Are you planning a visit to Canberra in 2023? There are so many fun things to do in Canberra make sure you allow enough time to enjoy all that Canberra has to offer. We enjoy visiting Canberra at any time of the year! You just have to dress for the seasons, especially in winter as Canberra can experience snowfalls.
If you love food and culture – Canberra has it all! Once Canberra was known as quite a boring destination to visit but Canberra has come to the forefront of fun and good vibes with restaurants and bars to match.
So let’s go and enjoy all the Canberra attractions that you can fit into your well-deserved getaway.
Short of time in visiting Canberra? We have a Canberra 1 day itinerary so you can make the most of your visit.
Our article will highlight:
- Free things to do in Canberra
- Top Attractions in Canberra
- Top Things To Do in Canberra With Kids
- Top Food Tours in Canberra
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10 Free Things To Do in Canberra
Do you love nature walks and city walks? There are 14 fun Canberra walks for families and nature lovers to enjoy.
Visit The Australian War Memorial
The Australian War Memorial is a memorial to the armed forces who have fought for Australia. The museum covers the first settlement at Sydney Cove right through to the peace-keeping roles under United Nations as well as the First and Second Gulf Wars.
Not only is it a well-appointed Museum but you can visit the archives, the art gallery and library. Try and stay around till 4.55 pm when the Last Post is played daily in remembrance of those who have fallen.
At the entrance to the Commemorative Courtyard, you will walk past the names of every Australian that has died since in the wars since 1885 – their names are inscribed in bronze.
Entry is a gold coin donation to one of the best Canberra attractions. You do need a ticket to enter, tickets are free. The ticket gives you access to galleries and spaces defined at specific times.
Opening hours: 10 am to 5 pm daily except for Christmas Day. Entry to the Last Post Ceremony is 4.20 pm, you will need to book a ticket to attend.
Good to know: you should allow at least 3 hours to visit the Australian War Memorial
Self-guided tours are available from $10.
Address: Treloar Crescent Canberra
For more information on the Australian War Memorial and its exhibits click here
Visit the National Gallery of Australia
The National Gallery of Australia has over 160,000 works of art, in fact, it contains Australia’s largest art collection. It is also home to the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.
It is free to visit, although at times some special exhibitions an admission fee may apply. You can also visit the Sculpture Garden, Fern Garden and the James Tyrell Skyspace.
There are 11 galleries spread over 3 levels so you will need to allow at least 2 – 3 hours to visit.
Opening hours: 10 am to 5 pm daily, closed on Christmas Day.
Address: Parkes Place Canberra
For more information on the National Gallery of Australia click here
Visit Australian Parliament House (New Parliament House)
Address: Parliament Drive
Opening hours: 9 am to 5 pm
The boomerang-shaped building was officially opened by the Queen on May 9 in 1988.
During your visit, you can learn about the flag, discover the architecture, learn the history, go on a virtual tour, explore the gardens, enjoy the photo gallery, and when Parliament is sitting you can even watch a session.
From the roof which is also the grassed covered walkway, you can enjoy expansive views of Canberra. As you wander through the building make sure you see the Magna Carta and other documents that depict the history of Australia. The Magna Carta is one of four in existence and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere – it dates back to the 1297 edition.
For more information on the Australian Parliament House click here
See Incredible Views from Mount Ainslie Lookout
If you want that perfect Instagram shot of Canberra head to Mount Ainslie Lookout. From the lookout, you can view central Canberra, Red Hill in the South and Black Mountain in the west. It is a perfect location to experience Canberra’s sunset. Sitting high at 843 m it is a popular spot with locals and tourists alike. There is a 2 km walk that can be accessed from the rear of the Australian War Memorial to the Lookout.
You can drive to the lookout and there is free parking available.
Address: Mount Ainslie Drive, Canberra
Visit the Royal Australian Mint
When you visit the Royal Australian Mint you will see how Australian coins are made and kids will love that they can mint their own $1 at the Coin shop.
Head upstairs to the factory viewing area to see where all our Australian coins are made. Even when the factory isn’t producing coins there are still many things to see and do. Interactive touchscreens explain the coin making process and videos take you even closer to the action! Take a walk through the galleries of rare and significant coins, and watch a short film on the history.
The kids will love meeting Titan, the money-making robot.
Free tours are available from Monday to Friday at 11 am and 2 pm.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 08.30 am to 5.00 pm
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: 10 am to 4 pm
Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday
Free entry – plan to spend at least 1 hour here
Address: Denison Street, Deakin
For more information on the Royal Mint click here
Wander Lake Burley Griffin
Lake Burley Griffin is popular with cyclists, walkers, rowers, sailors, kayakers, paddleboards and fishermen along its 40 km shoreline.
The Lake is home to the National Carillon on Aspen Island. The Carillon was gifted by the English Government and now contains 57 bells each weighing between 7 kg and 6 tonnes.
On the shore is located the Captain James Cook Memorial Fountain at 147 m high and inaugurated in 1970, 200 years after the arrival of Cook.
Visit Jerrabomberra Wetlands
The Sanctuary is now home to over 170 bird species as well as turtles, frogs, platypus and water rats. When visiting you can enjoy nature walks, bird watching and fishing.
You can join a number of tours.
Address: Dairy Road, Fyshwick
Three Route Options:
- Kellys Swamp Loop
- The Woodland Walk
- The Billabong Walk
For information on what’s on at the Jerrabomberra Wetlands click here
Visit the National Portrait Gallery
The Gallery displays portraits of prominent Australians who have been important in their fields of work. Apart from portraits, you can see exhibits of sculpture and photography.
