze

Each autumn, the Majura Valley Farm Gate sunflower maze (opening 9 March, 2024) which inspires awe and whimsy for all its visitors. Open Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am to 8 pm, you can enjoy a wander through the flowers, a BYO picnic spot, and the perfect Insta-worthy opportunity with friends or family. You can even take home some pick-your-own sunflowers to enjoy!

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