Where to go in Canberra

From world-renowned galleries and museums to snow-laden adventures in the Snowy Mountains, there’s much more to Canberra than you might think.

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Whether you want to dive into the nation’s history or you’re looking for an active weekend away, Canberra offers a little something for everyone.

It's packed full of national monuments, museums and galleries built around a large and beautiful lake. Canberra’s also a great place to enjoy the outdoors, with excellent bushwalking, cycling, gardens, parks and nature reserves.

Best places to visit in Canberra

1. Lake Burley Griffin

The centrepiece of Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin, is an ideal water playground. You can come here to bike or stroll along the waterfront paths, fish, paddle or sail the sparkling waters and picnic along the parks.

Many of the city's top tourist attractions lie along its shores, and it's also the home of annual festivals such as Floriade.

  • Best for: The history buff
  • How to get there: This is the hub for the action in Canberra so you can easily get around on foot, by bus or even bike.
  • Top five things to see/do: Questacon, National Portrait Gallery, Parliament House of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Old Parliament House
  • How long do I need? Full day.
  • Recommended tour: Canberra's Capital City Landmarks tour covers all the top landmarks while allowing you to take in the beauty of Lake Burley Griffin.

2. Snowy Mountains

Around two hours south of Canberra, Australia's high country is home to dramatic peaks, sparkling mountain streams and a slew of natural attractions for any outdoors enthusiast.

Rising to a height of 2,228 meters, the mountains are popular year-round. In the summer try your hand at hiking, water sports, horseback riding and fishing. In the winter, skiers take over its resorts.

  • Best for: The active traveller
  • How to get there: We suggest hiring a car to easily get around the area but you can also access the Snowy Mountains by coach or train.
  • Top five things to see/do: Explore and hike Mount Kosciuszko National Park, visit the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre, river sled at Lake Crackenback, go horseback riding, conquer the slopes at Thredbo or Perisher
  • How long do I need? Weekend
  • Recommended tour: Enjoy the thrill of horseback riding on this full day horse ride tour taking you through some of the most diverse and rugged mountain terrain.

3. Molonglo Valley

This district on the west of Lake Burley Griffin is surrounded by nature reserves, large, modern parks and the popular National Zoo and Aquarium where you can have some up-close animal encounters.

  • Best for: Nature lovers
  • How to get there: Driving is the easiest way to get around the region but you can also get there by public transport.
  • Top five things to see/do: National Arboretum, Cotter Reserve, Royal Australian Mint, National Zoo and Aquarium, Mount Stromlo Observatory
  • How long do I need? Full day
  • Recommended tour: A two-hour behind-the-scenes tour at the National Zoo offers you the opportunity to feed a variety of animals and experience a slew of rare and close-up encounters.

4. Canberra Central

The hustle and bustle of this compact centre packs a punch for sightseeing and experiencing the trendy growth of Canberra.

If you’re keen for some retail therapy during the day or dancing until sunrise then this is where you should base yourself.

  • Best for: The all-rounder
  • How to get there: Canberra Central is found at the north of the lake and is easy to get by foot, bike or public transport, depending on where you're coming from.
  • Top five things to see/do: National Museum of Australia, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Botanic Gardens, National Capital Exhibition, Mount Ainslie Lookout
  • How long do I need? Weekend
  • Recommended tour: View all of Canberra's top attractions floating gently over the city with a hot air balloon experience.

5. Belconnen

Canberra's great city of the north-west offers an insight into Canberra’s suburban life with some fun attractions surrounding the city.

  • Best for: The off-the-beaten-track traveller
  • How to get there: Located northwest of the lake, Belconnen is easily accessed by public transport.
  • Top five things to see/do: Australian Institute of Sport, Black Mountain Tower, Belconnen Arts Centre, Lake Ginninderra, National Bonsai and Penjing Collection
  • How long do I need? Half day
  • Recommended tour: Go behind the scenes at Australia’s premier elite sporting precinct on a comprehensive 90-minute tour through the world-class facilities to see where Australia’s top athletes train.

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