Canberra is home to some of Australia’s most iconic cultural attractions.
Be it art, history, science, film and literature or nature, the city has something for everyone.
Come and discover all that Canberra has to offer.
Delight in the art and world-class exhibitions on show at the National Gallery of Australia, on the shores of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin. Art lovers will enjoy meandering through the galleries and admiring the collection, which includes the famous ‘Blue Poles’ by Jackson Pollock and the Ned Kelly series by Sidney Nolan.
The new Australian and International art galleries provide plenty of things to see, following a large-scale rehang of almost every piece. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collection comprises over 7500 works and is the largest in the world.
Look into the eyes of over 400 people who’ve shaped the nation at the National Portrait Gallery, on the shores of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin. Gain a greater understanding of the Australian people – their identity, history, creativity and culture – through portraiture.
From Howard Arkley’s portrait of Nick Cave, to Ned Kelly’s death mask, the portraits include a fascinating array of artists, musicians, entertainers, politicians, sports people and royalty.
Canberra Glassworks is Australia’s only cultural centre that is wholly dedicated to contemporary glass art. Visitors can view artists in their element working with and manipulating glass into beautiful sculptures, and even learn the tricks of the trade at one the very many artwork classes and programs.
Once a local secret but now considered a national treasure, Beaver Galleries of Australia is in Deakin. Its extraordinary selection of artworks attracts visitors all year. With a regularly changing exhibition program, four gallery spaces and a sculpture garden, you’re guaranteed to see something new each visit.
The ANU Drill Hall Gallery is home to an impeccable selection of artworks and exhibitions by leading Australian and international contemporary artists and curators. Check out Sidney Nolan’s 9-panel panorama, Riverbend, which is on permanent display in Gallery 4 and was recently nominated within the top 10 art treasures of Canberra.
Bringing together a world-class museum, a shrine and an extensive archive, the Australian War Memorial in Canberra is a moving and insightful experience for both young and old. Discover the diverse Australian experiences of war and connect with the stories of people and events that shaped Australia.
With the purpose of commemorating the sacrifice of Australians who have died in war, the Memorial is a place to pay your respects and discover what it means to be Australian.
Australia’s stories come alive at the National Museum of Australia, on the shores of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin. The Museum’s stunning architecture provides an extraordinary place to explore the rich and diverse stories of Australia and its people.
At Kspace, the Museum’s new interactive kids’ adventure game played in teams of 4, kids design a time-travelling robot and enter a Time Pod blasting them back to a mystery location in Australia’s past.
A national icon of superb design and historical significance, Old Parliament House in Canberra is home to the Museum of Australian Democracy. As the first and only museum dedicated to telling the story of Australian democracy, the museum offers a range of innovative exhibitions, tours and activities for all ages.
Be inspired by amazing stories of ordinary people who actively fought to shape today’s society, discover where Australia has come from and get involved in where the country is headed.
The National Capital Exhibition illustrates Canberra’s vital role as a symbol of Federation through interactive displays and multi-media models. Take a virtual tour of the National Capital Exhibition at their website.
Film and Literature
See the beautiful, the rare and the unexpected at the National Library of Australia on the shores of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin. Enjoy unparalleled access to Australia’s documentary heritage including books, serials, maps, newspapers, music and ephemera.
Discover the sights and sounds of a nation at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. Watch a film at Arc Cinema, enjoy classic TV and radio shows in The Front Room, and attend free presentations in the newly refurbished Theatrette.
The NFSA is Australia’s living archive for developing, preserving and sharing the nation’s audiovisual memory. Nearly two million items span over 100 years of creative production in film, sound, broadcast and networked media
This heritage building (Canberra’s original post office) houses treasures from the Archives’ world-class collection. Visit to discover Australia’s history through exhibitions, events and more.
See Australia’s ‘birth certificates’ in the Federation Gallery – often open for ‘sneak peeks’. Exhibitions range from banned books to artwork, historic photographs to spies’ secrets. Delve into your family history in the Reading Room, browse in the store or visit their website to explore the Archives online
Free-fall down a six-metre slide, freeze your own shadow, experience an earthquake or challenge a robot to a game of air hockey. Little scientists will enjoy Mini Q as they play, discover and learn in an exhibition specifically designed for 0–6 year olds.
Questacon’s eight interactive exhibitions feature more than 200 hands-on experiences, designed for visitors of all ages to touch, play and explore. Questacon’s exhibitions cover a range of science topics, from astronomy to zoology and everything in between.
The CSIRO Discovery Centre is exciting, interactive and educational for people of all ages. Science is presented in an entertaining way to demystify it, and educate about the fascinating world of research and innovation.
Take an interactive journey through CSIRO and Australian science history in an award-winning designed building with a sweeping glasshouse atrium and tropical indoor garden, bookshop and café
Dinosaur fans of all ages will completely ‘dig’ the National Dinosaur Museum, located in Canberra’s Gold Creek Village. With one of the largest permanent displays of dinosaurs and prehistoric life in Australia, you’ll discover how dinosaurs evolved and interacted amid skulls, skeletons, murals, models and fossils not on display anywhere else in the world. There are even robotic dinosaurs that move, roar, blink and breathe!
Wander through the lifelike models in the landscaped Dinosaur Garden, and browse Canberra’s largest display of minerals, fossils and crystals for sale.
See the forest for the trees at the National Arboretum Canberra, with its 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world. Walk, drive, cycle or even horse-ride around the 250-hectare site. You’ll be struck by the range of botanical beauty, including the living artworks in the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection.
Escape from the city in this beautiful collection of Australian plants at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, located minutes from the hustle and bustle of the Canberra city centre. Offering a breathtaking array of native plants in a spectacular bushland setting, this is the only place in the world you’ll see this diversity of Australian native plants in one location.
Get up close and personal with some of the world’s most amazing creatures at the National Zoo & Aquarium in Canberra. From lions and tigers and bears to giraffes and penguins and monkeys, the Zoo features a variety of native and exotic animals, as well as the largest inland saltwater tank in Australia. You can even pat a cheetah, feed a bear or become acquainted with a meerkat during some of the most amazing hands-on animal experiences in Australia.
Jamala Wildlife Lodge within the zoo grounds offers a once-in-a-lifetime luxury safari accommodation experience.