Canberra Travel Guide 2021: Expert Tips & Must-See Attractions

Home » Canberra Travel Guide 2021: Expert Tips & Must-See Attractions

Are you planning a trip to Australia’s capital city and wondering where to start? Look no further than the Canberra travel guide. This comprehensive resource provides everything you need to know about the city’s history, culture, attractions, and events. Whether you’re interested in art, history, nature, or food, Canberra has something for everyone. Don’t miss visiting the Australian National Botanic Gardens, located within the city limits. If you have time, consider taking a side trip to Sydney or Melbourne for more urban adventures. And be sure to visit the National Museum for an in-depth look at Australia’s rich history.

Located in southeastern Australia, Canberra is the national capital and a planned city that serves as the seat of government for the country. It offers a unique blend of modern architecture and natural beauty with its many parks and gardens. If you have time, take a trip to Melbourne, but don’t forget to visit the iconic Old Parliament House and Capital Hill while you’re here. The guide can help you plan your itinerary and make the most of your time in this vibrant city.

So why wait? Check out the Canberra travel guide today and start exploring all the tourist attractions that this amazing city has to offer! And while you’re at it, why not plan a trip to Sydney or Melbourne as well? Don’t forget to visit the Australian National Botanic Gardens for a breathtaking nature experience.

Top Tourist Attractions and Activities in Canberra:

Canberra Travel Guides
Canberra Travel Guides

Canberra, the capital city of Australia, is known for its numerous tourist attractions. From museums and galleries to national parks and gardens, there is something for everyone to enjoy. For those looking to explore beyond Canberra, nearby cities like Melbourne and Sydney offer even more options for sightseeing and gallery hopping.

Parliament House

One of the most iconic buildings in the national capital, Canberra, is Parliament House. Completed in 1988, it houses both chambers of the Australian Parliament and is located within the parliamentary triangle. Visitors can take a guided tour of the building to learn about its history and significance. The rooftop provides stunning views of the city, including nearby museums. Despite being located a few hours away from Sydney, Parliament House remains a popular tourist attraction.

Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial, located in Canberra’s city centre, is another must-visit attraction for those traveling to Sydney or Melbourne. It serves as both a museum and a memorial to those who have served in Australia’s armed forces. Exhibits include artifacts from various conflicts as well as personal stories from veterans. Visitors can also find nearby embassies in the area.

National Gallery

Art lovers visiting North Canberra should not miss the National Gallery of Australia. Its collection of over 170,000 works of art from around the world, including pieces by famous artists such as Monet and Picasso, makes it a must-visit attraction in the area. Guided tours are available for those who want to learn more about specific exhibits. For those in Melbourne or Sydney, the gallery is worth the trip down to South Canberra.

Australian National Botanic Gardens

Located in north Canberra at the foot of Black Mountain, the Australian National Botanic Gardens feature over 6,000 species of plants from all over Australia. Visitors from south Canberra or Melbourne can take self-guided tours or join one led by a knowledgeable guide. There are also several walking trails throughout the gardens, making it a must-visit attraction in Canberra city.

National Parks

Nature lovers visiting the north area of Canberra will appreciate the many national parks nearby. Namadgi National Park is located just south of the city and offers hiking trails through rugged terrain with stunning views. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is another popular spot for hiking as well as wildlife spotting. If you’re traveling from Sydney or Melbourne, these national parks are easily accessible for a day trip.

Old Parliament House

Before Parliament House was built in North Canberra, Old Parliament House served as home to Australia’s government for over 60 years. Today it serves as a museum dedicated to the history of Australian democracy, located in South Canberra. Visitors can take a guided tour or explore on their own while visiting Sydney or Melbourne.

National Museum

The National Museum of Australia is another popular attraction in Canberra, located near a beautiful park. Its exhibits cover a wide range of topics, from Indigenous history to modern technology. The museum also hosts events and temporary exhibits throughout the year. If you’re planning to visit other cities in Australia, be sure to check out similar museums in Melbourne and Sydney city centres.

National Library

For book lovers visiting North Canberra, the National Library of Australia is a must-visit destination. Its collection includes over 10 million items, including books, manuscripts, and photographs. Guided tours are available for those who want to learn more about the library’s history and significance. If you’re in Melbourne or Sydney, consider making the trip to South Canberra to explore this impressive collection.

Insider Tips for Travelers Visiting Canberra:

Helpful Staff at Canberra Airport

Canberra Airport, located on the road to Sydney and Melbourne, is known for its helpful staff who are always ready to assist travelers. From baggage assistance to directions, the airport staff is knowledgeable and friendly. They can help you with any questions or concerns you may have about your travel plans. Additionally, the airport offers various services to make your journey more comfortable.

