Nestled in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Canberra is a planned as well as bush capital that boasts national monuments, galleries, museums, big man-made lakes, gardens, parks, excellent cycling tracks, natural reserves, and bushwalking. So, you can imagine the variety of Canberra attractions that can hold you here up to weeks. However, beware of the hot days here as they are very roasting from November to March as well as of the cold days from June to August. So, do keep a watch on the weather while planning for a visit to Canberra.
Mostly, biking is the most ideal way to explore the city as that takes you to many Canberra attractions. However, if you do not like adventures, there are ACTION buses running throughout for $4. One of the most aquatic draws here is the Lake Burley Griffin where a rainbow is seen daily. Here, hire a paddle boat, kayak, or canoe from the Lake Burley Griffin Boat Hire, go for a scenic cruise offered by Lake Burley Griffin Cruises, stroll, and cycle or skate. Mr. Spokes Bike Hire lends many bikes of which the most fun ones are the two-seated pedal cars for smaller children. However, kindly note that the lake might not be open when plenty of algae blooms.
The National Capital Exhibition on the Barine Drive nearby houses the plans of the actual Burley Griffin as well as of the city. And yes, you also enjoy the vistas of the lake as well as museums. All this can be done for free! Although you might not be sporty, still, do ride one of the Mountain Bike Trails of which some are the best in the nation. It is here that the largest Mountain Bike Race for 24 hours is held in October annually. For locations, explore the Canberra Off Road Cyclists (CORC). At the Mount Stromlo Observatory at the Weston Creek, which is the nation’s leading astronomical observatory; watch out the stars and planets and also attend a Saturday night event of star gazing.
In the same area of the Creek on the Lady Denman Drive, do take a tour of the privately owned National Zoo and Aquarium that features special animal tours and standard service. Touch, meet, or feed the lions, tigers, giraffes, cheetahs, snakes, elands, bears, and dingos. All those who love animals should not miss this tour. Only ensure that you are at the zoo at the check-in time, not at the start time.
One of the most fabulous monuments is the Telstra Tower or the Black Mountain Tower on the Black Mountain Drive nestled at 5 km from downtown. Soaring 195 m high over the mountain’s peak, this tower offers the 360 degree vistas of the city via its viewing platform at 60 m. This fun is offered day or night. While viewing, spot the Parliament House as well as the cork tree plantation. There is also a revolving restaurant as well as a small collection of telecommunication history. Two level viewing platforms exists here – the bottom with refreshments and a souvenir shop, while the upper floor being an open air area. Admission is $7.50 per adult and $3 per child.
You cannot leave without visiting the spectacular Molonglo Gorge, one of the most stunning Canberra attractions holding a Recreation Reserve. Nestled on the Sutton Road Queenbeyan, this is where you get all recreation activities – picturesque walks, swimming, camping, and picnics. Come in Spring that is from September-October when the Floriade festival of flowers naturally fills the land with many Tulips as well as other flowers. Other highlights of the festival are garden stalls, sculptures, live music, makeshift restaurants, and gnome or scarecrow festival involving paint gnomes or preparing scarecrows.
While you are in for the festival or at some other time, do visit the Australian National Botanic Gardens at the Black Mountain’s base where the largest native flora collection resides. Explore the probing water dragons, enjoy picnics by taking some food from the downtown, and attend the summer jazz evenings on the weekend. There is no fee, but parking has it – $7 per day or $1.40 per hour.
Lunch and dinner is good at the Burmese Curry House that closes at 8 pm, Griffith Vietnamese Restaurant, Sukothai, Belluci’s Restaurant, and Civic Asian Noodle House. If you are a budget travel, plan to stay at the Canberra City YHA from $26 per night or at the Victor Lodge from $27.