12 things to do in Canberra and events to enjoy

The best activities to enjoy in Canberra during your upcoming holiday.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

Canberra is the centre of Australian politics and an ideal city for museum hopping. It is also home to several cultural institutions, many of which you can visit for free.

It is easy to get around Canberra as most major attractions are within walking distance from each other.

If the journey is longer, you can take a bus or taxi without worrying too much about the price, since the rates are affordable. Visit Parliament House where Australian politicians address the most important issues. Approximately 20% of Parliament House is open to the public and it is even possible to attend a plenary and watch the politicians in action from the galleries.

Join a guided tour of the Old Parliament building or visit the museum to learn about the most important events in the country's political and cultural history.

Due to its size, it’s popular for people visiting Sydney to go on day trips or day-tours to Canberra.

Here are our top picks for the top places to visit in Canberra.


Top 12 things to do

1. Have a close encounter at the National Zoo and Aquarium

The National Zoo and Aquarium is the only zoo of its kind in Australia that also houses an aquarium. This zoo is making impressive efforts to conserve several endangered animals, including the king cheetah.

Other animals at the Canberra National Zoo and Aquarium include pumas, lions and bears as well as Sumatran and Bengal tigers.

Pocket-friendly option:

The ultimate experience:


2. Go museum hopping

If there’s one thing that’ll keep the whole party entertained, it’s the sheer number of museums available to explore.

The National Gallery of Australia (pictured) is the largest art museum in the city, boasting more than 160,000 works, including a comprehensive collection of Aboriginal art.

Questacon is a kid’s delight, offering interactive scientific models and displays for young and old.

The National Museum of Australia houses thousands of objects on Australia’s history and culture, ranging from our Aboriginal and gold mining days to immigration.

Our top pick:

Canberra's Capital City Landmarks - Full Day Tour

Canberra's Capital City Landmarks - Full Day Tour from RedBalloon

View details

3. Pay your respects at the Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial is the place where the country pays tribute to the Australian soldiers who died in combat around the world. Construction was completed in 1941 and the memorial plays a vital role in commemorate days, particular ANZAC Day.

The complex houses a museum with exhibits that showcase Australian military weapons and artefacts. You can join the 90-minute free guided tour that highlights the most outstanding features of the monument.


4. See where the magic happens in Parliament House

Parliament House is located in the heart of the city and is spread across 25 hectares. Admire the grandeur of the building as you walk through the courtyard, gaze on the 220-tonne mast flying an equally impressive Australian flag and enjoy views of the city and Lake Burley Griffin.

Inside, are historic artefacts including one of the world’s largest tapestries. Join a free guided tour to learn all the details of the building and its history or visit the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Politics lovers can sit in public galleries and attend a questioning session between members of parliament and ministers.

Our top pick:


5. Connect with nature at the Australian National Botanic Gardens

The Botanic Gardens are located on the foot of the Black Mountain and is where you will discover the largest collection of native flora in the country.

Although these gardens are beautiful places for a picnic at any time of year, they spring to life during the summer when you can also enjoy jazz concerts on weekend evenings.

Our top pick:

Australian National Botanic Gardens

Australian National Botanic Gardens from Expedia.com.au

View details

6. See Canberra from above with a helicopter ride or walk up Telstra Tower

With its mountainous surrounds, nearby wineries and farms and serene lake, Canberra looks immaculate from above. Hot air balloon rides depart daily, but if you’re feeling like a hike, an attractive alternative is to leg it to Telstra Tower.

This iconic landmark houses the telecommunication company, Telstra's facilities, and is also known by its former nickname, "Black Mountain Tower". The needle has a height of 195 metres and its position on the Black Mountain lets you to enjoy views of the parks and gardens and Burley Griffin Lake.

On floors reserved for visitors, you can enjoy 360-degree views of Canberra. Look for a mailbox near the top; it is the highest mailbox in the whole city.


7. Souvenir shop at the Old Bus Depot markets

Take a break from the museums, galleries and government buildings to discover the trendy side of Canberra. The markets of the Old Bus Depot, which are on every Sunday from 10am to 4pm, attract foodies, handicraft aficionados and unique clothing collectors.

You will find a multitude of items to peruse and purchase, ranging from organic products to trendy clothes and home decor items.

Our top pick:


8. Smell the flowers at the spectacular Canberra Floriade

Held annually, Floriade is Canberra's spring garden and flower festival. It started in 2005 and is now the largest flower festival in the southern hemisphere. The event features 48,000 trees and over a million planted bulbs. This is not just a plant festival but is also an event marked by night markets, music concerts and workshops.

