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Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Guide to Canberra

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  • Getting to Canberra
  • When to visit
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Find a mix of history, art and the outdoors in Australia's capital city.

The small-yet-mighty capital of Canberra is a city that punches far above its weight. Well-known museums and historical sites are just the beginning. Dig a little deeper to find bustling brewpubs, hidden gems, quiet nature and family-friendly attractions. Head just outside the city to relax and unwind in a scenic cool-climate wine region that produces some stellar drops.

Canberra is just as easily reached by air as by car. Fly into Canberra Airport (CBR) on either an international flight or from any Australian state or territory. 

  • Canberra Airport (CBR) is 7km (4.5mi) from the city and services both international and domestic flights
  • Hire cars, taxis, rideshares and a shuttle service are available at the airport for pre-purchase or hire upon arrival
  • Canberra is just a three-hour drive south of Sydney

After you’ve arrived in Canberra, you’ll find getting around is easy due to its compact size. Walking and biking are great options to see what's on offer. 

Canberra enjoys warm summers and crisp winters, however this city is considered a year-round destination. During autumn and spring the city is at its most vibrant with exciting festivals, colourful natural landscapes and mild weather . 

  • High season: Spring and autumn (August to October and March to May)
  • Low season: Winter (June to July)
  • Don’t miss:   Enlighten Festival (March)

Travellers will find plenty of accessible and  wheelchair-friendly  options for accommodation and attractions in Canberra. 

  • Arrival: Canberra Airport provides assistance for people with disabilities. Staff can help with security screening and ordering an accessible taxi.
  • Getting around: Canberra’s light rail stations have ramp access and designated waiting areas for passengers needing assistance, while the city’s buses have ramps that can be lowered. Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Services can also be booked online or over the phone. 
  • Accessible experience highlights: Travellers with limited mobility can ride the Flora Explorer mini-bus throughout the abundant National Botanic Gardens . Don't miss the faces of famous Aussies at the National Portrait Gallery .
  • Helpful resources: The Canberra-based travel agency GetOutAble specialises in accessible and inclusive travel.

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16 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Canberra

Written by Karen Hastings Updated Dec 28, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Crammed with cultural treasures, Canberra, in the ACT (Australian Capital Territory), is the carefully crafted capital of Australia. It's no accident that the city lies between Sydney and Melbourne . The site of the capital was chosen as a compromise between these two rival cities in 1908. American architects, Walter Burley Griffin and his wife, Marion Mahony Griffin, won an international competition for the city's design, which incorporates vast greenbelts and geometric shapes.

Lake Burley Griffin , in the city center, is Canberra's sparkling jewel. Many of the city's top tourist attractions and things to do lie along its shores, including the National Gallery of Australia, Questacon, and the National Library. The parliament buildings, as well as some of the city's other top tourist attractions, lie within the Parliamentary Triangle, formed by Kings Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue, and Lake Burley Griffin.

Canberra is also known for its fantastic festivals, including the famous Floriade, a celebration of the city's many spring blooms. Find out more about the best places to visit in Australia's dynamic capital with our list of the top attractions and things to do in and around Canberra.

See also: Where to Stay in Canberra

1. Australian War Memorial

2. new parliament house, 3. museum of australian democracy at old parliament house, 4. stroll around lake burley griffin, 5. find inspiration at the national gallery of australia, 6. questacon: the national science and technology centre, 7. national portrait gallery of australia, 8. national library of australia, 9. admire the views from mount ainslie lookout, 10. wander through the australian national botanic gardens, 11. national zoo and aquarium, 12. national museum of australia, 13. national carillon, 14. hike the trails at black mountain nature park, 15. royal australian mint, 16. jerrabomberra wetland, where to stay in canberra for sightseeing, canberra, australia - climate chart, day trips from canberra, snowy mountains, tidbinbilla, lanyon homestead, cockington green, map of attractions & things to do in canberra.

Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial is Canberra's most poignant attraction. Inaugurated in the middle of WWII, the massive Byzantine-style monument commemorates Australia's war fatalities. But it's more than just a war memorial. The site combines an excellent museum, archives, art gallery, and library.

The Commemorative Courtyard at the entrance to the memorial is a haunting introduction. Inscribed in bronze on the walls of the colonnades are the names of every Australian who has died in war since 1885, and the length of the list is spine chilling.

Beyond the entrance, different galleries retrace the stories of Australia's armed conflicts from colonial days to the present. The exhibits are constantly evolving, but highlights include the collection of old aircraft and the child-friendly Discovery Zone packed with interactive displays.

If possible, you should set aside several hours to appreciate this thought-provoking memorial, and if you're visiting near the end of the day, try to stay for the Last Post , a moving tribute to the fallen played at 4:55pm daily. Visiting the memorial is one of the best free things to do in Canberra, and the 90-minute tours are highly recommended.

