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Two women sit outside and a man stands and high fives a young boy at the National Museum of Australia.

Top 10 things to do in Canberra

Updated 10 Apr 2024

Must-do activities and events

No trip to Canberra would be complete without ticking off these top 10 things to do, see and taste. Truly experience Australia’s capital with adventures on the lake in summer, stunning views each autumn, fresh truffles during winter, floral festivals in spring, and great exhibitions all year round.

10

Enjoy activities designed for young families

Kids will clamour to visit Questacon — The National Science and Technology Centre. This interactive wonderland will have kids learning about the power of the elements, feeling the force of an earthquake, watching lightning strike twice and meeting the friendly mechanical humanoid, Robo Q. 

See animals big and small from red pandas to rhinos at the National Zoo & Aquarium, brush up on Muttaburrasaurus facts during a tour of the National Dinosaur Museum, and get an adrenaline rush as you race down a 1.2 kilometre alpine slide at Corin Forest. The kids’ Canberra wishlist will be filled with fun with our top ten must do family activities in the ACT.

Top family activities

Koala at Tidbinbilla Nature Sanctuary
9

Reconnect with nature and see Aussie animals

Canberra is renowned for being a 100% renewable energy city with approximately 70% of the ACT dedicated to nature parks.

Set yourself the challenge on a visit to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve to spot five famous native Australian animals that call the area home: the koala, platypus, kangaroo, emu and wombat. Or walk up Mount Ainslie, Mount Painter, or Black Mountain to enjoy scenic views over the city.

Top outdoor adventures

Mum and son holding hand in outside area of National Museum of Australia
8

Discover the Australian story at museums and national icons

From our ancient Indigenous past and colonial history to the modern multicultural country of today, unearth the treasures of our nation at the national attractions in Canberra. Explore one of the world’s most architecturally acclaimed buildings, Parliament House, and see the nation’s most popular and important objects – from the Holden Prototype No.1 to bark paintings and ochre used by Aboriginal artists more than 50,000 years ago - at the National Museum of Australia.

Uncover new knowledge from over 10 million items at the National Library of Australia or place a poppy on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial. Discover more history and heritage at Canberra's other iconic museums and attractions.

Best museums and galleries

Man and woman having lunch outside with fields of vegetables growing in background
7

Wander through wineries and breweries

Canberra’s three cool-climate wine regions offer a spectacular range of experiences, from wine-tasting and fine dining to truffle hunting. Traditionally, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Shiraz varieties have thrived here at the 140 vineyards and 40 wineries, within 35 minutes’ drive of the capital.

Beer lovers can’t go past a cold brew from Braddon brewpub BentSpoke Brewing Co, who took out top spot in the GABS hottest 100 craft beers for two years in a row. Cheers your mates with a speciality brew in the spacious beer garden at Capital Brewing Co in Fyshwick.

Wine region

A woman in a black blazer walking between indigenous memorial poles.
6

Choose your favourite artwork from more than 30 galleries

Canberra is home to an extensive number of gallery and exhibition spaces, showcasing everything from international masterpieces to talented local artists. Head to the National Gallery of Australia to marvel at the largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in the world. Be inspired to understand the Australian people through portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery.

Uncover boutique galleries across the city, including the smallest gallery in Australia and world-class glassblowers, with our definitive gallery guide.

Popular galleries

Enlighten Festival with the illuminated National Library of Australia in the background
5

Celebrate the seasons with events and festivals

Canberra’s calendar of events and festivals celebrate the city’s four distinct seasons. Enjoy glorious Floriade in spring, the power of Summernats in summer, Enlighten Festival in autumn, The Truffle Festival in winter, and live music all year round

Search Canberra’s event calendar to find what’s on during your next trip to the capital.

Three friends enjoying a beverage on a boat.
4

Explore the capital's famous lake

At the heart of Canberra is Lake Burley Griffin, surrounded by galleries, museums, cafes and parks, as well as walking and cycling paths. Do as the locals do and spend an hour walking the ‘bridge to bridge’ path around the lake, stopping for a coffee along the way.

Enjoy a floating picnic on a GoBoat or a Love Boat, for a view of the lake like no other. Don a captain’s hat and navigate an eco-friendly electric boat around Lake Burley Griffin to find the perfect vista for your scenic lunch.

Lake adventures

Haig park village market at Braddon
3

Shop at the best weekend markets and specialty stores

Spend your Saturday morning shopping up a storm at the Capital Region Farmers Markets, where you can buy fresh produce direct from the growers and enjoy a delicious local breakfast or brunch. The Little Burley Market is a new Saturday market by the waterside. This beautifully curated gourmet food and artisan market will have you enjoying the magnificent views and relaxing by the water's edge whilst you delve into something tantalising.

Time your trip with the first Sunday of the month to explore the treasure troves at the Hartley Hall Markets or pick up some tasty treats, a bunch of flowers, and locally crafted goodies each Sunday at the Haig Park Village Market. The iconic Old Bus Depot Markets, held every Sunday, showcase the best local produce, artisan baked goods, and beautiful handmade items. Grab breakfast or lunch at the market before heading next door to the Canberra Glassworks.

The capital is overflowing with speciality stores to satisfy every shopping list. Take your little wizards to the Harry Potter themed Quizzic Alley or select bespoke jewellery at KIN Gallery.

Popular markets

A woman looking at a table of chocolate.
2

Indulge your inner foodie in Braddon

Just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre is Braddon, Canberra’s ever-evolving shopping and foodie precinct where you’ll find a mingled assortment of boutiques, cafes, bakeries, restaurants and bars. At the heart of this hipster haven is Lonsdale Street, which flaunts an exciting variety of independent stores showcasing local makers and creatives.

Go on a café crawl to find your new favourite coffee. Canberra’s foodie scene is always growing – plan your ultimate culinary adventure.

 

Women looking at a lion.
1

Enjoy more than just five-star stays

From pillow menus to dining next to a lion, hotels in Canberra offer more than just a place to lay your head. Sleep under five million stars with Cubby & Co’s glamping tents at Mount Majura Vineyard. Rest your head in a treehouse neighbouring some friendly giraffes at Jamala Wildlife Lodge or enjoy a cocktail in a rooftop bar atop your hotel. For more unique stays, including tiny houses and eco-friendly hotels, check out where the locals recommend you stay.

 

Keep planning your trip

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Young couple dances in the coloured lights of a live music performance at Smith's Alternative.

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