The best thing about Floriade is that it is free and attracts huge crowds, making it the most popular tourist event in Canberra.


9. Sail, row or kayak Lake Burley Griffin

Discover Lake Burley Griffin, the go-to place in Canberra for a variety of water activities including sailing, rowing, kayaking, fishing and windsurfing.

If water sports aren't your thing, you can hire a bike and cycle the 40-kilometre perimeter of the lake instead. Alternatively, you can book a ferry or cruise on the lake or take a seat in one of many lakeside restaurants and cafes and relish the views.

Our top pick:


10. Take in the sunset Mount Ainslie

If you're after a bit of a hike, you can't look past Mount Ainslie. Take in the views of the city with the option to walk, cycle or drive up to the top.

Need an impressive yet relaxed date idea? We recommend heading up in the late afternoon to catch the sunset.


11. Have a BBQ at Pina Island Reserve

Bask in that beautiful Canberra sun with a BBQ down at the Pina Island Reserve. The whole family can enjoy a day in the Murrumbidgee river, with kid-friendly water no one misses out.

Bring along your best sausage sizzles, bread rolls and tomato sauce (or barbecue) and fire up one of the BBQs' for a family picnic. Enjoy a walk riverside and take in the fresh air.


12. Have some fun at Questacon, National Science and Technology Centre

For a day of fun for the kids (and you parents and caregivers) when you're down in Canberra, you can't look past Questacon.

The National Science and Technology Centre hosts a multitude of events and activities that combine excitement and learning. From science experiments to engineering and technology, there's something for every age group.

Our top pick:


Canberra deals

Code

Up to 48% off Australia experiences + an extra 10% off with code

Available on activities including skydives, whale watching cruises, day tours, getaways and more. Must purchase 2 or more vouchers. Destinations include Gold Coast, Cairns, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 25% off activities and experiences

Verified Today Expires 31 Jan 2022
Available from 26 January – 30 August 2022, including Australia Day. Attractions include Madame Tussauds Sydney, Australia Zoo, Sydney Opera House and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 50% off Australia experiences

Verified 5 days ago
Available on select dates, including Christmas and New Year, for activities such as skydiving, hot air balloon flights, bridge climbing, high teas and more. Destinations include Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Melbourne and more.
Deal

Up to 60% off Australia sightseeing tours

Available on select travel dates in 2022. Destinations include Hunter Valley, Barossa Valley, Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and more.
Code

Up to $20 off skydiving with code

Get $20 off per person when you book for 4 or more. Destinations include Sydney, Byron Bay, Newcastle, Cairns, Brisbane and more.
Code

Up to $40 off skydiving with code

Get $40 off per person when you book for 8 or more. Destinations include Sydney, Byron Bay, Newcastle, Cairns, Brisbane and more.
Code

Up to 10% off Queensland skydives

Expires 16 Jun 2022
Available on jumps until June 2022 when you use the code. Destinations include Cairns and Mission Beach. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Get $25 off NSW skydives

Expires 30 Jun 2022
Available until 30 June 2022 when you use your Dine and Discover vouchers. Destinations include Wollongong, Byron Bay and Newcastle. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 42% off activities for kids

Available on select dates for activities like whale watching, go karting, sightseeing tours, attraction passes and more. Destinations include Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Canberra and more.
Code exclusive

Get 10% off Australia activities and experiences

Expires 31 Jul 2022
Available on select dates, including Christmas and New Year's Eve, and activities including V8 racing, tandem skydives, scenic helicopter flights and jet boat rides. Destinations include Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne, Brisbane and more. Minimum spend of $350 required. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Australia skydives from $219 + free $20 merchandise voucher

Available on jumps from 7,500 ft to 15,000 ft. Destinations include Sydney, Hunter Valley, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 60% off activities, experiences and things to do

Available on select dates including holidays like Christmas, New Year's and more depending on the destination when you subscribe to Klook's newsletter. Destinations include Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Dubai, Australia, London, USA and more.
Deal

Up to 70% on local deals

Shop for dining experiences, attractions and more for up to 70% off. Destinations include Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, Adelaide and more.
Deal

Up to 43% off things to do in Australia

Available on select travel dates across Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast and more. Activities include day tours, zoo and animal interactions, tandem skydives, hot air balloon flights, jet boat rides and more.
Deal

Up to 40% off things to do in Australia

Available on select dates and activities including hot air ballooning, skydiving, sightseeing cruises, whale watching cruises and dining. Destinations include Sydney, Cairns, Perth, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Brisbane and more.
Deal