Address: Treloar Crescent (top of ANZAC Parade), Campbell

Official site: https://www.awm.gov.au/

New Parliament House

The final fulfillment of architect Walter Burley Griffin's vision for Canberra in 1912, New Parliament House is a marvel of modern architecture. The boomerang-shaped structure nestles comfortably into Capital Hill and was designed to replace the Provisional Parliament House at the base of the hill, now known as Old Parliament House .

A New York-based architect won an international competition for the design of the new building, and on May 9, 1988, the Queen officially opened Parliament House. The date in May was chosen to commemorate the first meeting of Federal Parliament in Melbourne in 1901 and the first meeting of Parliament in the Old Parliament House in 1927.

From the expansive grassed walkway, which forms the roof, you can enjoy panoramic views of Canberra and see how Parliament forms the central focus of the city's street layout.

Architectural highlights of the building include the two huge circular walls, composed of granite, which mirror the curves of the hill; the towering 81-meter flagpole; and the Ceremonial Pool. In the foyer, 48 columns of illuminated greenish-gray marble create the impression of a eucalyptus forest. Throughout the public spaces, exhibits display important documents (the Magna Carta is a highlight) and retrace important events in Australian history.

From the gallery running around the first floor, you can gain admission to the public galleries of the green-hued House of Representatives, and the Senate, traditionally dressed in red. A visit during sitting times is a great way to view first-hand how parliament functions, and the free guided tours offer fascinating details about the building.

After visiting, you can take the 3.5-kilometer Parliament House Walk to the city center and learn about the Parliamentary Triangle along the way through interpretive signs.

Address: Parliament House, Canberra

Official site: http://www.aph.gov.au/

Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House

A short walk from New Parliament House at the base of Capital Hill, Old Parliament House is now home to the Museum of Australian Democracy. Not only can you soak up the history of this National Heritage-listed building, you can also learn about the important foundations of Australia's government.

Opened by the Duke of York (later King George VI) in 1927, the building is designed in the "stripped classical" style and was occupied by the Australian Parliament until 1988, when New Parliament House was officially opened. It was formerly called Provisional Parliament House, and was only standing in until a permanent structure could be designed and built – a feat finally realized 61 years later.

The museum is like a time capsule. You can learn about past Australian Prime Ministers; sit in the old Prime Minister's Office, a relatively humble affair; visit the Press Room; and read important historical documents. The chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate are modeled on the British House of Commons and House of Lords with paneling and furnishings made of Australian woods, and wall hangings displaying Australian flora. Parents will appreciate the child-friendly exhibits and free daily craft activities.

After a visit to the building, you stroll among the National Rose Gardens . Free, guided tours help you get the most out of your time here, and you can also take a fascinating Indigenous Experiences of Democracy tour.

Address: 18 King George Terrace, Parkes

Official site: http://moadoph.gov.au/

Lake Burley Griffin

Beautiful Lake Burley Griffin is the centerpiece of Canberra. Named for the city's architect, this artificial lake was included in his original plan of 1912, but didn't come to fruition until 1958. Today, it's a picturesque setting for all kinds of outdoor activities.

Tourists and locals alike come here to bike and stroll along the waterfront paths; picnic along its park-fringed shores; and fish, sail, or paddle the glistening waters. Looking for things to do in Canberra at night? Book a dinner cruise on the MV Southern Cross and see the twinkling lights of the city as you glide around the lake feasting on gourmet food.

Six islands lie at its center, the largest of which is Aspen Island , home to the National Carillon, a gift from the British government with 55 bronze bells .

Sprinkled around the lake are some of Canberra's top things to see and do, including the National Gallery, National Library, Questacon, and National Museum.

Standing on the shores of the central basin, you can see the Captain Cook Memorial Jet , a 147-meter-high fountain inaugurated in 1970 on the 200th anniversary of Cook's discovery of Australia. A globe sculpture depicting the path of Cook's voyages lies on the shores of the lake at Regatta Point.

On the north side of the lake, Commonwealth Park is a great place to visit with children. Here, you'll find play areas, paddling pools, waterfalls, an amphitheater, and a path round the park.

In spring, the park is the venue for the famous Floriade festival, a celebration of spring, when more than a million flowers are in bloom.

National Gallery of Australia

On the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, the National Gallery of Australia contains Australia's largest collection of art . The cubic concrete structure was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in October 1982 and consists of 11 main galleries on three levels, as well as a large Sculpture Garden laid out according to the four seasons and a Fern Garden.

The purchase of the extensive collection began in 1968 and includes works from Australia, Asia, Europe, America, and the Pacific, as well as the largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in the world . Among the museum's collection is Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles , purchased in 1973 and now one of the gallery's most famous paintings.

Mediums range from oil paintings and watercolors, to sculpture, decorative art, drawings, book illustrations, sketchbooks, photographs, films, ceramics, costumes, and textiles. Locals and tourists alike will also enjoy the many special exhibitions.

