Floriat - Tulips festival in Canberra

8 Things To Do in Canberra Australia (2024)

Explore Australia’s capital city with many things to do in Canberra Australia. These vibrant offerings have many exciting activities catering to every taste. From enriching cultural experiences to thrilling outdoor adventures, the Australian capital promises a diverse tapestry of attractions. Dive into the city’s rich history with visits to iconic landmarks such as the Australian War Memorial and Parliament House. Traverse the picturesque Lake Burley Griffin, offering a tranquil setting for a stroll or a relaxing boat ride.

The National Gallery of Australia showcases a pulsating collection of masterpieces for art enthusiasts, while the Australian National Botanic Gardens beckons nature lovers with their lush greenery. Embark on a culinary journey through Canberra’s eclectic food scene, savouring the myriad flavours offered by local eateries and cafes. Outdoor enthusiasts can pulsate with excitement by exploring the surrounding mountains and national parks and indulging in hiking and wildlife spotting.

Canberra’s cultural facet comes alive with its vibrant events and festivals, allowing you to immerse yourself in the local community. Uncover hidden gems like the National Film and Sound Archive, adding an extra layer to your visit. Whether you’re an art connoisseur, history buff, or nature lover, Canberra’s many attractions ensure an unforgettable experience for every traveller. So, pack your bags and discover the allure of Australia’s capital city, where adventure and culture seamlessly intertwine.

After migrating to Australia, Canberra became my initial home, and I resided in this city for approximately ten months. Being entirely unfamiliar with my surroundings, I approached the city with the curiosity of a tourist rather than adopting the perspective of a resident or a seasoned traveller. Looking back, I regret not delving deeper into the city’s offerings during my initial stay.

Despite my limited exploration at the time, my attachment to Canberra persists. I repeatedly return over the weekends from Sydney, eager to rediscover and explore the places that initially escaped my attention. The city has become a canvas of memories, and each visit unveils new facets and hidden gems that make me appreciate Canberra’s unique charm.

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About Canberra

Situated in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Canberra is the capital city of Australia. Recognized for the vibrant tulip flower festival, Floriade, Canberra boasts a meticulously planned urban landscape. Nestled as an enclave within New South Wales (NSW), the city offers a unique blend of culture and governance.

While Canberra may not exude the same hustle and bustle as Sydney or Melbourne, its distinctive charm and purposeful design make it a captivating destination. Exploring the city typically requires about 3 to 4 days, allowing visitors to absorb its architectural wonders, cultural landmarks, and the natural beauty that defines this Australian capital.

Best Time To Visit Canberra

Optimal periods to explore Canberra are Spring (September to November) and Autumn (March to May) seasons. The climate is delightful during these months, and Canberra transforms into a picturesque spectacle adorned with vibrant foliage during autumn.

Winters, on the other hand, bring cold temperatures to Canberra, averaging between 1 and 12 degrees Celsius. Visiting during the Spring or Autumn ensures a more pleasant and visually enchanting experience in the Australian capital.

How to Get to Canberra?

  • By Air – Regular flights connect Sydney and Melbourne to Canberra, with Qantas and Virgin Australia serving as the primary flight providers for this route.
  • By Road – The quickest and most convenient transportation to reach Canberra is by car. Covering a distance of 280 kilometres, the drive from Sydney to Canberra typically takes approximately 3 hours.

Where to Stay in Canberra?

Optimal accommodation is found in the Central Business District (CBD), where the bus network efficiently connects all routes, converging at the interchange. The lodging options in the CBD cater to a range of budgets, offering choices from economical to luxurious.

Notable 5-star hotels in Canberra CBD include:

  1. Hyatt Hotel Canberra: This iconic hotel combines historic charm with modern luxury, offering opulent rooms, exquisite dining, and impeccable service.
  2. Hotel Realm: Known for its contemporary elegance, Hotel Realm provides sophisticated accommodations, upscale dining options, and spa facilities for a lavish experience.
  3. Burbury Hotel: Connected to the Hotel Realm, Burbury Hotel offers stylish rooms, upscale amenities, and a rooftop terrace with stunning city views.
  4. QT Canberra: A unique blend of art and luxury, QT Canberra features vibrant and stylish decor, upscale rooms, and an eclectic dining experience.
  5. Crowne Plaza Canberra: Situated along the picturesque Lake Burley Griffin, Crowne Plaza offers upscale rooms, modern amenities, and convenient access to the city’s attractions.