Up to 15% off local activities

Available on select dates on activities including day tours, skydiving, hot air ballooning, attraction passes and cruises. Destinations include in Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Cairns, Canberra, Brisbane, Hobart and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 60% off activities, experiences and things to do

Valid on select dates including holidays like Christmas, New Year's and more depending on the destination. Destinations include Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Dubai, Australia, London, USA and more. T&Cs apply.
Code

Up to $10 off Canberra hot air balloon flight experiences

Available on select travel dates when you spend a minimum of $300. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 30% off Australian National Maritime Museum tickets

Verified Yesterday Expires 7 Feb 2022
Available from 24 January – 3 March 2022 in Sydney.
Code exclusive

$15 off all Australian activities with code

Verified 5 days ago
Available on select dates when you spend a minimum of $100. Activities include hot air balloon flights, skydives and attraction passes. Destinations include Sydney, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Brisbane and more. Exclusive for new members. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Sydney Tower Eye Observation Deck entry ticket from $18

Expires 16 Feb 2022
Available on select dates from 3 February – 31 March 2022. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Melbourne Zoo entry from $40

Expires 1 Feb 2022
Available for travel at 24 July 2022. Includes sightseeing of penguins, seals, elephants and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Melbourne Skydeck entrance tickets from $28

Expires 2 Feb 2022
Available on Wednesdays to Saturdays from 12 January – 31 March 2022.
Deal

Taronga Zoo Sydney experience from $25

Expires 31 Jan 2022
Valid for travel on select dates. Includes sightseeing to over 350 animal species inhabiting the zoo and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Sydney: $10 off round-trip in Rocket Ferry, Taronga Zoo and Sky Safari

Expires 31 Jan 2022
Valid for travel on select dates. Includes round-trip transfers in Circular Quay, Watsons Bay, or Darling Harbor with rocket ferry from Captain Cook. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 49% off Sydney Taronga Zoo entry tickets

Expires 31 Jan 2022
Available from 5 January – 31 May 2022 when you use your Dine & Discover vouchers. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 39% off Sydney attraction pass combo

Expires 31 Jan 2022
Available until April 2022 on 2, 3 or 4 passes to SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, Sydney Tower Eye and WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo.
Deal

$90: Croc Express to Australia Zoo from Brisbane

Expires 28 Feb 2022
Available on select dates until March 2022. Includes Australia Zoo entry ticket and more.
Deal

Brisbane: Australia Zoo admission tickets from $35

Expires 14 Feb 2022
Vouchers valid up to 6 months from date of purchase. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 2.5% off holiday bookings + Extra 10% off day tours

Available on select dates until 2023 across Australia and New Zealand when you purchase 2+ tours. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 60% off things to do in Sydney

Available on activities until December 2022 including hop-on hop-off tours, wine tours, sightseeing cruises, zoo and animal interactions, hot air balloon flights, jet boat rides and more.
Deal

Extra $25 off Sydney tandem skydives

Expires 28 Feb 2022
Available on select travel dates when you use your NSW Discover voucher. Plus receive a $20 merchandise voucher. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Great Ocean Road tandem skydives from $369

Available on select dates for an up to 15,000ft jump. Includes a $20 merchandise voucher.
Code

Get 5% off Australia activities

Available on activities including skydives, jet ski rides, whale watching cruises, day tours, rally driving, scenic helicopter flights and more. Minimum spend of $300 required. Destinations include Cairns, Sydney, Adelaide and more. T&Cs apply.
Code exclusive

Get 5% off Australia-wide experiences with code

Expires 31 Jul 2022
Available on activities including V8 racing, hot air balloon rides, kayak tours, skydives and more. Destinations include Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart and more. Minimum spend of $300 required. T&Cs apply.
Code

Extra $5 off Australia family holidays with code

Available on select travel dates when you buy 2 or more vouchers. Destinations include Gold Coast, Whitsundays, Perth, Noosa, Blue Mountains and more. T&Cs apply.
Code

Get $50 off Byron Bay skydive solo learning course

Expires 31 Jan 2022
Available until 30 September 2022 when you use the code. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Australian Open 2022 tickets from $49

Expires 29 Jan 2022
Available for 17-30 January 2022 at Melbourne Park. Sample price is for 1 adult collector ticket.
Deal

Up to 10% off things to do in Christchurch

Available on select dates and experiences including attraction passes, scenic helicopter flights, hot air balloon flights and more.
Deal

Get tickets to concerts, sport and theatre online

Buy tickets online to events around Australia.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site