After exploring the gallery, you can visit the adjoining High Court of Australia , with graceful fountains, Carrara marble-paved floors, and murals.

Address: Parkes Place, Parkes

Official site: http://nga.gov.au/Default.cfm

Questacon: The National Science and Technology Centre

Traveling with kids? Questacon is one of the top Canberra attractions for families. Between the High Court and the National Library on Lake Burley Griffin, it's an interactive National Science and Technology Centre with all kinds of hands-on science displays and do-it-yourself experiments designed to delight and inspire.

The exhibits seek to promote understanding of the importance of science and technology in everyday life. Science shows, special events, and guest lectures complement the 200 hands-on exhibits .

In the Technology Learning Centre, budding innovators can participate in workshops and build and play with technology. Highlights of the permanent exhibits include the H2O-Soak up the Science room with water-related fun, the Free Fall slide, and Earthquake House. No wonder this is one of the top things to do in Canberra for families.

Address: King Edward Terrace, Parkes

Official site: http://www.questacon.edu.au/

National Portrait Gallery of Australia

Near the High Court of Australia and the National Gallery , the National Portrait Gallery of Australia displays some 400 portraits of the nation's most influential people. You can easily spend an hour or two coming face to face with Australia's movers and shakers, brought to life through paintings, photography, and sculpture.

Multimedia presentations divulge fascinating details about the lives of the people who helped shape the nation, and special exhibitions provide new things to see. Visiting the gallery is a breeze: parking is free, and the popular café and bookshop are a great way to top off a tour.

Official site: http://www.portrait.gov.au/

National Library of Australia

Opened in 1968, the National Library of Australia is a treasure trove of Australian books, manuscripts, newspapers, historic documents, oral history, music, and pictures. Its most valuable possessions are Captain Cook's journal (1768-71) and Wills' diary of his expedition with Burke in 1860-61.

Architecturally, the building is a dramatic contrast from the National Gallery and High Court. Built in the style of a Greek temple, its classical effect is underscored by the lavish use of marble and travertine on the columns and walls. Marble from Greece, Italy, and Australia was also used in the decoration of the interior.

In the foyer are superb stained-glass windows by Leonard French and three Aubusson tapestries woven from Australian wool.

On the lower floor, the Treasures Gallery displays highlights from the library's collection, and the Exhibitions Gallery hosts special visiting displays, which often require advance booking.

Official site: http://www.nla.gov.au/

Mount Ainslie Lookout

To really appreciate the layout of this carefully planned capital, head to the lookout of 843-meter Mount Ainslie. It's one of the city's most popular vantage points. A well-paved walking/biking trail winds for just over two kilometers from the rear of the Australian War Memorial . Along the way, you can pause at the commemorative plaques to learn about historic Australian battles, and you might even see some kangaroos, as well as an array of beautiful birds.

It's also possible to drive up to the lookout. Thanks to Walter Burley Griffin's vision, the lookout aligns perfectly with Anzac Parade, Lake Burley Griffin, Old Parliament House, and, in the background, the sleek lines of New Parliament House. On breezy days, be sure to bring a jacket.

Other popular lookout points include Red Hill , to the south of here, and Black Hill , to the west.

Address: Mount Ainslie Drive, Canberra

Rain Forest Gully in the Australian National Botanic Gardens

About a kilometer west of the city center, the 50-hectare National Botanic Gardens are a must-visit for green thumbs. Spread across the slopes of Black Mountain, these carefully tended collections display a range of different habitats and present all the important species of Australian flora. Kids will also love to run wild here.

The Rain Forest Gully is particularly impressive. Look for water dragons among the lush foliage. Other highlights include the Red Centre garden, with deep red earth and a spinifex grassland, as well as the Children's Discovery Walk . The gardens are also a haven for birds and butterflies.

From the gardens, you can access Black Mountain Nature Park and hike to the summit for glorious city views.

Australian National Botanic Gardens

Wondering about other Canberra gardens to visit? You'll also enjoy exploring the National Arboretum Canberra , about a six-minute drive away. This 250-hectare nature area encompasses forests of rare native and exotic trees, the National Bonsai and Penjing collection, a Gallery of Gardens, picnic areas with panoramic viewpoints, and a fantastic children's playground.

If you're looking for cheap things to do in Canberra, this is an excellent option. Entry to the gardens is free, but you'll pay a small fee to park at the on-site parking lot.

Address: Clunies Ross Street, Acton

Official site: http://www.anbg.gov.au/gardens/index.html

Cheetahs at the National Zoo

Australia's only combined zoo and aquarium, this privately owned venture is a hit with families and anyone who loves animals. It's only five minutes from the city center.

The National Aquarium displays a wide range of marine life, from the tiny denizens of the reefs to huge sharks.