The Youth Hostels Association (YHA) Canberra is highly recommended for those seeking budget-friendly stays.

Things To Do in Canberra Australia

While Canberra may not match the size and vibrancy of Sydney and Melbourne, it remains a city brimming with diverse activities to suit all types of travellers. Whether on a tight budget or seeking cost-effective options, Canberra offers numerous things that can be done for free or almost free. This makes exploring the city not only accessible but also budget-friendly, allowing visitors to experience Canberra’s charm without breaking the bank.

Parliament House

The Parliament House in Canberra serves as the meeting place for the Parliament of Australia, featuring an impressive 4,700 rooms. Numerous building sections are accessible to the public, providing an insightful glimpse into the political hub’s inner workings.

Officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1988, the Parliament House is an architectural and political landmark. Visitors can explore this iconic structure without an entrance fee. However, reservations must be made through their website to ensure a guided and informative tour of the significant chambers and public spaces within the Parliament House.

The Parliament House

Australian War Memorial

Established in 1941, the Australian War Memorial is the paramount national tribute dedicated to honouring the individuals who served in the nation’s armed forces and associated organizations. This solemn monument serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by those who contributed to the country’s defence.

The Australian War Memorial entrance is free, emphasizing its role as a public space for remembrance and reflection. However, visitors must register and obtain a valid ticket to access the memorial. The straightforward registration process can be completed on the official website, ensuring a seamless experience for those wishing to pay their respects and explore the rich historical significance encapsulated within the memorial’s walls.

As visitors traverse this hallowed ground, they encounter a powerful narrative that chronicles Australia’s military history, with exhibits, memorials, and artifacts that vividly illustrate the courage and dedication of those who served. The Australian War Memorial stands not only as a physical structure but as a living tribute, fostering a collective understanding and appreciation for war’s profound impact on the nation and its people.

Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC)

A captivating destination for exploration, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) stands out as an intriguing satellite communication station affiliated with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Nestled within the picturesque Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, approximately 35 kilometres from Canberra CBD, the CDSCC offers an immersive experience at the intersection of technology and nature.

Entrance to this space centre is complimentary, providing visitors with an affordable opportunity to delve into the wonders of space communication. As you embark on your journey through the CDSCC, don’t miss the chance to marvel at the exhibit featuring an authentic moon rock. This lunar artifact adds a layer of fascination to the visit, allowing enthusiasts and curious minds to connect with the celestial realm.

The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex promises a unique and educational adventure where the mysteries of space converge with the tranquillity of Tidbinbilla’s natural surroundings.

Telstra Tower

Perched atop Black Mountain in Canberra, the Telstra Tower stands tall at 195.2 meters, a prominent telecommunication structure established in 1973. Offering panoramic city vistas, this tower is a captivating attraction with indoor and outdoor viewing platforms, providing a comprehensive 360-degree outlook.

To experience the breathtaking views from Telstra Tower, visitors can acquire an entry ticket priced at AUD 7.50 per adult. Tickets are conveniently available at the tower’s entrance or can be secured by emailing the designated contact. This nominal fee grants access to a memorable encounter with the cityscape, making the Telstra Tower an enriching destination for those seeking a bird’s-eye perspective of Canberra’s charm and surroundings.

View from Telstra Tower

National Zoo and Aquarium

Established in 1990, the National Zoo and Aquarium is a privately owned wildlife haven within Canberra. Housing a diverse array of animals, reptiles, and birds, the zoo promises an immersive experience that warrants a dedicated 3 to 4 hours to explore all its captivating exhibits.

For those eager to embark on this wildlife adventure, a general entry ticket is priced at AUD 49. Conveniently, tickets can be purchased online through the official website, streamlining the process and ensuring a seamless entry into the fascinating world of the National Zoo and Aquarium.

With its commitment to conservation and education, the zoo allows visitors to connect with nature while supporting the well-being of the diverse species housed within its grounds.

