Australia’s capital is best known as the country’s political center, but is often overshadowed on the itinerary by more popular tourist destinations such as Sydney and Melbourne. However, with the proliferation of museums, galleries and one of the world’s leading research universities, the city may not be the best city for nightlife, but it’s perfect for intellectual pursuits and showcases what Australia (and the world!) has to offer, As well as celebrating much of what gives Australia its national identity.
If you love museums, cafes that rival global coffee hub Melbourne, and beautiful natural beauty just minutes from the city, you won’t want to miss Canberra.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Canberra:
1. Capitol Tour
When the word Canberra is mentioned, Parliament House is the first thing that comes to mind for international tourists and Australians: the Houses of Parliament have been the centre of the nation’s political action since it opened in 1988, replacing what is now called the Old Parliament House (the seat of the Australian Parliament in 1927) ).
This iconic and beautiful building is breathtaking and makes a great backdrop for your vacation photos (especially at sunset). Closed from 9am to 5pm, with tours every half hour, it’s a great way to familiarize yourself not only with the building but the intricacies of Australia’s unique political system.
There is also a large collection of Australian art on display in the building, giving you a taste of the fusion of art history and political history.
2. National Zoo and Aquarium
Canberra is home to Australia’s only comprehensive zoo and aquarium facility, and as you’d expect from a zoo located in the nation’s capital city, the National Zoo and Aquarium goes out of its way to be proud of the country.
ZooVenture tours are especially fun: feed bears, photograph rhinos, hand-feed giraffes, and more on this 2-hour behind-the-scenes look at the zoo.
At just $125, it’s a great value and worth remembering.
The facility also features the Jamala Wildlife Lodge, a luxury safari lodge, which provides visitors with luxury accommodation and special safari itineraries that include one to three nights of exotic, exciting entertainment.
3. Namagi National Park
Namadgi National Park, 40km south of Canberra, is a great day trip to explore the ACT. You’ll find stunning Australian fauna, including colourful birds, rugged granite mountains and habitats ranging from alpine meadows to lush forests.
The park is also listed on the National Heritage List of Australia and is one of eleven protected areas that form the Australian Alps National Park and Reserve.
Australia’s regional and rural landscapes are diverse and beautiful, and it’s definitely worth checking out this stunning example when you’re in the region.
4. Relive Australia’s history
Canberra is known for the exceptionally high-quality exhibitions it attracts to its museums and galleries, many of which are not shown elsewhere in Australia, and attracts visitors from all over the country.
The National Museum of Australia is the ideal place to learn about Australian history, geography and culture, as well as many fascinating international exhibits.
Art lovers certainly shouldn’t miss the National Gallery of Australia, a world-class facility with a particularly excellent collection of Aboriginal art.
Canberra also has many interesting war memorials such as Changi Chapel (originally built by Singaporean POWs and shipped back piece by piece after World War II) and the Australian War Memorial.
5. Discover the future
Between exciting events at Questacon, the CSIRO Discovery Centre and the Australian Academy of Science, there’s plenty of emerging scientists (and real scientists!) to enjoy in Canberra.
Questacon is the National Center for Science and Technology, a leading facility with many exciting exhibits for you to enjoy, using cutting-edge technologies such as virtual and augmented reality to make science accessible to audiences of all levels of scientific knowledge.
6. Relax and rejuvenate at the National Arboretum
Australia is known for its gorgeous flora, especially wildflowers.
The National Botanic Gardens is a wonderful introduction to the beauty of Australian plant life, its versatility and the important role it plays in traditional culture.
Botanical gardens are perfect for casual walks or picnics, and a horticulturalist’s dream.
There’s even a 45-minute garden bus tour, allowing you to delve into the beauty of nature in air-conditioned comfort.
7. Be a market hopping
If you love buying fresh produce at the farmers market, crafting at the maker’s market, or just love the bustling, small-business atmosphere of yesteryear that the market offers, then you’ll love the Old Bus Stop Market and the Capital Region Farmers Market.
They’re all easy to make, and you’ll come home with some of the tastiest fruits and vegetables you’ll find in the country, plus lots of handcrafted crafts as quirky keepsakes to fill your suitcases with for your friends back home Family.