In the neighboring zoo, you can view all the important species of Australian fauna, as well as exotic species as such as lions, tigers, cheetahs, bears, and more. The animal encounters are extremely popular and allow visitors to go behind the scenes and interact with a range of exotic creatures. You can meet a meerkat and get up close with cheetahs, giraffes, sun bears, and rhinos, among other animals at this popular Canberra zoo.

Address: 999 Lady Denman Drive, Western Creek, Yarralumla

Official site: http://www.nationalzoo.com.au/

National Museum of Australia

On a peninsular jutting into Lake Burley Griffin, the National Museum of Australia spotlights the nation's social history. The contemporary building itself is a conversation piece, with beautiful lake views. Inspired by a jigsaw, it was intended to underscore the interconnected stories that helped shape the nation.

A major theme of the exhibits is the cultural history of Indigenous Australians. Other highlights include exhibits on the Gold Rush, Australian industry, clothing, and migration. Children will also find a few interactive displays to keep them busy.

Address: Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula

Official site: http://www.nma.gov.au/

National Carillon

On Aspen Island in Lake Burley Griffin, the white Carillon Tower was a gift from the British government on Canberra's 50th birthday in 1963. The 50-meter-high tower incorporates three sleek columns clad in opal chip and quartz. Within the towers are 55 bronze bells ranging from seven kilograms to six metric tons.

You can bring a picnic and relax on the surrounding lawns. Better still, visit during a recital (Wednesdays and Sundays from 12:30 to 1:20pm), when the music of the bells wafts across the lake. The tower looks especially beautiful when it's lit at night.

Location: Kings Park, Aspen Island, Canberra

Black Mountain Nature Park

Black Mountain Nature Park is a great wilderness experience to combine with a visit to the adjacent Australian National Botanic Gardens . It lies just west of the city center.

Walking trails wind through the bushland, where you can see many species of native birds and other wildlife, including wallabies. The Black Mountain Summit Trail is a popular 2.7-kilometer (one-way) trail , which takes you to Telstra Tower , where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city.

At the foot of Black Mountain, the Australian Institute of Sport is the training center for Australia's top sportsmen and women, with a swimming stadium and tennis center.

Address: Black Mountain Drive, Acton

Royal Australian Mint

The Royal Australian Mint is a great place to spend an hour or so and learn about the heritage of Australia's currency. All Australian coins are minted here.

You can watch the manufacture of coins from a gallery, learn about the history of Australian coins through a video presentation and multimedia displays, and discover some of Australia's rarest coins. Looking for unique things to do in Canberra? Try minting your own $1 coin. You can also meet Titan, the mint's money-making robot.

Take advantage of the free tour at 11am and 2pm Monday through Friday. In the foyer of the Mint is a small museum with a souvenir shop.

Address: Denison Street, Deakin

Official site: http://www.ramint.gov.au/

An Australasian Darter flying over the Jerrabomberra Wetland

Craving a nature fix while you're in the city? Drive eight minutes from the city center to Jerrabomberra Wetland, and you can be wandering through tranquil wetlands listening to the sounds of nature.

Ironically, this bird-rich wetland was created when Lake Burley Griffin was filled, causing the water table to rise on the Molonglo River floodplain.

If you're an avid birder, you're in luck. You'll find more than 170 different species here, including the purple swamphen, black swans, eastern rosellas, and yellow-tailed black cockatoos. Bird hides make it easy to spot some of the more skittish species.

Boardwalks, walking tracks, and signs make it easy to explore this urban oasis, and bird-watching tours and other specialist talks enhance a visit. You can also explore three different trails and learn more about the unique features of the wetland by downloading a free app.

Address: Dairy Road, Fyshwick ACT

Official site: https://www.jerrabomberrawetlands.org.au/

Many of Canberra's top attractions cluster within the Parliamentary Triangle overlooking Lake Burley Griffin, so anywhere in or near this area is a convenient place to stay. Nearby, the suburbs of Manuka and Kingston are known for their fantastic shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The city center, north of Lake Burley Griffin, also makes a handy base and is minutes away by car from the Parliamentary Triangle. Here are some highly rated hotels in these convenient areas:

Luxury Hotels:

  • Smack dab in the Parliamentary Triangle near Questacon, the five-star Hyatt Hotel Canberra has a wonderful pool and fitness center, and serves high tea in its lounge.
  • Also in the Parliamentary Triangle at the foot of New Parliament House, modern Hotel Realm lies within walking distance of Manuka and Kingston's many restaurants.
  • Trendy Hotel Hotel has views to Parliament House and Lake Burley Griffin and occupies a funky honeycomb building. Inside, it's all smoky hues and mottled light.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • In Kingston, near shops and restaurants, the stylish East Hotel offers excellent value for money – especially for families and extended stays. Its studios and apartments come with fully-equipped kitchens, as well as washers and dryers.
  • Also offering spacious apartments, as well as King rooms and spa suites, the contemporary Avenue Hotel Canberra lies near shopping malls in the city center.
  • Minutes from New Parliament House, the quirky and minimalistic Little National Hotel offers excellent value, with sleek, compact rooms and comfy beds.

