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Start your Australian itinerary in its capital, Canberra

Updated 25 Feb 2024

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A group of friends enjoying their time on a GoBoat on the lake.
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Fly from Los Angeles to Canberra with Fiji Airways and enjoy a tropical stopover in Fiji.

Explore the gateway to the east coast of Australia, Canberra, with its stunning natural beauty, vibrant cultural offerings, and premium experiences. Canberra is the perfect destination to start your unforgettable Australian adventure.

Rich in culture, Canberra is home to the Australian story, playing host to many of the country’s most iconic cultural attractions, museums and galleries including the National Gallery of AustraliaNational Museum of AustraliaAustralian War Memorial, and Australian Parliament House. Together, they tell Australia’s unique story.

Whether you're interested in discovering the iconic attractions or immersing yourself in its natural wonders, Canberra offers something different for you. From family-friendly activities and adrenaline-pumping sporting events, to wildlife encounters and exceptional dining experiences, this city promises to impress and inspire. 

A wide view of Canberra from a mountain
Visit Australia's capital city, Canberra.
Enjoy a tropical stopover in Fiji.

How to get to Canberra

Accessing Australia’s capital is simpler than ever before. Start your Australian vacation with ease and fly from Los Angeles, San Francisco or Vancouver to Canberra with Fiji Airways.

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A red car driving on the road with autumn leaves near it and the National Arboretum Canberra in the background.

Getting around Canberra 

Canberra is a modern and well-planned city with a range of efficient and convenient transportation options. In fact, two American architects had won the competition to design Canberra in 1912. 

Getting around is easy, whether you choose to rent a car, take a taxi, or use public transportation such as the bus or light rail. If you're feeling adventurous, bike and e-scooter hire are popular options which can be rented directly from the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre.

Canberra is well-known for being a driveable city with the majority of its attractions and destinations reachable by car within just a 15-minute drive. Hire a car at Canberra Airport from one of the six rental car companies on to explore the surrounding region of national parks and country towns as well as the city.

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What to see and do

Couple walking across bridge surrounded by large, green ferns.
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Nature walks and wildlife spotting

Nestled between mountains and surrounded by bushland, Canberra is a nature lover's paradise. A city in a park, run on 100% renewable energy and with progressive climate change policies, Canberra offers hiking trails, breathtaking views, and the opportunity to see Australia's unique flora and fauna up close. 

With more than 70% of Canberra being dedicated parkland and reserves, it’s not unusual to see a kangaroo as you sip on your morning coffee. To spot even more native animals, join the experts from Canberra Guided Tours on the Best of Wildlife Tour, and keep an eye out for wallabies, koalas, platypi, colourful parrots, and emus.

Explore the home of many native Australian animals and plants at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, located just 40 minutes from the city centre. Take a stroll along the easy walking paths, relax in the shade of the towering trees, and enjoy a delightful picnic in one of the many picturesque spots. 

Just five minutes from the city centre you can be transported to another world at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Join a passionate and knowledgeable tour guide as you travel through the gardens on the magical Flora Explorer bus to take in the over 4,300 plant species set on 35 hectares throughout this Canberra bushland setting.

Top outdoor adventures

Exterior shot of the Australian Parliament House building
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Australia's home of democracy

Famous as the home of democracy in Australia, immerse yourself in the political past and present of the land down under in the National Triangle. At the top of this historic precinct is Australian Parliament House. Join a Signature Tour within this democratic institution to learn about the building’s architecture, venture into rarely seen spaces such as the press gallery and private courtyards, and enjoy a high tea usually reserved for visiting dignitaries.

A ten-minute walk away you’ll find the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House. Discover how the nation was shaped by people, votes, and prime ministers. Step back in time and see the preserved Prime Minister’s Suite, walk in the footsteps of history makers, and in the Senate room, debate about which exhibition was your favourite.

Discover the badass women who changed Australia’s constitution and dismissed governments on a She Shapes History tour. Explore the National Triangle with knowledgeable guides who will reveal a different side of Canberra’s most iconic monuments and sites.

One of the few cities in the world you can fly directly over the seat of parliament in a hot air balloon, why not see these amazing sights from above with Balloon Aloft? Your pilot will point out many iconic landmarks and breathtaking natural landscapes along the way.

National Triangle

Boat moving across lake with hot air balloons above
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Events and festivals

The locals like to celebrate each season in style with a festival or two.

Each spring over one million flowers bloom at Floriade (September –October), the largest flower festival in the Southern Hemisphere. Grown in intricate patterns, these floral artworks are lined by market stalls, live music, and horticultural workshops.

