The national capital is the ideal destination to listen, watch and learn. Embrace the city’s contemporary and historic art and cultural pieces – both at the national attractions as well as local galleries.
The best news? Everything is close together, so you don’t need to spend too much time in the car. It is simple to navigate around Canberra and fill up your days with inspirational experiences in both the indoors and outdoors.
In between uncovering hidden gems, enjoy Canberra’s superb foody scene, stunning views and gain new insights into our indigenous heritage.
Explore what it means to be Australian at the National Gallery of Australia – home to the largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in the world. Park undercover then make your way into the gallery to delve into the different levels of contemporary, Pacific and Asian artworks. Take extra time to walk amongst the stunning Fern Garden and James Turrell’s Skyspace.
Head across the road to the National Portrait Gallery where you can come face-to-face with Australia’s identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity. Grab a bite to eat and rest your legs at the Portrait Café.
For another dose of art in the form of activations and public space projects, drive 10 minutes to aMBUSH Gallery within the Kambri precinct of the Australian National University. Above Harry Hartog’s bookstore, the gallery hosts diverse exhibitions within its light-filled industrial space.
For something a bit different, hop back in the car and head to the Gallery of Small Things, tucked away on Wade Street in Watson. Special exhibitions profile local artists across all forms and mediums. Purchase precious items from the shop.
Finish the afternoon with an introspective moment at the Australian War Memorial. At 4.55pm each afternoon, you can listen to a moving Last Post Ceremony, with stories of those on the Roll of Honour.
For a paddock-to-plate meal to remember, book a table at Pialligo Estate’s Pavilion. The stunning estate is located out towards the Canberra Airport at Pialligo, with beautiful views of the vineyards and Canberra’s skyline.
Drive to NewActon to stay at the impressive Ovolo Nishi, with its soft, moody and artistic vibes.
An overnight sojourn at Ovolo Nishi will have you wondering if you’re actually staying within an art gallery. Artworks are on display and the innovative architecture tells its own eye-catching story. Start the day with a tastebud treat at award-winning Monster Kitchen and Bar.
Wander down the grand timber staircase and head across to Nishi Gallery to continue your gallery hop. Jump in your car and head to the National Museum of Australia. Here you can get to know the real, treasured and surprising objects from Australian history.
Now time for some of nature’s art: organise a 2-hour tour with Dhawura Tours so you can investigate Canberra’s iconic Black Mountain (home to Telstra Tower) with an Aboriginal guide. You will uncover bush foods, stone tools and be able to take in the panoramic views of the city and beyond.
Drive to Kingston Foreshore and take your lunch on board a GoBoat for a unique view of the national attractions from Lake Burley Griffin. You can be your own captain with no need for a boat licence!
For those who take their coffee particularly seriously, drive about 15 minutes to Braddon and drop into the Kyo Coffee Project. Here you’ll find seasonal blends of intense roasted flavours. Also serving tasty tarts and cakes.
A visit to Braddon is not complete without checking out the rainbow roundabout, the creative street art within alleyways, or just sitting back at a café for some people watching.
Finish the day with a meal to hashtag about at eightysix on the corner of Lonsdale and Elouera Streets. Renowned for their decadent desserts (hello, popcorn sundae with peanut brittle), this vibrant gem also serves up hoisin duck buns like no other.