Budget Hotels:

  • Quality hotels with budget rates are rare near the city center and the Parliamentary Triangle, but the Leumeah Lodge offers clean, crisp rooms with large showers, about a 20-minute drive from here.
  • Cheap rates compensate for the petite rooms at the Ibis Budget Canberra . It's about a 15-minute drive from the Parliamentary Triangle.

Snowy Mountains

Wondering about places to visit near Canberra in winter? You can ski the slopes of some of Australia's best ski resorts about a two-hour drive south of Canberra. Rising to a height of 2,228 meters, the rugged Snowy Mountains host top resorts, including Perisher, Thredbo, Smiggin Holes, Charlotte Pass, Guthega, and Mount Blue Cow.

But you'll find plenty of things to do in the Snowy Mountains year-round. In the summer, the region offers fabulous hiking, horseback riding, water sports, and fishing.

Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

At Tidbinbilla, about an hour's drive from Canberra, you can learn about Australia's role in space exploration at the Canberra Space Center in the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, one of only three in the world . Budding astronauts can see the largest antenna complex in the Southern Hemisphere , explore models of different spacecraft, and learn about the foods astronauts eat on the space shuttle.

Just south of here, the excellent Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is a great place to see wildlife such as grey kangaroos, rock wallabies, emus, koalas, and the elusive platypus. Hiking trails weave throughout the reserve, allowing you to soak up all the natural beauty and spot animals along the way.

Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

  • Address: Paddy's River, Tidbinbilla, 421 Discovery Dr, Paddys River ACT
  • http://www.cdscc.nasa.gov/

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

  • Address: Paddys River Road, Paddys River ACT
  • https://www.tidbinbilla.act.gov.au/

Lanyon Homestead

About 40 kilometers south of Canberra, the historic homestead of Lanyon is a lovely spot to spend a morning or afternoon. Set in attractive parkland on the Murrumbidgee River, the homestead recalls 19th-century rural life and is still a working farm with sheep, cattle, and horses.

You can step back in time and tour some of the homestead's rooms, filled with antique treasures, or stroll through the beautiful gardens. After exploring the grounds, the café is a great place to enjoy a snack.

Address: Tharwa Drive, Tharwa

Official site: http://www.historicplaces.com.au/lanyon-homestead

St. Saviour's Cathedral

About an hour's drive from Canberra, Goulburn is the center of a wealthy farming district at the junction of the Wollondilly and Mulwarry Rivers. The discovery of gold at Braidwood, 87 kilometers south, brought the town wealth. Today, many handsome buildings bear witness to the town's prosperity in the 1870s. Of particular interest are Riversdale Historic Homestead , the town hall, courthouse, and St. Saviour's Cathedral .

Rocky Hill Lookout offers great views over town, and you can visit a WWI memorial here. On the western outskirts of town is the Big Merino , a 15-meter concrete tribute to Australia's wool industry, with a small shop and museum. Train buffs will enjoy the Rail Heritage Centre .

Holy Trinity Church

The little settlement of Berrima was founded around 1830 and is one of Australia's best-preserved Georgian towns. In the last few decades, the beauty of the Georgian buildings has been rediscovered, and the town is now protected as a national monument.

Many artists and potters have settled here. It's worthwhile spending a few hours browsing the art galleries and shops and relaxing at the cafés. In addition to a number of old inns, you can explore the historic buildings on the Berrima Historic Walk .

Cockington Green

Cockington Green, about nine kilometers north of the city, is a favorite place to visit for families. Set amid pretty gardens and sprawling lawns, it's a picturesque English village in miniature, as well as a display of tiny buildings from around the world. Hop aboard the miniature steam train , explore the Waverley Dollhouse, and admire the tiny castles and cottages.

Address: 11 Gold Creek Road, Nichols

Official site: http://www.cockingtongreen.com.au/

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More Places to Visit near Canberra : Feel like embracing winter and carving up some slopes? Less than a three-hour drive away from Canberra, you'll find some of Australia's top ski resorts . Visiting in the summer? You can explore The Kosciuszko Walk, one of the Australia's top hikes . If you need help deciding what other things to see and do during your visit Down Under, see our article on top Australian itineraries .

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A local’s guide to Canberra: ‘There’s this new energy and exploration’

Australia’s capital is severely underrated, says podcaster and Capital Food Market consultant Anthony Huckstep . There’s a thriving arts and food scene, with the bush just a short drive away

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The evolution of the culinary landscape in Canberra is quite extraordinary. There are some restaurants here that could punch above any in the other capital cities. There’s this new energy and exploration.