Embassies in the City

Canberra, located in the center of Australia, is home to many embassies, making it easy for travelers arriving at the airport to access consular services if needed. The embassies are conveniently located in the civic center, so you won’t have to go far from Sydney to get the help you need.

Explore Mount Ainslie

Mount Ainslie, a national park in Sydney, offers a peak to explore with stunning views of Canberra. It’s easily accessible by road and a great place for hiking and picnicking, according to reviews. There are plenty of trails to choose from and you can also take a guided tour of the area if you want to learn more about the history and ecology of Mount Ainslie.

Clean Rooms and Room Service Available

There are many accommodations available in Canberra that offer clean rooms and room service. Whether you’re looking for a luxury hotel or a budget-friendly option, there’s something for everyone. Some popular options include Hotel Realm, Hyatt Hotel Canberra, and Novotel Canberra. If you plan to travel to Sydney, there are also various hotels near the airport that provide excellent services. For those who love nature, the nearby national park offers a great opportunity to explore the outdoors.

Free WiFi and Bus Services

Many hotels in Canberra, including those in Civic, offer free WiFi, making it easy for travelers to stay connected while on vacation. Bus services are available throughout the city, providing an affordable way to get around without having to worry about driving or parking. For those arriving from Sydney, there are convenient airport transfers available. Don’t forget to check out the hotel reviews before booking your stay!

If you’re planning a trip to Canberra from Sydney and only have 48 hours, here’s how you can make the most out of your time: Start at the airport, head to ACT, explore Civic and enjoy your stay in the city.

  • Day 1: Start your day by flying into Canberra airport from Sydney and heading straight to Civic, the heart of the ACT. Visit Parliament House where you can take a guided tour of Australia’s political hub. Afterward, head over to Lake Burley Griffin where you can enjoy kayaking or paddle boating on the water. In the afternoon, head up to Mount Ainslie for a hike and stunning views of the city. End your day with dinner at one of Canberra’s many restaurants.
  • Day 2: Begin your day by visiting the Australian War Memorial in North Canberra, where you can learn about Australia’s military history and pay your respects to those who have served. Afterward, take a stroll through the National Botanic Gardens in South Canberra before heading over to Old Bus Depot Markets where you can find unique souvenirs and local goods. If you’re traveling from Sydney, make sure to check out the services available for transportation. End your trip with a visit to Questacon, an interactive science museum that will entertain visitors of all ages.

If you’re looking for accommodations in popular areas of Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), here are some options. Additionally, if you need services during your stay, consider staying in the Civic area. However, if you plan to visit Sydney, keep in mind that it’s a few hours away from Canberra.

  • Braddon: This trendy neighborhood in ACT is home to plenty of cafes, bars, and restaurants. Popular accommodation options include Avenue Hotel Canberra and Mercure Canberra. For those looking for services in Civic, it’s just a short drive from here.
  • Kingston: Located near Lake Burley Griffin in South Canberra, this area offers plenty of outdoor activities as well as dining options. Some popular hotels in Kingston include The Burbury Hotel & Apartments and East Hotel. For those looking to explore other areas of Canberra, North Canberra and Civic are easily accessible. Visitors coming from Sydney can also enjoy a stay in Kingston.

Unique Culture, History, and Cuisine of Canberra:

Canberra Travel Guides
Canberra Travel Guides

Canberra, the capital city of Australia and the capital territory known as the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), is located near Sydney. The city is rich in history, with significant landmarks such as the Australian War Memorial and Parliament House. Canberra’s unique cuisine includes fresh produce from surrounding farmland, as well as a thriving wine region. Additionally, the city has a vibrant civic culture.

A Rich History

Canberra, located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), has a fascinating history that dates back to 1820 when it was established as a small settlement. However, it wasn’t until 1913 that it became the capital city of Australia, beating Sydney for the title. The city was purpose-built to be the country’s capital and designed by American architect Walter Burley Griffin, with its civic design being one of its most iconic features. It’s no wonder that Canberra boasts some of Australia’s most iconic landmarks.

One of the most significant landmarks in South Canberra is the Australian War Memorial. This memorial located in Civic honors those who have served in wars or peacekeeping missions since World War I. Visitors can pay their respects at this impressive monument while learning about Australia’s military history. Additionally, if you’re visiting Sydney, don’t miss the chance to visit this historical site.

Another landmark worth visiting in South Canberra is Parliament House, which opened in 1988. This impressive building sits atop Capital Hill and houses both chambers of parliament: the Senate and House of Representatives. Guided tours are available for visitors who want to learn more about how Australian politics works. If you’re coming from Sydney, make sure to include a stopover in Civic to see this iconic structure.

A Thriving Food Scene

Canberra’s food scene has grown significantly over recent years with fresh produce from surrounding farmland and civic areas playing a vital role in its cuisine. Visitors can expect to find an array of restaurants serving up delicious dishes made from locally sourced ingredients found in both the outskirts and city center.