8. Go crazy for sports with an AIS sports tour
Australia is known for being a sports fanatic country, and if you love sports or want to learn about this inner part of Australian culture, the Australian Institute of Sport should be on your itinerary.
This premier sports precinct is one of the capital’s most popular tourist attractions, attracting both international and domestic visitors, and the 90-minute tour is a fantastic introduction to Australia’s sporting past, present and future.
Challenge yourself with Sportex, a state-of-the-art interactive sports exhibit while you’re at AIS; it’s unmissable and a lot of fun.
9. Fly a jet
Actually, that’s it. If you fantasized about being a jet pilot as a kid, Canberra’s Jet Flight Simulator is a great place to try it out in a completely safe virtual environment.
No experience is required to become the captain of one of the world’s most popular aircraft, the Boeing 737, you will have an experienced flight instructor as your co-pilot and teach you the ropes in the air.
There are 22,000 virtual airports available for landing and varying weather conditions, making it an extraordinary adventure.
10. Get to know Canberra
Canberra is a city that was formally established more than a century ago and is much more than the capital of the country. As Australia’s eighth largest city, it is vibrant and interesting in its own right, with a unique culture distinct from its interstate neighbours.
You can learn more about Canberra at the Canberra Museum and learn about its function as the nation’s capital in the National Capital exhibit.
The Australian National University is also a very important Australian icon, as well as a gorgeous campus and a great place to take a stroll.
There are also many lovely heritage buildings to admire in and around Canberra, such as Lanyon Homestead and Blundells Cottage.
The area has been inhabited by the local Aboriginal people for about 20,000 years and is a fascinating tour if you are also interested in pre-modern history: many artifacts still exist and can be found in various museums and important locations around the city beyond .
11. Cruise on Lake Burley Griffin
Lake Burleigh Griffin is a man-made lake in Canberra city centre, created in the 1960s.
Many of the city’s most famous landmarks are either located on the lake’s shore or are easily seen from the lake, and a boat trip on the lake is a wonderful way to see the city from a whole new perspective in a peaceful, beautiful setting.
There are several cruise ships to choose from, offering options such as dining, and the guide’s fascinating insight into the city’s history will make the experience even more rewarding.
12. Experience the Canberra Glassworks
Glassworks is a studio and gallery dedicated to the art of glass making.
As Australia’s only cultural centre dedicated to modern glass art, it is a hub for glass artists, art lovers and visitors looking for special souvenirs.
Workshops allow the public to experience glass making, including one-on-one and group sessions with professional glass artists.
Tours are also available, allowing you to gain insight into the meaning of the work, the stories of the artists, and the amazing creative inspiration that takes place in the facility, while admiring the beauty of glass art.
13. Enjoy panoramic views of Mount Ainslie
Ainsley Hill is located in Canberra Nature Park, northeast of Canberra city centre, and offers extraordinary panoramic views of Canberra city centre, especially Capital Hill and Black Hills (another magnificent viewing platform if you have the time!) west.
You’ll find the Mount Ainslie Kokoda Peak Train, a well-maintained and informatively signposted walking trail behind the Australian War Memorial, a great and highly educational way to experience the mountain.
14. Look for truffles
On the outskirts of Canberra, you’ll find a foodie’s paradise at a truffle farm.
This homestead farm features an on-site restaurant, and the chef, who has graced the kitchens of several Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, has settled in Canberra due to his passion for the wonderful culinary potential of truffles.
Farmer Jason is a Canberra native and is accompanied by friendly truffle hounds and pigs (now, a steady stream of tourists). You can go truffle hunting in season (June-August); outside of these months, it’s still worth a visit to enjoy the restaurant and the stunning views of the oak forest and the picturesque Majura valley.
15. Wander the beautiful Jerrabomberra wetlands
Located in the heart of Canberra, the ‘Gera’ Wetland is a nature retreat to relax after an exciting day in Capital Hill.
Known as one of the ACT’s best-kept secrets, the wetlands are home to a rich diversity of birds (including migratory species as far away as Japan), lush greenery and beautiful flowers.
There are also frequent fun events, including Aboriginal cultural events.
Wetlands are truly a treat and should be a must-see on any nature lover’s itinerary.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Canberra, Australia
Lowest price guaranteed.