1. Australian Institute of Sport
For all those keen sports enthusiasts out there, you simply can’t spend time in the ACT without paying a visit to the Australian Institute of Sport. This is where some of our country’s finest athletes train, inspiring a passion for sport, as well as a passion for life. The interactive environment demonstrates the strong emphasis Australia places on sport, encouraging involvement and inspiring the inner champion inside of you!
2. Australian War Memorial
To get an idea of the true sacrifice so many Australians made while serving in the war, some time spent at the Australian War Memorial will not be wasted. This is one of the world’s greatest museums and is home to commemorative collections, a Sculpture Garden and gallery exhibits. Take a stroll through the collections and you will find relics from the battles fought, military artefacts and media collections from around the world. This museum will open your mind and heart to the heartache that was suffered to achieve peace for our country.
3. Black Mountain
A drive up Black Mountain will give visitors the chance to get back in touch with nature; all while enjoying spectacular views of the city of Canberra. There are multiple walking tracks that explore the far reaches of the mountain, allowing you to stretch your legs and sight some of Australia’s most unique and interesting wildlife.
4. Brindabella Ranges
The Brindabella Ranges can be found at the northern end of the Australian Alps, making them the ideal destination for a short driving quest out of Canberra. These granite rock formations are home to a total of 462 plant species, as well as plenty of native wildlife. The ranges are perfect for trekking, yet they are only accessible with a 4WD so if you are keen to explore this natural wonderland, keep this in mind when booking your hire vehicle.
5. Cockington Green Gardens
This delightful display of perfectly crafted miniature buildings is set within picturesque gardens that are beautifully landscaped, pleasing the thousands of tourists that pass through each year. These gardens are a landmark attraction of Canberra and feature some of the quaintest villages you will probably ever come across.
6. CSIRO Discovery Centre
The CSIRO Discovery Centre isn’t just for those science and technology lovers out there; it is for anyone that is interested in the development and growth of our great country. Through interactive displays and exhibits, visitors can undertake an interactive journey of Australia’s science history and achievements, making for an enjoyable and informative experience that the entire family is sure to enjoy.
7. High Court of Australia
Keen to see where some of Australia’s most famous and important cases have been decided? Well look no further than the High Court of Australia, one of Canberra’s major tourist attractions. Positioned on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, this architectural masterpiece is uniquely structured and stands at over 40 metres tall. A visit here will widen your understanding of the Australian legal system and allow for an appreciation of the court’s role in society.
8. Lake Burley Griffin
This man-made lake is a magnet for fitness freaks, nature lovers and those just wishing to get out on the water. The shoreline stretches for a total of 35 kilometres and is ideal for hiking, cycling and picnicking. If you want to leave the shore, there are facilities for boat hire, which will allow you to enjoy the lake from an entirely different perspective.
9. Namadgi National Park
Namadgi National Park adjoins with Kosciuszko National Park and the Bimberi Scabby Range, just south-west of Canberra. Namadgi has a rich heritage of human history and is also the foreground for a wide range of outdoor, recreational activities. The park is also a great place for driving and you can actually do most of your sightseeing from the comfort of your car.
10. National Botanic Gardens
For the ultimate in garden experiences, look no further than the National Botanic Gardens. These are undoubtedly some of Australia’s most beautiful and extensive gardens, maintaining a scientific collection of native plants from all parts of Australia. Visitors can take a stroll through the many displays that depict a different part of Australian flora, all while enjoying the clear and refreshing air that Canberra prides itself on.
11. National Gallery of Australia
Positioned on the calm shores of Lake Burleigh Griffith, the National Gallery of Australia is a must-see while in the area. This gallery is the premier gallery when it comes to Australian and international masterpieces and is the resting place of Aboriginal artefacts, European and Asian art, as well as many gardens and sculptures that are sure to please. This is an essential cultural experience and definitely one you will remember for many years to come.
12. National Library and Amphitheatre
Australia’s National Library is home to the country’s largest reference collection so you can be sure you will find practically anything ever written in Australia here. This strong national focus encourages a broadening of the mind and permits visitors to discover the nation’s finest literary treasures.
13. National Museum of Australia
For a celebration of Australia’s land, nation and people, pay a visit to the National Museum of Australia. Discover our social history though the interactive and interesting displays, making sure to check out the First Australians, Behind the Lines and the Eternity exhibitions.
14. National Portrait Gallery
The mission of the National Portrait Gallery is to “increase the understanding of the Australian people – their identity, history, creativity and culture – through portraiture”. The gallery is home to over 400 portraits that highlight the people who have shaped our nation’s history. The collection is so interesting and unique that you could easily get lost and spend hours here!
15. National Zoo and Aquarium
This is Australia’s only combined zoo and aquarium so it is definitely not one to miss. Located right near the city centre of Canberra, it is literally like stepping into another world; a world where the lion is king and animals abound. The zoo and aquarium are both home to a wide variety of native and exotic animals, with interactive displays allowing the kids to get up close to some of the world’s most interesting animals. Although the admission prices are fairly pricey, they are worth it, as this is one experience you can treasure forever.
16. Old Bus Depot Markets
The local markets are brimming with beautiful and unique handcrafted gift items and delicious culinary delights. Held in the old bus depot of Canberra, these markets feature over 200 stalls of exceptional quality goods, with an atmosphere markets are held every Sunday, so if you are in town at this time of the week, be sure to check them out.
17. Parliament House
Ever wanted to see where our country’s laws are made, where the politicians argue and where the Prime Minister spends a substantial amount of his time. Well Parliament House is exactly where all of this action occurs! Organised tours allow visitors to discover the inside workings of Parliament and walk the hallways that some of our country’s most famous politicians have walked. This truly is an experience that will enlighten your mind!
As with most of Canberra’s most popular attractions, Questacon is also located on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. Questacon aims to inform and educate visitors of science and technology, in an interesting and fun way. Popular exhibits include Measure Island, Eaten Alive and Awesome Earth. This is the perfect place to spend a day with the kids as there really is nothing here that they won’t enjoy.
19. Snowy Mountains
Although the name may suggest otherwise, the snowy mountains are the perfect fun family escape all year round (not just in winter). These gorgeous mountains are just brimming with things to do, and the driver here alone is simply stunning. Breathe in the fresh mountain air and take in the stunning views as you partake in activities such as mountain biking and climbing, kayaking and your choice of water sports. Things get even more interesting in winter when the snow falls and you take out your skis and snowboards. This truly is a recreational paradise; one that you may never want to leave.
20. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Covering a total of 5500 hectares, the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is home to the Tidbinbilla mountain range and the Gibraltar range. Suffice to say, it is a mountain lover’s paradise. Home to a diverse range of ecosystems, the reserve is perfect for bushwalking and getting back in touch with some of our nation’s most fascinating natural wonders.
21. Wee Jasper Valley
This picturesque village is nestled at the foothills of the Brindabella Ranges and sits beside the beautiful Goodradigbee River. A fascinating history and a wealth of recreational activities make this a popular place to visit all year round and one definitely not to miss!
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