One must-try dish in Civic is meat pies – an Aussie classic! These savory pastries filled with minced meat, gravy, onions, and spices are perfect for lunch on-the-go or a quick snack while exploring the city.

For those with a sweet tooth in Civic, try Tim Tams – chocolate biscuits sandwiched together with cream filling covered in chocolate – they’re irresistible!

Canberra’s civic area also has a thriving wine region, with over 30 wineries located within an hour’s drive of the city. Visitors can take a wine tour and sample some of the region’s best wines in the heart of the civic district.

A City Surrounded by Nature

Canberra, the “bush capital” of Australia, is not only surrounded by natural beauty but also boasts a strong civic presence. The city is home to several nature reserves, including Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Namadgi National Park.

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, located near Civic, offers visitors the chance to see native Australian wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas. There are also several walking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Namadgi National Park covers almost half of the Australian Capital Territory and features rugged mountains, deep gorges, and pristine wilderness. Visitors can hike or cycle through the park while taking in breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

Family-Friendly Activities in Canberra:

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Canberra is a city that offers plenty of outdoor activities for families. With its beautiful parks and nature reserves, it’s easy to spend a whole day exploring the great outdoors. One of the most popular parks is Commonwealth Park, which is located in the heart of the city. The park has plenty of open space for picnicking, playing sports, or just relaxing in the sun. It also features a large playground and an outdoor water play area that’s perfect for kids.

If you’re looking for something more adventurous, head to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. This reserve offers several hiking trails that are suitable for families with children of all ages. You can spot kangaroos, wallabies, and other native animals along the way.

Explore Family-Friendly Attractions

School holidays are a great time to explore Canberra’s many family-friendly attractions. Questacon is one such attraction that will keep both kids and adults entertained for hours. It’s an interactive science museum where visitors can learn about everything from dinosaurs to space travel.

Another popular attraction is Cockington Green Gardens, which features miniature versions of famous landmarks from around the world. Kids will love exploring this tiny world and spotting all their favorite landmarks.

Cycle Around Canberra

Cycling is a popular way to see Canberra, with bike rentals available throughout the city. There are plenty of cycle paths that are suitable for families with children, including Lake Burley Griffin Loop and Molonglo River Ride.

If you don’t have your own bikes with you, don’t worry! There are plenty of places where you can rent bikes at affordable prices. Some rental companies even offer free helmets and maps so that you can make the most out of your cycling adventure.

Get Around on Action Buses

Getting around Canberra with kids can be challenging if you don’t have your own car. However, Action buses provide an affordable and convenient way for families to get around the city. The buses are equipped with free Wi-Fi, making it easy to keep kids entertained during the journey.

Families can purchase a MyWay card, which allows them to travel on all bus services at a discounted rate. There are also family-friendly fares available that make it even more affordable to explore Canberra with kids.

Shopping in Canberra:

Canberra Centre: The Largest Shopping Mall in the City

Canberra Centre is one of the largest shopping malls in the city, with over 300 shops and a wide range of international brands. It is located in the heart of Canberra City, making it easily accessible to tourists and locals alike. If you are looking for a one-stop-shop experience, Canberra Centre is definitely worth checking out.

The mall features a mix of high-end retailers such as David Jones, Myer, Zara, and H&M as well as smaller specialty stores like Apple, Lush Cosmetics, and Kikki.K. You can find everything from fashion to beauty products to electronics under one roof. There are also plenty of dining options available ranging from fast food chains to sit-down restaurants.

Braddon: A Trendy Suburb Offering Unique Shopping Experience

North Canberra is home to Braddon, a trendy suburb with boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants that offer a unique shopping experience. This area has undergone significant redevelopment in recent years and has become one of the most popular shopping destinations in Canberra.

Braddon’s main street, Lonsdale Street, is lined with boutiques selling everything from handmade jewelry to vintage clothing. You can also find several art galleries showcasing local artists’ work. The area is known for its vibrant street art scene that adds character to the neighborhood.

If you’re feeling hungry after all that shopping, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants offering delicious food options. Some popular spots include Grease Monkey (known for their burgers), Rye Cafe (for coffee lovers), and Lazy Su (serving Asian-inspired cuisine).

South Canberra’s Town Centres: A Variety of Shops with Ample Parking

South Canberra boasts several town centers including Woden and Tuggeranong which offer a variety of shops and ample parking. These areas are less crowded than other parts of the city but still have plenty to offer.

Woden Plaza, located in the heart of Woden Town Centre, is home to over 100 specialty stores. You can find everything from fashion and beauty products to homewares and electronics. The plaza also has a cinema complex showing all the latest movies.

