A getaway to Canberra

Enjoy a bird eye's view as you fly a hot air balloon in Canberra. PHOTO: VISITCANBERRA
Enjoy a bird eye's view as you fly a hot air balloon in Canberra. PHOTO: VISITCANBERRA

Exciting activities to do in Canberra, the capital city of Australia

A city brimming with unforgettable memories is waiting for you to uncover in Australia’s capital, Canberra.

The planned city sits apart from other major cities in the world, where amazing experiences abound within close proximity, whether you are a foodie, nature-lover, or enjoy a road trip.  

In fact, Lonely Planet’s authors ranked Canberra the third best city to travel to in 2018. This fuss-free sample three-day itinerary strings together the important landmarks and places to see. 

Unforgettable experiences 

Canberra has a multitude of unique experiences that you won’t find anywhere else. 

Canberra Balloon Spectacular
Canberra is one of the few places in the world where you can fly a hot air balloon over the city. PHOTO: VISITCANBERRA

The national capital is one of the few places in the world where you can fly a hot air balloon over the city, and if the winds are favourable, even over Australian Parliament House. Daily rides conducted by Balloon Aloft will have you commence your journey at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra in Yarralumla, before ending the flight with a cosy champagne celebration back at the Hotel. 

Canberra is conveniently located within hours of unique capital, country and coastal experiences. After experiencing the world-class national attractions on offer in Canberra, drive through historic townships as you make your way to the southern coastline and national parks. The Capital Coast and Country touring routes will acquaint you with the region in no time at all.  On the same road trip, take a slight detour to go sailing at Jervis Bay (three hours from the city by car) on an exclusive yacht charter. 

Entering into the Marine Preserve and Booderee National Park, the beaches are filled with fine white sand and the waters are crystal clear, surrounded by tall cliffs. Hire a sailing charter with a professional skipper and catering, then sit back and relax in the peaceful breeze – keep your eyes peeled to spot dolphins and other marine wildlife!

Jervis Bay
Sail on pristine waters at Jervis Bay. PHOTO: VISITCANBERRA 

For a winter experience you won’t forget, learn to ski or snowboard at Corin Forest Recreation Park in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve – Canberra’s snow playground just a 45-minute drive from the city. 

For the foodies

When on holiday, there is nothing more relaxing than to sleep in together, roll out of bed and head to brunch.

In the flourishing cafe scene of Canberra, there is no lack of options. Go for a vegan fruit and nut waffle paired with some coffee at Local Press Cafe or head to Coffee Lab in the centre of Canberra. The latter is an absolutely instagrammable cafe where you can take shots posing in front of beautiful hanging gardens suspended from wooden crates above. 

True coffee connoisseurs should definitely check out the bespoke coffee blends at The Cupping Room as well. 

At night, head out for dinner at Rubicon, a highly-acclaimed fine-dining restaurant with an alfresco setting, complete with fairy lights. Delicious main courses from the restaurant include herb gnocchi and chermoula grilled lamb. 

Restaurants and cafes

Soak in nature vibes

In love with nature? Canberra lives up to its reputation as the bush capital, where nature reserves are in abundance, offering visitors a chance to get up close with wildlife. 

Go on nature walks at the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in the Namadgi National Park, only a 45-minute drive away. You can see native animals in their natural habitats, from grazing kangaroos, an assortment of birds, brush tailed rock wallabies and platypus swimming in the ponds to koalas clinging lazily to the trees at the Eucalypt Forest.  

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is only a 45-minute drive away from the city centre. PHOTO: VISITCANBERRA

For great views over the city, drive 20 minutes down south to Red Hill Nature Reserve. The place is great for trekking, bird-watching and spotting wildlife. If you can’t get enough of the view, book a dinner at fine-dining restaurant Onred for the night or have some coffee at the casual eatery Little Brother while you are there. 

Without venturing far, there are plenty of things to do in Canberra’s city centre too. Go shopping at Lonsdale Street in Braddon — the hipster area in Canberra. Simply stroll along its streets lined with pop-up shops, stylish cafes, restaurants and modern barber shops. You can shop lifestyle goods and apparel at boutiques such as Ori Building Treasure Trove, Assemblage Project, Rebel Muse and AGENCY

Hopscotch in Braddon
Hopscotch bar and grill is located on the popular Lonsdale Street dining strip in Braddon. PHOTO: JEZ-RODRIGUEZ FOR VISITCANBERRA

There are also plenty of things to do near the lovely Lake Burley Griffin in the heart of Canberra. You can do water activities such as sailing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding or fishing. Enjoy a relaxing picnic in the parks nearby or head to a lakeside café for coffee. 

Paddling in Lake Burley Griffin
Paddling in Lake Burley Griffin. PHOTO: VISITCANBERRA 

And if you’re visiting in spring, don’t miss the annual flower festival at Commonwealth Park, Floriade. Happening from Sept 15 to Oct 14 this year, it will feature an extensive display of blooms with sculptures and artistic installations, a spectacular sight to behold. See the garden beds transformed into an illuminated wonderland as Floriade Nightfest happens from Sept 26 to 30. It’s the perfect date location and activity where both of you can forget the world as you stroll through the rows of blooms in a magical atmosphere filled with sparkling lights and sounds. 

Floriade showcases an extensive display of blooms with sculptures and other artistic installations. PHOTO: VISITCANBERRA