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52 Best Canberra Attractions Every Tourist Must See
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52 Most Popular Attractions in Canberra
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- Cotter Reserve, Cotter Road, Paddys River, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
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Canberra Attractions FAQs
What’s the weather like in Canberra?
- Summer (December – February): The weather is dry and temperatures can be high sometimes. In January the maximum temperature is about 28-29 degrees Celsius. The sun shines for about 9 hours, so you’ll have enough time to explore the outdoors.
- Autumn (March – May): This is a great time to visit Canberra if you don’t enjoy the warm weather. The temperature in April is about 20 degrees Celsius on average. However, light rain is consistent through the entire year.
- Winter (June – August): Temperatures in winter averages 12 degrees Celsius during the day, but can drop to -1 degree at night. Keep in mind that frosts and heavy fog are common in winter, and UV radiation can be high. It is the quietest tourist season of the year.
- Spring (September – November): If you visit Canberra in the spring you can expect very pleasant weather. The mornings and nights can be cooler, but it’s sunny during the day, with temperatures around 19 degrees Celsius.
When is the best time to visit Canberra?
March to May are the best months to visit Canberra. Although spring also features pleasant weather, during autumn you get the chance to see some of the numerous festivals including Easter celebrations.
Summer months are best to indulge in water and outdoor sports. It’s peak tourism season.
Winter is a good time to visit, if you don’t like crowds or prefer colder weather. From June to August, it’s common for visitors from Sydney or Canberra to venture to Thredbo or Perisher and enjoy the snow.
Are there annual events in Canberra?
Canberra is home to many festivals during the year. This festival-loving city has a range of events that take place in the city almost every weekend but here are some important ones throughout the year:
- National Multicultural Festival (February): you can enjoy international food and watch cultural performances.
- Enlighten festival (March): National landmarks are lit up with projections by night. This festival is followed by Canberra Balloon Spectacular. Enjoy the view of hot air balloons floating across the city.
- Skyfire (March): is an annual festival that gives you the opportunity to watch some of Australia’s best music artist and enjoy fireworks spectacle.
- National Folk Festival (March/April): is held in April with a range of folk music concerts, circus performers, dances and roving musicians.
- Truffle Festival (June-August): Indulge in a feast at the Truffle Festival each year from June to August. This region is famous for its Black Truffles, and the festival is a celebration of the truffle harvest.
- Floriade (September-October): This has become one of the most iconic events in Canberra. It’s more than just a flower show. It’s a month-long celebration of the spring, with music, food, wine, horticultural workshops, artistic displays, entertainment and activities.
A guide of other festivals is available on the events.act.gov.au site.
What happens on New Year’s Eve in Canberra?
If you are spending New Year’s Eve in the Australian capital, you won’t be short of fireworks. Civic Square and Garema Place are two main spots for celebration and parties. However, the events are alcohol and glass free, to ensure a safe evening.
Civic Square is perfect for families. The party kicks off at 7.30, with a family concert before 9 PM fireworks. There are a lot of family-friendly activities to keep everyone occupied. Enjoy the entertainment and best local food.
Over the road, Garema Place is home to a dance party that starts with the early firework display. After the midnight fireworks, the celebration continues.
If you want to see the fireworks away from the crowds, head to the Lake Burley Griffin and watch as they are launched over the lake.
What are the must-see attractions in Canberra?
With most travelers visiting Canberra on a 1 or 2 days trip from Sydney, there’s only so much you can see with the limited time. Here are some must see attractions we recommend on your next trip to Canberra.
|Attractions near Lake Burley Griffin
Canberra’s design incorporates greenbelts and geometric shapes with Lake Burley Griffin in the centre. Many of the top tourist attractions lie along its shores including Questacon and National Library of Australia. If you want to enjoy art, National Gallery of Australia has a stunning collection of Australian and international artwork.
The capital of Australia actually has two parliament houses: the Old Parliament House at the base of the hill, and the new Parliament House at the top of the Capital Hill. Enjoy the exhibits that display important documents or visit during sitting times to learn how parliament works.
Follow one of the numerous walking trails to the 843-meter Mount Ainslie lookout to really appreciate the layout of this carefully planned capital.
For those who would like to explore the nature, head to the Black Mountain Nature Park. It’s a great wilderness experience to combine with a visit to the Telstra Tower which provides panoramic views of the city.
|Attractions for the kids
Meet lions, tigers, bears and even sharks at the National Zoo and Aquarium. It is a hit with families. If you are more into sports, stop by the Australian Institute of Sport to experience what it’s like to be one of the athletes. The Big Splash Waterpark is also perfect for kids on hot summer days.
What attractions are a day trip away from Canberra?
There are some attractions on the outskirt of Canberra that you should definitely visit. You won’t regret spending the day outside the city.
|Namadgi National Park
For those who enjoy archaeology, visiting Namadgi National Park is a must. Over 200 Aboriginal sites are recorded within the park. The vegetation is diverse as well as the fauna, kangaroos, wallabies and wombats can be seen often.
Distance: two hours drive by car
|Cotter Avenue Recreation Area
This is a popular recreational venue ideal for walking, picnics and relaxation. If you take the Cotter Dam Discovery Trail, you will have the chance to learn about the history of water in Canberra and walk up to the platform with magical views of the dam wall.