Tuggeranong Hyperdome is another popular shopping destination in South Canberra. It features over 170 stores including major retailers like Kmart, Target, Coles, and Woolworths. There are also several dining options available ranging from fast food chains to sit-down restaurants.

Other Shopping Destinations

Canberra Travel Guides
Canberra Travel Guides

If you’re looking for something unique, there are several other shopping destinations worth checking out in Canberra. Some popular options include:

  • The Old Bus Depot Markets: Held every Sunday, this market features local artisans selling handmade crafts and gourmet food.
  • The Canberra Outlet Centre: Located just outside the city center, this outlet mall offers discounts on high-end brands like Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.
  • Northbourne Avenue: This street is lined with antique shops selling everything from vintage furniture to rare books.

Other Areas Associated with the ACT but Not Covered Under Here

While we have covered some of the best areas to explore in Canberra, there are still many other regions associated with the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) that you might want to consider visiting. From quiet towns to bustling suburbs and everything in between, these areas offer a range of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages.

South Canberra – A Haven for Outdoor Enthusiasts

South Canberra is a part of the ACT that offers a variety of open spaces and trails for outdoor enthusiasts. The district includes several suburbs, including Yarralumla, Deakin, Forrest, Red Hill, and Griffith. Lake Burley Griffin is also located in South Canberra and is one of the most popular spots for picnics and water sports.

If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, head over to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. The reserve covers over 54 square kilometers and features hiking trails, wildlife encounters, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Another great spot to explore in South Canberra is Mount Ainslie. The mountain offers panoramic views of the city center as well as numerous walking paths that wind through native bushland.

Tuggeranong – Home to Several Suburbs

The district of Tuggeranong is home to several suburbs, including Greenway which hosts a range of events throughout the year. These events include food festivals, live music performances, fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve and Australia Day celebrations.

For those who love shopping or dining out can visit Hyperdome Shopping Centre located in Greenway which has more than 170 shops offering everything from fashion to electronics.

If you’re looking for something more laidback then head over to Lanyon Homestead where you can enjoy a picnic lunch while taking in views across rolling hillsides dotted with grazing sheep.

Hall – A Quiet Town

If you’re looking for a quieter area to explore, consider visiting the town of Hall in the northern part of the ACT. The town is known for its heritage buildings and charming country atmosphere.

One of the best things to do in Hall is to visit the Capital Region Farmers Market which operates every Saturday morning. Here you can sample fresh produce from local farmers, artisans, and food producers.

If you’re interested in history then head over to the nearby One Tree Hill lookout which offers stunning views of Canberra and surrounding areas.

Molonglo Valley – Undergoing Development Work

The Molonglo Valley area is currently undergoing development work to create new suburbs and public spaces. This includes a new shopping center, community center, parks, playgrounds, cycleways as well as a range of housing options.

One of the highlights of this region is Stromlo Forest Park which offers mountain biking trails, equestrian facilities as well as picnic areas with barbeque facilities.

Queanbeyan – A Nearby Town

While not technically part of the ACT, the nearby town of Queanbeyan is often associated with Canberra and offers its own unique attractions.

Conclusion of Canberra Travel Guide

In conclusion, visiting Canberra is a must-do for anyone who wants to experience unique Australian culture, history, and cuisine. With top tourist attractions like the National Gallery of Australia and Parliament House, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city.

If you’re planning a trip to Canberra, be sure to take advantage of insider tips from locals. Whether it’s exploring the city by bike or visiting during the annual Floriade festival, there are plenty of ways to make your trip unforgettable.

Canberra doesn’t disappoint. From Questacon science museum to Cockington Green Gardens miniature village, kids will love exploring all that this city has to offer.

And if you’re looking for some retail therapy, don’t miss out on shopping in Canberra’s trendy Braddon neighborhood or browsing local artisanal goods at the Old Bus Depot Markets.

Overall, Canberra offers a unique blend of urban sophistication and natural beauty that is worth experiencing firsthand. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!


Q: What is the best time of year to visit Canberra?

A: The best time to visit Canberra is during spring (September-November) when the weather is mild and Floriade festival takes place showcasing beautiful flowers.

Q: Is it easy to get around in Canberra?

A: Yes! Getting around in Canberra is easy with public transportation options like buses and light rail as well as bike rentals available throughout the city.

Q: Are there any free things to do in Canberra?

A: Absolutely! There are plenty of free things to do in Canberra such as visiting national museums or taking a hike up Mount Ainslie for stunning views of the city.

Q: Can I bring my pet with me while traveling in Canberra?

A: While some accommodations may allow pets, it’s best to check ahead before bringing your furry friend along for the trip.

Q: What is unique about Canberra’s cuisine?

A: Canberra’s cuisine is heavily influenced by its multicultural population, with a focus on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Don’t miss out on trying local favorites like meat pies and Tim Tams!