City Guide to Canberra, Australia

Author: | Last Updated: 30 Jun 2019

Canberra. Australia’s capital city. Part way between the more famous Sydney and Melbourne, this city is the compromise the nation chose at federation in 1901. One of the few large cities, not located on the coast, Canberra

Best time to visit Canberra

One of Australia’s coldest cities, Canberra still reaches temperatures of 26-29 degrees in Summer, but Winter can get cold with daytime temperatures of 10-12 degrees and overnight lows of 0 degrees. Rainfall is relatively all year round however, so if you like moderate temperatures then March/April or October/November are the best months to visit.

Lake Burley Griffin

In the centre of the country’s capital is a man-made lake that is the pride and joy of the city. Divided into 3 sections, you can choose to do the central loop (5 kms) the Western loop (16 kms) or the Eastern loop (9 kms). All of the walks are flat and you can rent bicycles if you prefer this to walking. With plenty of coffee shops along the way, and green parklands to enjoy this is a lovely way to enjoy the city. There are also a host of other activities you can do – from fishing, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, rowing and of course there are some lovely spots to enjoy a picnic and an afternoon swim, making this a pace everyone can enjoy.

War Memorial

A must see in Australia’s capital city, this is a beautiful memorial for the people in the armed forces and supporting organisations that have given their lives to help protect the Australian way of life. Voted by thousands as the number 1 landmark in Australia, this brings the history of Australian conflict to life, sharing many individual stories and making tribute to those who helped keep Australia the free and democratic nation that we enjoy today. Whether you’re a history buff or just a visitor to Australia, this should be on your list.

The Mint

See where Australia’s coins are made! Located in the heart of Canberra, the Mint is a popular landmark and open for visitors every day. Learn about the history of each of the Australian coins, view the collection of historical coins and see how the money is made. You can even make your very own Australian coin, this is fun for the whole family.

Parliament House

Australia’s Parliament House is open 364 days a year and open to the public except on weekends.  Learn about how democracy works and even see it in action. You can watch bills debated, participate in question time and sit in on committee inquiries.

National Gallery of Australia

One of the largest art galleries in Australia and home to over 166,000 pieces of art, this is a must see for anyone interested in art. On the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, the NGA offers a unique space to enjoy some of Australia’s best art and the largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in the world. Also housing travelling exhibitions from around the world, this gallery offers world class art and a great day out.

CSIRO Discovery Centre

CSIRO – Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. An independent federal research organisation, the CSIRO has been working to improve the lives of Australians since 1916. The discovery centre offers an interactive journey through the history of Australian science and research. Ecology, robots, forensics, DNA and much more, the CSIRO discovery centre has something for everyone to learn and enjoy.

National Zoo and Aquarium

Located in Yarralumla on the eastern end of Lake Burleigh Griffin, the National Zoo and Aquarium is 19 hectares of privately owned land and is a great place to get to know some unique Australian wildlife. Australia’s only zoo and aquarium, this is a place you can see everything at once. With a huge collection of both Australian locals and other exotic animals the zoo offers a multitude of “up close and personal” tours which as the name suggests allows you to get up close and personal with some of the magnificent animals living there. The aquarium also houses over 30 species and has a 1. million litre aquarium with underwater viewing tunnel. The first of it’s kind, the tunnel allows you brilliant access to see these marine animals from a totally unique angle.

Old Bus Depot Markets

The old bus depot markets are a favourite in Canberra, and have a blend of arts, crafts, clothing and vintage stalls as well as some great food. Open every Sunday, you could spend hours here enjoying fresh deli products, homemade breads, mulled wine and cheeses while you ponder which souvenirs to take home with you.

Wineries

Perhaps a lesser known feature of Australia’s capital is that the cooler climate and fertile land lends itself to growing some great grapes. As a result, there is a small but growing wine community here. With over 140 wineries and 30 cellar doors, there are some great wines coming from this region now: Sangiovese, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling dominate the list but Merlot and Shiraz are made here too.

Thredbo

Just 2.5 hours south of Canberra, Thredbo is a small village in the Snowy mountains, in the Kosciuszko national park. A great place to ski in winter, and popular with dirt bikers and hikers in Summer, there is plenty to keep you busy here. Hike to the top of Mt Kosciuszko and enjoy feeling on top of the world, or spend hours skiing down every slope you can find, either way the pace of life is different here and even after just a few days you will feel fresh and reinvigorated.

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