One of the best things about living in Canberra is the city’s proximity to an abundance of natural attractions.
In Canberra, you’re close to the coast and to the mountains, which means no matter what kind of escape you’re after—surfing, snorkelling, skiing, snowboarding or even mountain biking—you don’t have to travel far.
From the uncrowded and pristine south coast of NSW to the highest alpine peaks of Australia, the Canberra region promises an unrivalled list of places to explore.
From the ‘Bay’ to Eden and everything in between
Canberra is the perfect city base for exploring the unspoiled coastlines of the South Coast on a drive holiday, as it is a scenic two-and-a-half-hour journey.
Discover the delights of whale watching, kayaking, swimming, learning to surf or simply lazing on a beautiful beach.
From Canberra, take the Princes Highway from Queanbeyan through the historic towns of Bungendore and Braidwood on your way to Batemans Bay, the gateway to the South Coast.
Venture south from Batemans Bay and discover long secluded, uncrowded and sheltered beach coves and popular holiday villages including Narooma, Bermagui and farther south to Tathra, Pambula and Eden.
South of Batemans Bay, at the Old Mogo Town Pioneer Village, you can experience the 1850s Gold Rush and learn about Australia’s ‘bloodiest’ bushrangers, the Clarke Gang. Mogo Zoo offers everything from an African lion, leopards, tigers to giraffes, alligators and zebra.
Sink your toes into the worlds whitest sand
Journey north past Ulladulla to explore Jervis Bay, an annexe of the Australian Capital Territory with the whitest sand in the world at Hyams Beach and towering sea cliffs of Point Perpendicular. Take a dolphin watch cruise or a sea kayak excursion from Huskisson to see the pristine beauty of this marine reserve.
Drive inland to Kangaroo Valley to quaint towns offering local arts and crafts along 80 kilometres of river perfect for canoeing, guided bushwalks or bicycle tours. The summit of Pigeon House Mountain (Didhol) near Ulladulla provides spectacular views of the wilderness in Budawang National Park.
Discover the beauty that is the Sapphire Coast
Charter a fishing boat to catch big game and see seals off Montague Island or go whale watching from Narooma on the beautiful Sapphire Coast.
Take the time to discover the heritage-listed village of Central Tilba nestled in a beautiful valley at the foot of Gulaga (Mt Dromedary), a site of great spiritual significance to the local Yuin Aboriginal people. At Merimbula and Eden you can explore some of Australia’s last remaining coastal wilderness and drive through quaint towns and villages renowned for weekend markets, local festivals and outstanding produce.
Fancy a bit of skiing or hiking?
Canberra lies at the eastern base of an alpine national parks system covering an area extending through New South Wales and into Victoria. Over half of the land area of the ACT lies within Namadgi National Park, adjoining Kosciuszko National Park. The region gained world fame when the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the largest engineering project undertaken in Australia’s history, was built to provide hydroelectricity and irrigation to south eastern Australia.
Drive a three-hour scenic trip from Canberra to the Snowy Mountains, and discover beautiful alpine flowers in summer, ski resorts in winter, meander along trout-filled rivers, hike the high country, take a horse riding trek, visit the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme and much more.
Discover a region alive with seasonal activities. In winter, ski at top resorts including Thredbo, Perisher Blue and the family-friendly Mt Selwyn resorts. In spring and summer, the snowmelt feeds clear alpine streams with superb fishing.
The lakes of the Snowy Mountains hydro scheme are perfect for boating, fishing, paddling and sailing. Bushwalks abound with spectacular displays of wildflowers across the Main Range and Mt Kosciuszko walks start from Charlotte Pass or Thredbo. Mountain bikers will thrill with the downhill and cross-country trails on offer throughout the region.