Canberra is a great destination for a family holiday.
The national capital has a wide variety of kid-friendly activities that are within easy reach. Your little ones will love getting up close and personal with wildlife, running freely in the many parks and playgrounds, exploring space, and going for exciting events and activities.
What’s more, it has been ranked the third best city to travel to in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018. While it may have been ‘criminally overlooked’ in the past, the capital city of Australia offers a wide variety of experiences from getting close to wildlife, world-class wining and dining to iconic museums.
Simply pick and choose to create the ultimate Canberra bucket list for you and your family.
Your children will go “wow”
If you have any animal-lovers in the family, the Jamala Wildlife Lodge is a must-go. Staying at one of the six Giraffe Treehouses, guests will be able to get up close and personal with the long-necked creatures from a private balcony. Children can also pet deer and alpacas at the common courtyard.
Then, let the kiddos go on a parent-free tour to explore the National Zoo and Aquarium after closing hours to visit reptiles, animals, fish and other wildlife in an intimate setting. Meanwhile, parents can have some quiet couple time dining and enjoying sips of wine next to lions.
Do note that the lodge is welcome for children above six but age restrictions for certain room types apply.
If you’re excited about meeting native Australian animals, visit the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve where you can find kangaroos, emus, wombats, and platypuses out in their natural habitats as well as koalas in the Eucalyptus Forest.
In spring and summer, head to Corin Forest in the Tidbinbilla Mountain Ranges for spectacular views over Canberra. Namadgi National Park and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve right next door offer exhilarating activities such as an 1.2km alpine slide through the forest.
Square Rock, Gibraltar Falls and Tidbinbilla within the vicinity make for a fulfilling day trip where you can have a barbecue or a picnic.
Back in the city, don’t miss going to Questacon at The National Science and Technology Centre. Children will love learning through play here as they feel the force of an earthquake, learn about lightning and explore the universe through interactive exhibits. Aside from the Mini Q zone that caters to kids from three to six, there is also a baby space.
Another amazing family activity to do is to visit Floriade, an annual floral event held at Commonwealth Park from Sept 15 to October 14. Have fun figuring out the inspiration behind each design or go on the ferris wheel to get an aerial view of the displays, over the city and Lake Burley Griffin. There will also be entertainers on stilts and bubble performers in larger-than-life costumes.
At the Floriade Nightfest happening from September 26 to 30 at the same place, sparkling lights and sounds will create a magical atmosphere that will leave both adults and children alike in pure wonder.
Entertainment and indulgence for parents
It need not be all about the children. With over 30 boutique cellar doors in Canberra’s premium wine growing region, parents can get to kick back and relax guilt-free while sampling a local Shiraz Viognier or Riesling.
Simply choose an appropriate winery to ensure that your children don’t get bored. The award-winning Clonakilla, most renowned for its Shiraz Viognier, opens daily and provides books, colouring activities and a kids’ food box. Contentious Character is a contemporary vineyard estate in the Canberra wine estate that opens each weekend. The children can draw or play chess while you sample a Pinot Noir or a Riesling.
If you’re looking to get souvenirs for colleagues and family, schedule time to go to the Old Bus Depot Markets (only open on Sundays). The former transport depot building is cleverly converted to a bazaar space with a lot of character. Shop knick-knacks, lifestyle goods, organic produce and sample treats here.