Address: King Edward Terrace Parkes
Opening Hours: From 10.00 am to 5.00 pm daily except Christmas Day
Australian National Botanic Gardens – one of the most beautiful places in Canberra
Wander through the Asteraceae Garden or the rainforest gully enjoying the world’s largest display of Australian native plants. For more information click here.
Address: Clunies Ross Street Acton ACT
Opening Hours: From 8.30 am to 5.00 pm every day except for Christmas Day.
Stories of Australian history, social history, culture and our people are highlighted at the National Museum.
Address: Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula, Canberra
Opening hours: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm daily except Christmas Day
Top Attractions in Canberra
Learn about a side of history that often gets overlooked when you join this women’s history walking tour with a local guide.
Visit many well-known attractions–such as the National Archives, the High Court, and Old Parliament House–but listen to the lesser-known stories of the women behind Canberra, the Australian capital.
Also visit a few sites you might otherwise miss, such as the Ladies Rose Garden.
Best suited to mobile travellers as this is a walking tour. The tour is around two hours long. Suitable for first-time and regular visitors to Canberra Learn about the people that history books overlook
This private Canberra Secrets Highlights tour takes in the city sights, with the added benefit of the expertise of the author and award-winning Canberra expert, Marg Wade.
You’ll also discover ‘secrets’ and lots of interesting stories. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a fun day on Canberra’s best quality tour.
In this time of COVID recovery, national attractions need to be booked ahead of time. Let Canberra Secrets take the hassle out of your visit. We will do your bookings and plan your itinerary for you. You can be secure knowing that your tour is private – there are no other passengers on your tour — your COVID safety is important to us. You just need to sit back, relax and enjoy your Canberra Secrets tour.
Canberra Hot Air Balloon Flight – one of the fun things to do in Canberra
- Up to 1-hour balloon flight
- Famously clear Canberra skies
- Champagne celebration at the Hyatt Hotel
- Receive a commemorative flight certificate
- Optional buffet breakfast (payable on the day)
- Reach heights of 2000 feet or more
Canberra Jet Flight Simulation
- Authentic flight simulator
- Emulate a real Boeing 737
- Choose from over 22,000 airports
- Various weather conditions
- ICAROS active VR machines
- No experience needed
Top Things To Do in Canberra With Kids
Are you wondering what to do in Canberra with kids?
Questacon – National Science and Technology Centre located at King Edward Terrace in Parkes has over 200 educational and interactive exhibits that kids and big kids will love.
Open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
National Zoo and Aquarium – located at 999 Lady Denman Drive Yarralumla – meet a meerkat, meet Rocco and Ruby Barking Owl siblings, pat a giraffe, get up close and personal with some of the best native animals in the world. You can even stay the night.
Open 9.30 am to 5.00 pm every day except Christmas Day
National Dinosaur Museum
The National Dinosaur Museum houses Australia’s largest collection of dinosaurs. Kids will love the 20m T-Rex and dinosaurs that move, blink and roar.
Address: 6 Gold Creek Road Nicholls, Nicholls, Canberra
Open: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm closed Christmas Day
Top Food Tours in Canberra
Winery, Distillery and Tasting Tour with Lunch
Experience the best of the Canberra Region with a taste of 3 local wineries, a distillery, and a chocolatier on a small group tour with lunch.
3 Hour Canberra Brewery and Beer Tour
This ultimate tour takes you to three great Capital craft beer hotspots in three hours. Includes transportation and plenty of fresh craft beer and cider!
Full-Day Beer Tour
The Canberra Explorer tour takes you to three great craft breweries across the Capital and an awesome craft beer pub. Includes transportation, lunch and plenty of fresh craft beer and cider!
Accommodation in Canberra
For where to stay in Canberra for families check out our article.
More hotels in Canberra:
Where to Eat in Canberra
Some of our favourite restaurants in Canberra are:
CocoNine Thai in Kingston by the Lake – 132/2 Trevillian Quay Kingston
Kinn Thai – 125 Bunda Street Canberra
For Japanese head to Raku at 148 Bunda Street Canberra
The Boat House at Grevillea Park, Menindee Dr, Barton
Waters Edge at 40 Parkes Pl E, Parkes
For more Canberra restaurants check out Tripadvisor Canberra
Frequently Asked Questions About Visiting Canberra
When is the best time to visit Canberra?
Spring is the best time to visit Canberra, if you can’t visit in Spring Autumn is the next best time.
How many days do you need to visit Canberra?
We would recommend at least 3 days.
When is the Floriade Festival?
Floriade occurs between September and October. Accommodation bookings should be made well in advance.
Canberra Travel Information
Driving distances to Canberra:
Melbourne to Canberra – 663 km driving time 7 hours
Adelaide to Canberra – 1159 km driving time 12.5 hours
Albury to Canberra – 338 km driving time 3.5 hours
Sydney to Canberra – 286 km driving time 3 hours
Canberra Airport is located 8 km from the city.
You can book a private transfer here
For flights to Canberra check the latest deals out here.
Need to hire a car? Check out the latest deals here.
We recommend travel insurance when you travel. Check out the latest prices here.
We hope you have enjoyed our article on what to do in Canberra. There are so many places to visit in Canberra, you will be spoilt for choice. Feel free to share our article with family and friends. If you have any questions please reach out to our Facebook group.
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