In summer, car enthusiasts celebrate supped-up streetcars, compete for the title of National Burnout Master, and admire vintage designs at Summernats (January).

Every fall, Enlighten Festival (March) takes over Canberra. The national museums and galleries become canvases for digital art at night, at Enlighten Illuminations, with stunning installations and live performances to keep the whole family entertained. Wake up to surreal scenes as dozens of hot air balloons float across the capital each morning during the Canberra Balloon Spectacular (March). Grab breakfast from a local food truck or take to the lake to watch the balloons inflate and float into the sky.

In winter, foodies immerse themselves into the truffle season. The prized black Perigord truffle is on the menu at restaurants, cafes, and wineries across the capital thanks to the region’s cool climate growing conditions. Enjoy a paddock-to-plate experience or join a truffle hunt at one of the newest jewels in Canberra’s culinary-experience crown, Beltana Farm.

Blockbuster exhibitions fill Canberra’s museums and galleries all year round. Immerse yourself in the past as Discovering Ancient Egypt graces the halls of the National Museum of Australia (15 December 2023—8 September 2024) with over 220 historical artefacts. Continue your tour of captivating galleries with the Emily Kam Kngwarray exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia (2 December 2023—28 April 2024).

Unmissable events

Woman taking a bath with tigers outside the window
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Unique accommodation

With a range of luxury accommodation, including award-winning boutique hotels and spas, you can immerse yourself in comfort and style while enjoying breathtaking views of the city's natural surroundings.

Canberra is home to a five-star experience at Jamala Wildlife Lodge within the National Zoo & Aquarium, where you can spend the night only meters away from lions, bears, cheetahs, or tigers in the jungle bungalows, or spend the morning on the balcony of the giraffe tree house, as you marvel at the size and beauty of your new giant friend. This incredible and immersive stay also treats guests to two exclusive zoo tours that encounter some of the zoo’s rarest, largest, and most dangerous occupants.

Located just minutes from the airport, the newly opened Beltana Farm beckons visitors with its expansive trufferie boasting over 800 trees. Immerse yourself in the seamless blend of nature's beauty and luxurious comfort as you choose from a range of charming and unique on-site accommodation. The restaurant caters to both truffle enthusiasts and non-truffle lovers alike with an elevated dining menu designed to delight every palate.

If you're looking for accommodation in the heart of the city at one of Australia's most sustainable buildings, Ovolo Nishi is a no-brainer, where every angle of this captivating building provides the perfect photo opportunity.

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Ancient cultures

Learn about some of the oldest and richest cultures in human history, Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Join a local Ngunnawal elder from Dhawura Tours to learn about ancient customs and traditions, see historical artefacts, spot scar trees, and discover bush tucker. You might even be lucky enough to see some hidden rock art. Aboriginal rock art is one of the oldest forms of art in the world, so witnessing these ancient depictions is like looking straight into another time. 

Even without leaving Canberra’s city centre, you can experience the wonders of our Indigenous cultures. Comprising over 7500 works, the National Gallery of Australia is privileged to house the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. Home to over 44,000 rare and significant trees, see the National Arboretum Canberra with ease on a guided bus tour or learn about native bush tucker, weaving, and traditional art at a Ngala Tour workshop.

History buffs can learn about Australia’s ancient history, which dates back over sixty thousand years, at the National Museum of Australia. Learn about defining historical moments through sensory displays, fascinating collections of art, craft, and artefacts. At Australian Parliament House, the daily, free Yeribee tour offers a unique insight into how First Nations peoples have brought about change through their roles in the nation’s democratic processes.

First Nations Experiences

A group of friends enjoying their time on a GoBoat on the lake.
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Lake activities

Canberra is Australia’s largest inland city and at the heart of it is the beautiful Lake Burley Griffin. One of only a handful of planned cities in the world, the lake was an integral part of Chicago-born Walter Burley Griffin’s design for Australia’s capital city, and it is home to an array of the iconic attractions along its shoreline; including galleries, museums, cafes and parks, as well as walking and cycling paths.

Do as the locals do and spend an hour walking the three-mile ‘bridge to bridge’ loop around the lake, spotting lots of iconic sights along the way. Keep an eye out for Australia’s largest musical instrument, the National Carillion, the Captain Cook Memorial Jet which shoots six tonnes of water over 124 yards into the air, and views of the Australian War Memorial.

Enjoy a floating picnic on a GoBoat, for a view of the lake like no other. Don a captain’s hat and navigate this eco-friendly electric boat around Lake Burley Griffin to find the perfect vista for your scenic lunch. These electric boats are easy to use, fit up to eight people, and are made of sustainable resources such as recycled bottles.