A restaurant dining room with tall ceilings, exposed beams, bare tables and black wooden chairs.

Rebel Rebel is a fun wine-bar vibe sort of place. You might have beautiful prawns with burnt butter, maybe some sea succulents – really simple, but absolutely stunning. They do a cracking brunch as well.

Miss Van ’s – which started in a shipping container – has one of the best banh mi in the country.

Pilot is the epitome of fine dining in Australia, where everything is perfect, but nothing is too formal.

Further out, XO is a modern Asian restaurant with one of the most delicious meals: an “Asian bolognese”. One of the owners has Vietnamese heritage and his mother created it.

I’m a bit of a coffee snob. If I’m having coffee away from home, it’s got to be somewhere good. Barrio Collective is a tiny hole in the wall and, though they’re pretty precious about what they serve, they’re not precious about what you order – they won’t stop you from having a certain sort of milk. Down south, Red Brick is a legendary local roaster as well.

Wine-grape vines blurred in the foregound, with a winery in the distance

I don’t think people realise the depth of Canberra’s surrounding wine region. Yes, there’s riesling and shiraz but you’ll also find Lark Hill , one of Australia’s best wineries that’s also biodynamic. Some people think that’s a dirty word when it comes to wine but, if they never told you it was biodynamic, you’d just think it was a cracking wine. Elsewhere, Clonakilla is a great example of organic wine; Mallaluka is one of the leaders in the region of natural wines. And Ken Helm is the elder statesman of the region. If you’ve never had a Helm riesling, you haven’t lived.

In the city, Paranormal Wines is part bottleshop, part sit down and have a pasta or natural wine sort of place. You can grab a bottle and drink it at a picnic in the park across the road. In Canberra, you’re ( mostly ) allowed to do that.

On top of the food revolution, one thing people don’t realise about Canberra is the amount of artists that are here. There’s a thriving art community and many amazing galleries.

There’s so much to explore at the National Gallery of Australia . One thing we do as a family is wander through the sculpture garden and sit by the lake with a bottle of champagne.

A large sculpture of a pyramid covered in greenery, topped with a concrete dome, and surrounded by a moat of blue water

A highlight of the calendar is the Canberra Art Biennial in October (formerly known as Contour 556). Artists submit works that reflect and or interpret Canberra’s history in some way. That’s not just as the capital city we call Canberra but also the 50,000 years of it being Ngunnawal land.

You can do classes at Canberra Glassworks and watch people working and plying their craft. Drill Hall Gallery is a great example of an independent gallery that celebrates local artists.

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It’s hard to fathom that Lonsdale Street in Braddon was once full of car yards. It’s now the beating heart of what it means to have a day out in Canberra. Start the day at Gather , one of the city’s best cafes, where you’ll find house made kombucha, killer coffee and a progressive menu. The Italian Place Enoteca will quell your small goods, pasta and Italian wine urges. On Sundays, the Haig Park Village Markets just down the road offer fruit and veg direct from farmers, food from around the world, and play activities for kids.

Drop into the local brewer BentSpoke before hitting some amazing eateries: Yat Bun Tong for xiao long bao, Bamiyan for lamb mantu; Zaab Street Food for modern Thai and Laotian and cocktails, plus Italian & Sons for exquisite Italian. And be sure to look down in nooks and crannies along Lonsdale Street – there are some real gems like the fancy op shop Goodbyes .

Green space

The beautiful thing about Canberra is you can drive for 20 minutes and you’re in the bush. There are the most extraordinary nature reserves around. The National Arboretum is a mosaic of living forests and gardens. It connects you with nature and the views of the region are stunning.

A landscape view of the National Arboretum in Canberra, with hills of neatly planted trees

Nearby there’s the Australian National Botanic Gardens , which replicates different climate zones of Australia. There are rainforest environments, with all the flora and fauna to represent them, and the soil under your feet; then all of a sudden it feels as though you’re in the desert. It’s quite surreal. And it’s like magic for kids.

If you’re a birdwatcher the Jerrabomberra Wetlands is for you.

Bar Rochford is easily one of the best bars in the country. It has the most welcoming feeling about it. Its head chef, Josh Lundy, does simple, contemporary food; the cocktails and wine list are amazing; the tunes are played on a turntable. It’s cool without trying to be cool.

Corella is a great example of a modern wine bar that crosses over as a restaurant. Sit at the window so you can watch the energy of Lonsdale Street at night. Tilley’s Devine has Saturday night jazz – if you like jazz but you don’t like to get home too late, this is your scene. The Basement is the go-to live music venue if you want to bend the arm to the wee hours.

A dimly lit wine bar

Further out, Capital Brewing Co. is one of the most fun places to go to if you like beer. It’s a huge warehouse but there’s no sign, and you wouldn’t know it if you drove past it. And for late-night wine in a tiny little underground space, go to 11e Bar A Vin , a speakeasy underneath restaurant Onzieme. Look for the red door on the side of the building – that’s how you get in.

