Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Canberra in Australia, along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Canberra is the capital of Australia and is home to more than 426,000 people, making it one of Australia’s most populated cities as well. It was established in 1913, the same year as Canberra formally received its name.
As the seat of the Australian government, visitors can find several institutions and museums in the city. Many of them offer free entrance as well as guided tours.
In this article, I’m sharing some of the best places to visit in Canberra that shouldn’t be missed while visiting.
See the home of Australia’s democracy at Parliament House, situated high on Capital Hill. The unusual architecture and striking facade of the building make it an attraction in itself, though there’s plenty more to see and learn when you venture inside.
Watch Question Time, when politicians make big decisions on behalf of the country, view historical documents, explore more on a guided tour, and marvel at an impressive collection of Australian art. After you’re done, grab a bite to eat at the popular Queen’s Terrace Cafe.
Royal Australian Mint
A visit to the Royal Australian Mint offers you the chance to see how Australian coins are produced. Coins in Australia are a marker of the Australian people and where they’ve come from – it’s the Mint’s job to put the icons of Australia into the hands of its people and travelers.
Stand on the Factory viewing platform to see how coins are made, or learn more about the manufacturing process on a free guided tour. You can even mint your very own coin to take home with you as a reminder of your trip to Canberra and the Royal Australian Mint.
National Museum of Australia
The National Museum of Australia, situated on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, brings the stories of Australia to life. Visitors come here to admire the stunning architecture of the museum, as well as to explore the diverse history of the country and Australian residents.
Enjoy a guided tour or make your own way around the exhibits, but be sure to check out Kspace. This new, interactive game for kids encourages them to design a time-traveling robot before taking them back in time to an Australian mystery location.
Housed in the historic Kingston Power House, the Canberra Glassworks provides visitors with an opportunity to see the versatility of glass in a new light. It’s the only glassworks of its kind in all of Australia and gives an insight into Canberra’s vast and varied heritage.
On a self-guided tour of the center, you’ll be able to see professional artists at work, crafting glass into spectacular creations. You can also make your own glass paperweight, take a glass-blowing course, and see fabulous exhibitions of glasswork.
Australian War Memorial
Rated as Trip Advisor’s number 1 attraction in Canberra, the Australian War Museum brings together the stories of those who have served in the war, the history of conflict in Australia, and the country’s humanitarian efforts across the world.
The museum, shrine, and research center combine to present visitors with the personal experiences of those in the military service, both past, and present. See numerous exhibitions, works of art, personal records, and other artifacts that bring these experiences to life.
Mount Ainslie Lookout
There’s no better place to take in postcard-perfect views of Canberra than at Mount Ainslie Lookout. This picturesque viewpoint can be accessed on foot, by bike, or by car, and it’s a hotspot for those looking to capture the perfect photograph.
From your spot at the top of Mount Ainslie, you’ll be able to see panoramic views of Lake Burley Griffin and spot many of Canberra’s landmarks, all surrounded by distant mountain ranges. Stick around till sunset for a truly spectacular experience.
Lake Burley Griffin
At the heart of Canberra lies Lake Burley Griffin, a hive of activity for watersports lovers. The water playground is ideal for rowing, sailing, kayaking, or fishing, plus there’s over 40km of shoreline to cycle, walk, or stop by for a picnic.
If you want to enjoy Lake Burley Griffin in a more leisurely manner, consider taking a cruise aboard a ferry and see the waters from a different perspective. Or perhaps you’d prefer to take in the views from one of the nearby lake-side cafes and restaurants.
National Gallery of Australia
Set on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, the National Gallery of Australia boasts a beautiful collection of renowned exhibitions showcasing art from around the world. Whether you’re an art buff or not, you’re sure to love the amazing works of art on display at the gallery.
Wander around the galleries, taking in the famous Ned Kelly series by Sidney Nolan and the inspiring’ Blue Poles’ collection by the world-class artist Jackson Pollock. There’s also the impressive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gallery, with over 7500 works to discover.
The Jerramomberra Wetlands also referred to as a’ novel ecosystem’ is a place for visitors to feel at one with nature. This unique attraction, created in the 1960s following the damming of the Molonglo River, is a haven of wildlife and wetland plant life.
Birds from across the country call the wetlands home, plus other wildlife like water rats, turtles, and platypus reside here too. Take your binoculars and try your hand at birdwatching; look closely to discover the birds hidden in the trees and along the pathways here.
Australian Institute of Sports Tour
Discover the institute where Australia’s sports champions are created, just a short journey from Canberra city center. On a guided tour, you’ll go behind the scenes of this premier sports precinct and take a look at the life of the country’s leading athletes.
Your tour includes a visit to Sportex, an interactive sports exhibit that allows you to try your hand at wheelchair basketball, football penalty shootouts, and even virtual downhill skiing. It’s an excellent experience for people of all ages and athletic abilities!
Canberra’s Jet Flight Simulator
If you’ve ever dreamed of piloting a plane, or a jet plane to be more specific, then Canberra’s Jet Flight Simulator is a must-visit. This world-class attraction allows you to virtually pilot your own Boeing 737-800NG with the guidance of an experienced instructor.
Choose from over 22,000 airports to depart from and try your hand at navigating all kinds of weather conditions as you take control of the cockpit as the jet’s captain. It’s a fantastic experience for everyone from children to flight-enthusiasts.
Capital Region Farmers’ Market
To really feel immersed in the Canberra community, head to Capital Region Farmers’ Market, the largest regional markets in the Southern Tablelands. Here, over 100 local vendors come together to provide residents and visitors alike with a plethora of fresh produce.
As you make your way around the stalls, chat with the friendly stallholders, and purchase all kinds of treats. From colorful flowers to seasonal vegetables, still-warm honey to delicious homemade condiments, you’re sure to find something tasty here.
Go wine tasting
Canberra is the ideal place to go wine tasting, with over 30 wineries all within a short drive of the city center. Head to one of the boutique cellar doors in the region to meet the vignerons, learn about the winemaking process, and of course, sample delicious wines.
There are a variety of local creations to try, and many types of wine tasting tours to choose from. Perhaps you’d like to indulge in a dining experience with paired wines, or maybe you’d prefer to take a self-guided tour around nearby wineries.
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve offers unrivaled opportunities to get up close and personal with an array of spectacular wildlife, though, with 22 marked walking trails, it’s also a hiker’s paradise.
As you make your way around the reserve, keep a lookout for wallabies, koalas, kangaroos, birds, and reptiles all in a natural setting. Join a guided activity to learn more about Australian plants, wetlands, habitats, Aboriginal culture, and more. If that wasn’t enough, there’s idyllic picnic spots and BBQ areas to enjoy too.
The Truffle Farm
Did you know that Canberra is one of the best truffle hunting destinations in Australia? Well, now, you do! At The Truffle Farm, the only farm of it’s kind in the region, you’ll be able to join truffle hunts and watch truffle dogs sniff out the prized delicacy.
Once you’ve found the perfect truffle, head to the farm’s kitchen to watch as a chef prepares an array of truffle-themed dishes for you, each paired with local wine. If you feel inspired, you can purchase your own truffle and try re-creating the tasty meals at home.
Interesting facts about Canberra, Australia
- There is a NASA base in Canberra – Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex.
- Canberra is the largest inland city in Australia.
- The city was proclaimed as the new capital of Australia on 12 March 1913.
- Some of the other names for the new capital city that were nominated included Gonebroke, Sydmelperadbrisho, and Kangaremu.
Want more recommendations on things to do in Canberra, Australia? Leave a comment below!