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 exclusive

Get $10 off activities with code

Available on experiences across Australia including Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart, Sunshine Coast and more. Minimum spend of $300 required. Activities include hot air balloon flights, hop-on hop-off bus tours, whale watching cruises, skydives, high teas, quad biking experiences and more. T&Cs apply.
Code exclusive

Get $5 off activities with code

Available on experiences across Australia including Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, Hobart and more. Minimum spend of $250 required. Activities include hot air balloon flights, hop-on hop-off bus tours, whale watching cruises, skydives, high teas, quad biking experiences and more. T&Cs apply.
Code exclusive

Get 12% off Australia tours and experiences

Expires 31 Dec 2021
Available on select travel dates on activities such as sightseeing tours, Vivid Sydney cruises, jet boat rides, hot air balloon flights, wine tours and more. Destinations include Sydney, Cairns, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Darwin and more. T&Cs apply.
Code exclusive

$15 off all Australian activities with code

Available on select travel dates when you spend a minimum of $100. Activities include hot air balloon flights, tandem skydives and attraction passes. Destinations include Sydney, Gold Coast, Cairns, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart and more. Exclusive for new members. T&Cs apply.
Code

$30 off 15,000ft tandem skydives with code

Expires 31 Aug 2021
Available on weekday jumps until 31 August 2021. Destination includes Cairns and more. T&Cs apply.
Code

$60 off tandem skydives with code

Expires 29 Oct 2021
Available on weekday jumps until 29 October 2021. Destinations include Byron Bay and Great Ocean Road. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 40% off things to do in Australia

Available on select travel dates on select activities including hot air balloon flights, skydives, sightseeing cruises, whale watching cruises and dining experiences. Destinations include Sydney, Cairns, Perth, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Brisbane and more.
Deal

Up to 50% off Australia experiences

Available on select travel dates for activities including skydiving, hot air balloon flights, quad biking, scuba diving, whale watching, bridge climbing, high tea and more. Destinations include Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Melbourne and more.
Code

Up to 10% off Australia experiences with code

Available on activities including hot air balloon flights, helicopter scenic flights and luxury car hire. Must purchase two or more vouchers. Destinations include Gold Coast, Whitsundays, Cairns, Melbourne 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 42% off activities for kids

Available on select dates, including school holidays, for activities like sandboarding, whale watching, jet boat rides, indoor skydiving, swimming, go karting, sightseeing tours and much more. Destinations include Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Canberra and more.
Deal

Up to 15% off local activities

Available on select travel dates on activities including day tours, skydiving, hot air balloon flights, transfers, quad biking, attraction passes and cruise. Destinations include in Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Cairns, Canberra, Brisbane, Hobart and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 69% 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

Croc Express to Australia Zoo from Brisbane from $92

Verified 2 days ago Expires 3 Aug 2021
Available from July 2021 - March 2022. Includes hotel pick up and drop off and Australia Zoo entry.
Code

Get 5% off Australia activities with code

Verified 2 days ago Expires 31 Jul 2021
Available on activities including skydiving, hot air ballooning, whale watching, rally driving, quad biking and more. Minimum spend of $300 required. Destinations include Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney, Adelaide and more. T&Cs apply.
Code

Get 10% off Australia activities with code

Verified 2 days ago Expires 31 Jul 2021
Available on activities including skydiving, hot air ballooning, whale watching, rally driving, quad biking and more. Minimum spend of $350 required. Destinations include Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney, Adelaide and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Cairns: Up to 22% off skydive and bungy jump combo

Expires 29 Jul 2021
Available from July - September 2021 for a full-day adventure. Includes return transfers from Cairns and Northern Beaches hotels.
Deal

Up to 20% off 3-day Fraser Island adventure

Expires 29 Jul 2021
Available from July - December 2021. Includes return ferry transfer, meals, camping equipment and more.
Deal

Get 5% off Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail experience

Expires 29 Jul 2021
Available for travel until December 2021. Includes return accommodation transfers from Cairns and more.
Deal

Up to 23% off skydiving experience in Cairns

Expires 29 Jul 2021
Available on select dates until 31 October 2021.
Deal

Up to 30% off Melbourne food and wine tour

Expires 29 Jul 2021
Available on select dates until December 2021 for a full day experience. Includes gondola ride, afternoon tea and sailing trip and more.
Deal

Up to $50 off Airlie Beach skydives

Expires 29 Oct 2021
Available until 29 October 2021 on 15,000ft jumps. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to $50 off Noosa midweek skydives

Expires 29 Oct 2021
Available on jumps until 29 October 2021. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to $50 off Sydney skydives

Expires 29 Oct 2021
Available from Mondays to Fridays until 29 October 2021 on 15,000ft jumps. T&Cs apply.
Code

Up to $60 off Byron Bay skydives

Expires 29 Oct 2021
Available from Mondays - Fridays until 29 October 2021 when you use the code. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to $50 off Melbourne midweek skydives

Expires 29 Oct 2021
Available until 29 October 2021 on 15,000ft jumps. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to $50 off Cairns midweek skydives

Expires 29 Oct 2021
Available on 15,000ft jumps until 29 October 2021. T&Cs apply.
Code

Up to $50 off Newcastle weekend skydives

Expires 29 Oct 2021
Available on Tuesdays to Thursdays until 29 October 2021 when you use the code. T&Cs apply.
Code

Get $60 off Great Ocean Road midweek skydives

Expires 29 Oct 2021
Available 29 October 2021 when you use the code. Includes $20 merchandise voucher. T&Cs apply.
Code

Up to 60% off Australia activities + extra $10 off with code

Expires 31 Aug 2021
Available until 2022 on activities including hot air balloon flights, whale watching cruises, jet boat rides, getaways, driving experiences, online classes and more. Destinations include Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sydney and more. Minimum spend of $300 required. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Get $10 off your next purchase

Join the RedBalloon newsletter for $10 off your next order on select locations across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Gold Coast, Cairn and more. Activities include skydives, hot air balloon flights, sightseeing cruises and more. Minimum spend of $49. Valid for new members. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Australia whale watching experiences from $89

Expires 31 Jul 2021
Available on select dates until October 2021. Destinations include Sydney, Byron Bay and Gold Coast.
Deal

Up to 50% off Canberra experiences

Available on select travel dates. Activities include hot air balloon flights, rafting tours and more.
Deal

Up to 20% off Canberra experiences and activities

Available on select travel dates and on select activities including hot air balloon flights and attraction passes. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 15% off Australia activities

Sign up your email address and unlock Sneaky Saver deals. Activities includes day tours, attraction passes, hop-on hop-off bus tours, whale watching and more. Destinations include Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

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

Available on select dates until 2021 across Australia and New Zealand when you purchase 2+ tours. T&Cs apply.
Code

Up to 24% off Australia experiences for 2

Expires 31 Dec 2021
Plus an extra $5 off with code on select dates when you buy 2 or more vouchers. Experiences include tours, zoo and wildlife interactions, hot air balloon flights, skydives, high teas, bike tours and more. Destinations include Sydney, Hunter Valley, Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart, Canberra and more. T&Cs apply.
Code

Things to do in Canberra from $15 + an extra $5 off with code

Available on select dates when you buy 2 or more vouchers. Activities include tandem skydives, dinning experiences, overnight getaways, spa treatments, wine tastings and much more. 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

Extra $5 off Australia high tea experiences

Expires 31 Dec 2021
Available on select dates when you buy 2 or more vouchers. Destinations include Melbourne, Broome, Sydney, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Adelaide and more. T&Cs apply.

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