Ovolo Nishi (from $265 a night) is known for its architecture, and the staircase leading up to it is probably one of the most photographed things in Australia. It’s centrally located in New Acton so if you want to celebrate the city and have a good time, it’s a good place to say.

A striking wooden staircase lit by yellow lights

If you’re here with family, the East Hotel (from $197 a night) is your go-to. It’s a family-run hotel and the attention to detail is amazing. Plus it has Agostinis , a ripping Italian restaurant.

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There's more than they're telling us

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Go for the iconic museums and galleries, stay for the classic Canberra experiences.

Delight in a foodie wonderland with a side of world-class art, breathtaking nature and family fun all within easy reach. Take a heart-pumping hike or cycle the trails through one of the world’s most sustainable cities. Top it off with a taste of the thriving cool-climate wine region. It’s more than you expect and it’s waiting for you.

Top 10 things to do in Canberra

Inspire young minds, meet native animals, discover the australian story, wander through wineries, get inspired by art, enjoy festivals, explore our lake, discover all ten, featured events, discovering ancient egypt, ralph heimans: portraiture. power. influence., vincent namatjira: australia in colour, infamous - a cabaret cirque production, safeguard global act brumbies vs crusaders, experiences.

Canberra is well-known for its national attractions, but art lovers and history buffs in the know also love the city's local arts scene and heritage sites.

Natural beauty is right on your doorstep in Canberra with popular lookouts, challenging hikes, mountain bike trails in the inner suburbs. Discover waterfalls, gorges, forests, and snow-capped mountains just 45-minutes’ drive from the city at national parks and nature reserves.

Immerse yourself in some of the oldest and richest cultures in human history with the extensive collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and history at Canberra’s museums and galleries.

From nature themed playgrounds to Questacon's science wonderland, the kids will want to keep coming back each school holidays.

Home to 140 vineyards and more than 40 wineries within 35 minutes’ drive of the city, Canberra's wine region is the perfect weekend getaway

Canberra takes its foodie culture seriously. From award-winning coffee to long lunches and craft beers, tantalise your taste buds during your getaway to the capital.

Whether you want to cycle from the city centre to the bush or try new jumps in a forest, Canberra has your biking holiday sorted.

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The Official Visitors Board has released its Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2023. The Annual Report is publicly available in the publications section of this website.

ACT Official Visitors is seeking highly motivated, skilled and experienced people for appointment to Official Visitor roles in the ACT, as roles become vacant over the next year. Please visit the ACT Diversity Register website for a copy of the selection package.

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Australian MPs will attend Taiwan president-elect Lai Ching-te's inauguration in Taipei

Lai Ching-te waves while standing behind a lectern.

A bipartisan delegation of Australian politicians will attend the inauguration of Taiwan's President-elect Dr Lai Ching-te, drawing a forceful warning from China and complicating Australia's relationship with Beijing.

The ABC understands the delegation of up to four federal parliamentarians, including senators Claire Chandler and Raff Ciccone, is among more than 400 foreign politicians and officials welcomed by Taipei for the event on Monday.

China's embassy in Canberra  issued a highly unusual statement before information about the delegation was made public, nearly a month ahead of Chinese Premier Li Qiang's official trip to Australia.

The embassy's spokesperson urged Canberra to "abide by its commitment to the one-China principle and fully honour its commitment without any compromise or inconsistency".

"We hope that relevant members of the Australian parliament will adhere to the fact that 'Taiwan is a province of China' and respect the sentiments of the 1.4 billion Chinese people," the statement said.

"It is also hoped that the Australian side will work with the Chinese side to safeguard the hard-won positive development of China-Australia relations and avoid unnecessary interference or damage to the relationship between the two countries."

Relations between Australia and China have improved with high-level talks resuming and trade tensions easing . 

However, Taiwan remains a major regional stability concern as Beijing increases military activities in the strait.


In response, Taiwan's chief representative to Australia, Douglas Hsu, criticised Beijing's remarks, framing them as a misrepresentation of standard diplomatic practices.

"Recent remarks from the Chinese embassy's spokesperson are a deliberate attempt to misrepresent common diplomatic practice in terms of visits by foreign government officials to Taiwan," Mr Hsu said.

"As [a] sovereign country, the Republic of China (Taiwan) has been widely recognised as a mature democracy," Mr Hsu said.

"We encourage and welcome even more visits from democratically elected Australian representatives to Taiwan."

Australia terminated diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1972, in order to establish official relations with China, which claims sovereignty over the island.

Canberra's diplomacy with Taipei has remained unofficial since then.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), rejected China's "incorrect assertions".

"These visits are consistent with Australia's one-China policy and with past practice," the spokesperson said.