Pat a cheetah - National Zoo and Aquarium at Canberra
National Zoo and Aquarium


Floriade, a renowned flower festival in Canberra, serves as a vibrant celebration of the Spring season. Traditionally taking place between mid-September and mid-October, the festival transforms the city into a floral spectacle.

Admission to witness the stunning array of flowers is free of charge, allowing visitors to enjoy the colourful blooms without any entry fee. However, a separate ticket is required for those interested in attending musical concerts or other events associated with Floriade. This unique festival offers a delightful opportunity to revel in the beauty of blooming flowers, embracing the spirit of Spring in the Australian capital.

Tidbinbilla and Namadgi National Parks

Nestled in nature’s embrace, Tidbinbilla and Namadgi National Parks are picturesque havens, captivating visitors with their natural beauty and many hiking opportunities. Located 40 kilometres from Canberra’s bustling Central Business District (CBD), these parks beckon outdoor enthusiasts to explore their scenic landscapes.

The allure of Tidbinbilla and Namadgi lies in their proximity to the city and the diverse range of one- and multi-day hiking trails they offer. Whether you seek a stroll or a more challenging trek, these national parks cater to various hiking preferences. During my stay in Canberra, I traversed some of these trails, each revealing its unique charm and natural wonders.

One notable trek led me to Square Rock in Namadgi National Park, an experience etched in memory. The journey unfolded against breathtaking vistas, with the rugged terrain and native flora providing a captivating setting. The beauty of Square Rock exemplified the splendour these national parks offer, making every step a discovery and every view a reward. Tidbinbilla and Namadgi National Parks, with their proximity and diverse hiking options, serve as idyllic retreats for those seeking an immersive encounter with Australia’s wilderness, including its native birds.

National Dinosaur Museum

Nestled in the heart of Gold Creek village, the National Dinosaur Museum stands proudly as one of the world’s premier dinosaur museums and Australia’s largest permanent exhibition of prehistoric specimens.

This renowned museum offers an immersive journey into the fascinating world of dinosaurs, showcasing a remarkable collection of ancient artifacts and engaging exhibits. An entry fee of AUD 18 per adult is applicable to embark on this educational adventure. Conveniently, tickets can be purchased in advance through the museum’s official website, streamlining the entry process for eager visitors.

With its dedication to paleontological discovery, the National Dinosaur Museum provides a captivating experience for enthusiasts and curious minds alike. The museum’s extensive collection and commitment to education make it a must-visit destination, offering a glimpse into the extraordinary history of Earth’s ancient inhabitants.

Is Canberra Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

Canberra stands as a secure and tranquil city, and I encountered no noteworthy issues during my time residing there. However, it’s essential to note that as evening descends, the atmosphere transforms, rendering the city quiet and somewhat isolated by 5 PM. While Canberra’s safety remains unwavering, exercising caution and awareness of your surroundings becomes imperative, especially as darkness settles in.

As the daylight wanes, it’s advisable to remain vigilant and acquainted with the environment. Familiarizing yourself with the cityscape and adopting a heightened awareness after sunset contributes to a secure experience. While Canberra’s reputation as a haven persists, it’s always prudent to prioritize personal safety and take necessary precautions.

By embracing a proactive approach to personal security and respecting the city’s rhythm, you can fully appreciate Canberra’s tranquillity and safety. This vibrant city, known for its cultural richness and serene atmosphere, welcomes residents and visitors alike to explore its charm with an awareness that enhances the overall experience.

Closing Notes

While Canberra may not top my list of favourite Australian cities, I recommend visiting the nation’s capital. Canberra has a unique atmosphere, and one can enjoy spending several days exploring the iconic federal government buildings and their surroundings. Though distinct from others in its character, the city offers a captivating experience with its cultural and political significance. Unveil the charm woven into Canberra’s architectural tapestry as you traverse its streets, discovering the nuances that make it a noteworthy destination in Australia.

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8 Things To Do in Canberra Australia (2024)
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    PIN for later reference – Things To Do in Canberra Australia

    PIN for later reference - Things To Do in Canberra Australia
    PIN for later reference – Things To Do in Canberra Australia