Learn about Australia’s culture, history and way of life in our nation’s capital. Explore our political past and modern democracy at the Museum of Australian Democracy and Parliament House. Find out more about our sporting heroes at the National Institute of Sport and Science and experience an earthquake at Questacon. Once you’ve exhausted the monuments and galleries, get into the great outdoors. This culturally-rich capital is famous for its lake, parklands and native bushland surrounds. Beneath the foliage, Canberra offers stylish restaurants, hip bars, boutique shopping and a non-stop calendar of festivals and events.
Capital attractions: visit national attractions to modern Australia
Delve into Australia’s political past at the Museum of Australian Democracy and watch Australian politicians debate current issues at Parliament House. Discover Australia through the eyes of our artists at the National Gallery of Australia. For interactive, family-friendly fun, don’t miss the National Museum of Australia and Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre. You can learn about our military history at the Australian War Memorial or the secrets of green-and-gold sporting success at the Australian Institute of Sport. Pore over records, photos and stories at the National Library and check out Australia’s first constitution at the National Archives.
Fantastic festivals: from hot-air balloons to hotted-up cars
Start your year with the smell of burning rubber at January’s Summernats car show. Or celebrate Australia Day with two non-stop days of entertainment, including a cricket match and live music in the grounds of Parliament House. Join the Australian Prime Minister and Governor General for the Anzac Day dawn service at the Australian War Memorial. In autumn, Canberra’s skies fill with hot air balloons for the Canberra Balloon Fiesta. In winter you can warm yur heart and fill your stomach at the Fireside Festival in the Canberra countryside. In spring, Canberra’s parks come alive with the colour and scents of Floriade, Australia’s largest floral festival.
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Sports galore: to watch or play
Test out the world-class mountain biking trails at Mount Stromlo or in Brindabell Nature Park, nestled in the Australian Alps. Nearby Namadgi National Park is great for rock climbing, hiking and horse riding, as is the inner-city bushland of Canberra Nature Park. Meet elite athletes and test your skills at virtual rowing, wheelchair basketball and football at the Australian Institute of Sport. Watch rugby league and rugby union at Canberra Stadium or catch a cricket or Aussie rules game at the historic Manuka Oval. For rev heads there’s the Rally of Canberra and the Summernats Car Festival, which combines racing events with a showcase of customised street machines.
Namadgi: a national park of riches
Follow the Yerrabi Walking Track into the rugged Bimberi wilderness, home to some of the least disturbed eco-systems in the Australian Alps. Or explore forests of snow gum and alpine ash on the Square Rock walking track. Four wheel to the top of Mt Coree, fish from trout-filled streams and cross-country ski the winter slopes. See kangaroos, wallabies and northern corroboree frogs and explore snow-gum woodlands, wetlands and wildflower-cloaked plains. See the campsites, ceremonial stone arrangements and rock art sites left by the Ngunawal people thousands of years ago. Then trace the trail of pastoralists and gold hunters and see the memorial to the Apollo space tracking station at Honeysuckle Creek.
Food and wine: on the Poachers Trail
Follow the Poachers Way to some of the 140 vineyards and 33 wineries dotting the tranquil countryside around Canberra. Take a gumboot tour through the vineyards and learn about the factors that shape the region’s diverse styles – from sangiovese to riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir and shiraz. Stop in at a farm for cheeses, oils, chutneys, jams, wood smoked meats and homemade wine. Or team a bottle of last year’s vintage with a wood-fired pizza at a winery. Visit local studios and galleries showcasing handmade art, glassware and pottery. At the end of the day, stay in a boutique bed and breakfast, historic homestead or a luxurious country retreat.