Lakeside adventures

Family on free tour of National Museum of Australia looking at termite mound
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Tours with a twist

Visitors can see the city and the region from the air, the water, a bike, a bus, or atop a horse. Led by knowledgeable locals, you’ll discover the best scenic views, restaurants, breweries, and photography spots.

See the night sky come to life when you book a stargazing experience at the historic Mount Stromlo Observatory. Used as an optical munitions factory during WWII and now home to an operating Satellite Laser Ranging Observatory, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at this amazing facility before you gaze into the depths of space.

Daily tours are also offered at many of the national museums and galleries which showcase the Australian story. With many attractions offering free tours regularly, it’s a great way to learn the origins behind famous artworks and delve into the history of Australia.

For access to the Australian War Memorial’s behind the scenes collection of memorabilia, letters, photographs, and diaries – many over a century old – book into The Soul of the Nation experience. Join an expert guide for an engaging private tour of the Commemorative Courtyard, hear stories of service and sacrifice behind the over 103,000 names on the Australian Roll of Honour, and place a poppy of remembrance on the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier.

More tours

Aerial image of the Pod Playground at the National Arboretum Canberra with the arboretum and Black Mountain Tower in the background. | © Wunderman Thompson
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Family activities

You will be delighted to discover that there are endless activities perfect for the whole family to enjoy. 

Children will feel like giants as they explore hand-built miniature worlds at Cockington Green Gardens in Gold Creek Village. The Canberra Reptile ZooNational Dinosaur Museum, and Canberra Walk-in Aviary are all within walking distance – and you can explore all four with a Gold Creek Adventure Ticket.

Canberra hosts one of Australia's best playgrounds, and the whole family is sure to be wowed by its structure. Pod Playground is situated in the National Arboretum Canberra, and is an award-winning attraction with good reason. While children play amongst giant acorn cubbies and music-making instruments, adults will appreciate the sweeping views of the city and the on-site Bonsai Collection, which hosts a world-class display of some of the finest miniature trees and forests in the world.

Families visiting Canberra during winter can play in the snow at Corin Forest, located just a 45-minute drive away from the city centre. In addition to the snowy wonderland, the nearly mile long Alpine Slide is also a popular attraction that can be enjoyed all year round, sending its passengers of all ages zooming at their own pace through a mountain ash forest.

Top family activities

Interior of Inka's decorative and colourful restaurant
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Exceptional dining

Canberrans take their food and drink incredibly seriously. Home to chef-hatted dining experiences and even a World Barista Champion, every meal in Canberra is sure to be one to remember.

The city hosts an array of award-winning restaurants and local favourites like Inka alongside exceptional vegetarian restaurants like Monster Kitchen and Bar at Ovolo Nishi hotel, which is home to rich aromas, vibrant colours, and local produce full of flavour. Or take in the stunning views of Lake Burley Griffin at Snapper and Co., which offers fresh fish and chips in a relaxed family atmosphere.

Award-winning restaurants

Two women drinking wine on a deck in front of a glamping tent with wine vines in the background.
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The region from snow to surf

Wine lovers can take their pick of more than 140 vineyards and 40 cellar door experiences, all within 30 minutes-drive of the city. Find your new favourite Riesling or Shiraz on a tour of the Canberra Wine District. You can even glamp amongst the vines with an overnight experience at Cubby & Co., nestled within the vines at Mount Majura Vineyard.

Swap a vino for the snow and explore Australia’s highest peaks in the Snowy Mountains, which offer great hiking and biking in the warmer months and snow sports each winter. If you prefer beaches to mountains, head to Shoalhaven region where surf, sand, and kangaroos await you. Don’t miss the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge whose winding road seemingly floats over the sea as if magically weightless.

Whatever direction you head out of the city, there’s something amazing to explore.

Discover the Canberra Wine District

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Book your trip

Embark on a journey to uncover why Canberra stands as a must-visit destination in Australia.

Whether you’re drawn to uncovering the rich history, culture, and democracy that calls Canberra home, an outdoor adventure full of nature walks and exciting wildlife encounters, or desire premium experiences coupled with exceptional dining, the city's diverse offerings cater to every preference. Immerse yourself in vibrant local festivities, explore first-class cultural attractions, take thoughtfully planned tours or venture into diverse regions to discover snowy landscapes and tranquil east-coastal vistas. Whichever experience you choose, you'll depart with memories destined to last a lifetime, Don't miss the chance to discover all that Canberra has to offer—book your trip today with Fiji Airways and start your Australian vacation with ease.

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Keep planning your Canberra getaway

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Aerial of some food dishes on a black table at Temporada | © Ashley St George

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