"Parliamentarians travelling to Taiwan do so in their individual capacities. Australia's representative in Taipei will also attend the inauguration, consistent with past practice."

Inauguration to attract global attention

On Monday, Dr Lai will succeed President Tsai Ing-wen, marking the first time in the self-ruled island's history that the independence-minded Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has won three consecutive presidential terms.

The 64-year-old president-elect, who describes himself as a "pragmatic worker for Taiwanese independence", will capture global attention during his inaugural address.

A woman wearing a blue jacket and glasses smiles at the camera inside a library

Analysts suggest that the Chinese embassy's reaction ahead of the announcement of the visit was intended to pressure "both the media and the government".

"By sending delegations to Taiwan, the international community is signalling its support for Taiwan, which Beijing perceives as opposition to the Chinese Communist Party," Dr Kuo Mei-fen from the Australasian Taiwan Studies Association told the ABC.

"Canberra and the parliamentarians are clearly attempting to remain low-key before the visit.

"It reflects Beijing's increasing efforts to prevent Taiwan from expanding its influence on the global stage."

Tensions simmering in region

Beijing's warning comes amid rising tensions, as Taipei reported that Chinese military forces conducted a "combat patrol" near the island this week, including sending aircraft across the sensitive median line of the Taiwan Strait.

As Taipei deployed a Chinook helicopter rehearsing with Taiwan's largest national flag for the ceremony, Beijing's Taiwan office threatened to implement new legislation to punish "separatists who support Taiwan independence".

Senator Claire Chandler expressed her anticipation for the trip, emphasising the bipartisan nature of Australian parliamentary delegations visiting Taiwan.

"I look forward to attending the inauguration of president-elect Lai, continuing the long history of Australian parliamentary bipartisan delegations visiting Taiwan," Senator Chandler said.

Senator Chandler also underscored the importance of Australia's relationship with Taiwan, highlighting trade, investment, and cultural ties.

"It's not for others to seek to dictate how Australia should engage with our partners."

Senator Raff Ciccone echoed similar sentiments.

"I am pleased to visit Taiwan at the time of President Lai's inauguration, which is entirely consistent with Australia's one-China Policy," he said.

"The prime minister has already congratulated Dr Lai Ching-te on his victory in the election and I look forward to celebrating the vibrancy of Taiwan's democracy with the Taiwanese people at the inauguration of their new president."

'Democracy should not be taken for granted'

The ABC understands that similar celebrations will be held in multiple states by chapters of the Taiwanese Association of Australia, with Labor MP Daniel Mulino giving an opening remark at the event in Melbourne.

"It is appropriate for Australian MPs to acknowledge the successful conduct of an election and to congratulate the winner. This includes the recent election in Taiwan," Dr Mulino told the ABC.

"Democracy should not be taken for granted."

Former Australian diplomat, Kevin Magee — who had postings in both Taiwan and China — said the embassy's warning reflected Beijing's distrust of Dr Lai, particularly with the DPP entering its third term.

"The Chinese government's reaction to Dr Lai's inauguration was clearly stronger than that of former KMT leader Ma Ying-jeou," Mr Magee said.

"There are serving parliamentarians attending the inauguration this time, which is unlike before.

"Beijing views Dr Lai as a potential independence advocate, which could mean the PRC will expect Australia and other countries to follow its lead in opposing and pressuring Lai.

"There could be less room for manoeuvre for Australia in its dealings with Taiwan."

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  1. VisitCanberra

    Canberra is well-known for its national attractions, but art lovers and history buffs in the know also love the city's local arts scene and heritage sites. Explore more. Natural beauty is right on your doorstep in Canberra with popular lookouts, challenging hikes, mountain bike trails in the inner suburbs. Discover waterfalls, gorges, forests ...

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    Canberra enjoys warm summers and crisp winters, however this city is considered a year-round destination. During autumn and spring the city is at its most vibrant with exciting festivals, colourful natural landscapes and mild weather.. High season: Spring and autumn (August to October and March to May) Low season: Winter (June to July) Don't miss: Enlighten Festival (March)

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    Find more than you came for. visit. Iconic national attractions; riding Mount Stromlo's bike trails; sipping our cool-climate Shiraz. Canberra offers the peak experience. It's the best of Australia, brought together for you.

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    Go for the iconic museums and galleries, stay for the classic Canberra experiences. Delight in a foodie wonderland with a side of world-class art, breathtaking nature and family fun all within easy reach. Take a heart-pumping hike or cycle the trails through one of the world's most sustainable cities. Top it off with a taste of the thriving ...

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    The Annual Report is publicly available in the publications section of this website. ACT Official Visitors is seeking highly motivated, skilled and experienced people for appointment to Official Visitor roles in the ACT, as roles become vacant over the next year. Please visit the ACT Diversity Register website for a copy of the selection package.

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  20. PDF Canberra Hospital visiting hours

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