Distance: 30 minutes drive by car
|Booroomba Rocks Walk
If you feel adventurous and enjoy bushwalking, head to the Booroomba Rocks Walk. The rocks are also considered to be one of the gems of the Australian climbing. It is the tallest climb in Canberra, and when you find yourself on top, you can enjoy stunning views of the city. If you aren’t an experienced climber, you can settle for the walking trails.
Distance: one hour drive by car
|The Truffle Farm
Truffle Farm, Australia’s most popular truffle hunting destination, is a perfect place for food lovers. Watch how highly trained dogs sniff out black truffles. Once truffles are found, you will also find out how to prepare this highly prized delicacy.
Distance: 20 minutes drive by car
This is a popular holiday destination for people living in Canberra. This area is rich with wildlife and history. While many beaches and bays reveal themselves from the road, more are hidden. Exploring them can be truly rewarding. Head to Pebbly Beach to relax and maybe embark on a kayaking adventure.
Distance: two hours drive by car
If you don’t want to navigate routes or arrange itineraries by yourself, you can always book a day trip. Professional guides will show you all of the hidden gems of the Canberra and the places near the capital.
Is there an attraction pass to save more money when visiting Canberra?
|Using a 3infun Canberra Attraction Pass you can visit three of the best attractions: the Australian Institute of Sport, Cockington Green Gardens and Questacon. It’s valid for 12 months for a single entry at each attraction. There is, also, a bonus: a free return visit to one of the attraction.|
What are the best Canberra attractions and activities for couples?
There are some attractions and activities in Canberra that are perfect for couples. Here are some suggestions for romantic things you can do with your partner.
|Canberra Hot Air Balloon Flight at Sunrise
Take your partner and try this magical hot air balloon ride. It is, definitely, once in a lifetime experience. As the day dawns your balloon will drift over this remarkable planned city and its lakes, parks and colourful tree-lined streets.
|Sunset and Serenity Small-Group Pedal Kayak Tour in Canberra
If you are afraid of heights, you can enjoy kayaking. Glide over the water and soak up the views of the ANZAC Parade, lakeside sculptures, and the High Court buildings. Enjoy the afternoon light dancing on the water while the sun is setting behind the mountains.
|Australian National Botanic Gardens
Discover Australian National Botanic Gardens and have a journey through parklands by electric bike. It’s just a glimpse of the Australian nature, from red desert centre to waterfalls and a cool rainforest gully. After that, take a ride along the lakeside cycle paths and have lunch by the lake.
|Snowy Mountains and Sapphire Coast
If you have more time, don’t miss the chance to discover unspoiled beauty of the Snowy Mountains and Sapphire Coast. This 6-day intimate tour is perfect for nature lovers. Hike, bike, enjoy coastal walks and sample award-winning cuisine.
What Canberra attractions can you see on a budget?
Budget restrictions don’t mean there is nothing for you to do in Canberra. It’s quite the opposite: there are many popular attractions you can visit.
- Australian War Memorial (Free): If you love museums, visit the Australian War Memorial, which combines a museum, archives, art gallery and library.
- Vietnam Forces National Memorial (Free): Vietnam Forces National Memorial commemorates Australian soldiers who served in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
- National Portrait Gallery (Free): At Canberra’s National Portrait Gallery you can see empowering portraits of people who formed Australia and learn about their lives.
- National Museum of Australia (Free): National Museum of Australia gives you the chance to explore national identity in a kid-friendly and fun way.
- Royal Australian Mint (Free): At the Royal Australian Mint you can watch how Australian coins are made.
- Canberra Glassworks (Accepts donations): At the Canberra Glassworks you can go behind the scenes and learn about glassmaking.
- Commonwealth Park (Free):Visit Commonwealth Park, one of the Canberra best public gathering places.
- Captain Cook Memorial Fountain (Free): While you’re at the Commonwealth Park, don’t miss the Captain Cook Memorial Fountain that has pumps strong enough to shoot water over 450 feet in the air.
- Carillon Tower (Free): The white Carillon Tower, on the Aspen Island in Lake Burley Griffin, was a gift from a British government on Canberra 50th birthday. Within the tower are bronze bells, whose music drifts across the lake.
Is there reliable public transport in Canberra?
You can get around Canberra by busses. Purchase a MyWay Card – a prepaid ticketing system for all buses in the city. There are Standard, Student, Tertiary, Concession and Senior MyWay cards. They can be purchased at numerous locations around Canberra.
How far is the airport from Canberra?
Canberra Airport is located about 8 kilometres from the city centre. You can take a bus from the airport to the CBD via bus Route 11 and 11A. It will take you about 20-30 minutes depending on the traffic conditions. Use MyWay card or pay cash fare to the driver when boarding.
You can also take a taxi or hire a car. It is a 15-minute drive at non-peak hours. However, when there is heavy traffic, it may take longer to get to the city.
|Canberra Airport Transport Service
Book ahead and organize your stress-free transport to or from the airport. Enjoy the convenience, comfort and reliable service.
What Canberra attraction can you see on an airport stopover?
If you have more than 4 hours between flights you can take a bus or rent a car to go to Canberra’s CBD. It’s only a short 15 minute drive away and you should be able to visit some attractions. Everything under 4 hours is a bit risky. Plan ahead and be careful not to miss your flight.
Is there a Hop On Hop Off Bus?
Free city loop (route 101) is a great way to get around Canberra. It services must-see destinations and tourist hot spots. It’s free and has 11 stops where you can hop on or hop off. These buses run from Monday to Friday, 7 AM to 7 PM, every 10 minutes.