Want to know what to see, do and taste to truly experience Australia’s capital? Here’s your guide to the top things to do in Canberra.
But let’s face it, there are far too many fabulous things to tackle in just one trip, so start planning your next weekend adventure now.
#1. Visit the icons
Make sure you visit all the world-class national attractions that call Canberra home at least once, including the National Museum of Australia, Australia’s Parliament House, the National Gallery of Australia and the Australian War Memorial. Entry to most of the city’s major attractions is free.
#2. Soar above the capital
For the best view of Canberra, take a scenic hot air balloon flight over the nation’s capital. Take off at sunrise and drift gently with the wind as you experience breathtaking views and see the nation’s capital come to life beneath you.
#3. Indulge in food that is almost too pretty to eat
Tempt your tastebuds with Space Kitchen‘s picture-perfect creations. Unicorn waffles are the latest taste sensation to come out of this ‘grammable eatery. Indulge in this little slice of magic before it gallops away.
#4. Make it to the market
Spend your Saturday morning shopping up a storm at the Capital Region Farmers Markets, where you can buy fresh produce direct from the growers and enjoy a delicious local breakfast or brunch. Then take part in a Sunday tradition in Canberra by visiting the Old Bus Depot Markets. Pick up some tasty treats, a bunch of flowers, some fashion gems and local artwork.
#5. Explore the lake by foot, bike or boat
At the heart of Canberra is Lake Burley Griffin, surrounded by galleries and museums that house Australia’s art and historical collections interspersed with parks and open spaces as well as walking and cycling paths. Do as the locals do and spend an hour walking the ‘bridge to bridge’ path around the lake, stopping off for a coffee along the way. One of our favourite options is to hire a self-captained a picnic boat from Go Boat Canberra.
#6. Wander through the wineries
Canberra’s three cool-climate wine regions offer a spectacular range of experiences, from wine-tasting and fine dining to truffle hunting. Traditionally, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Shiraz varieties have thrived here at the 140 vineyards and 33 winery cellar doors, most within 30 minutes’ drive of the capital.
#7. Take the ultimate selfie
In the centre of Parliament House’s roof flies an Australian flag roughly the size of a double-decker bus. Visitors can take the lift to the roof, walk beneath the massive flag mast and pose for the perfect holiday selfie.
#8. Wine and dine
Indulge at some of the capital’s top-rated restaurants for incredible culinary experiences. Wander through foodie precincts like Braddon, NewActon and the Kingston Foreshore for an eclectic mix of cafes, restaurants, bars, pop-up stores, galleries and people watching.
#9. Catch up over coffee
Explore Canberra’s thriving cafe culture and hit up some of the city’s many hot spots, which are perfect for catching up with friends, enjoying a weekend brunch or relaxing over a long lunch. Be sure to drop into The Cupping Room, Highroad, ONA Manuka or ONA Coffee House, where you might run into ONA Coffee founder and 2015 World Barista Champion Sasa Sestic or perhaps the reigning Australian Barista Champion, Matt Lewin.
#10. Discover your wild side
Set yourself the challenge on a visit to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve to spot five famous native Australian animals that call the area home: the koala, platypus, kangaroo, emu and wombat. Then embark on the ultimate animal encounter at the National Zoo & Aquarium’s luxury accommodation, Jamala Wildlife Lodge, where you can take part in behind-the-scenes tours and share a jungle bungalow with lions, tigers and bears for neighbours.