When you visit Canberra, prepare to experience one good thing after another. Because whether it’s world-class wining and dining, iconic national treasures or breathtaking outdoor adventures, everything you’re after is just moments away.
To help out our first-time visitors, VisitCanberra has created the ultimate top 10 – a list of things everyone must see, experience and savour as part of the perfect weekend in Australia’s capital.
- Visit the icons: Make sure you visit all the world-class national attractions that call Canberra home at least once, including the National Museum of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia and the Australian War Memorial. Entry to most of the city’s major attractions is free.
- Soar above the capital: For the best view of Canberra, take a scenic hot air balloon flight over the nation’s capital. The Canberra Balloon Spectacular in March offers the chance to view a stunning array of hot air balloons drifting slowly over the capital, with amazing views from on the ground and in the air.
- Conquer the Freakshake: Tempt your tastebuds with the Freakshakes creating worldwide intrigue and envy at Patissez Cafe in Manuka and Civic. These monster milkshakes will make you want to share them with everyone on social media before you indulge.
- Make it to the markets: Spend your Saturday morning shopping up at storm at the Capital Region Farmers Markets, where you can buy fresh produce direct from the growers and enjoy a delicious local breakfast or brunch. Take part in a Canberra Sunday tradition by visiting the Old Bus Depot Markets. Pick up some tasty treats, a bunch of flowers, some fashion gems or a local artwork.
- Wander through wineries: Canberra’s three cool-climate wine regions offer a spectacular range of experiences, from wine-tasting and fine dining to truffle hunting. Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Shiraz varieties thrive in thecapital region, with 140 vineyards and 33 cellar doors – most of which are within 30 minutes’ drive of the city.
- Explore the lake: Located at the heart of Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin is surrounded by galleries and museums as well as parks, open spaces and walking and cycling paths. Do as the locals do and spend an hour walking the ‘bridge to bridge’ path around the lake or if you’re feeling adventurous, hire a paddleboard or take a segway tour.
- Take the ultimate selfie: In the centre of Parliament House’s roof flies an Australian flag roughly the size of a double-decker bus. Visitors can take the lift to the roof, walk beneath the massive flag mast and pose for the perfect holiday selfie.
- Wine and dine: Indulge at some of the capital’s top-rated restaurants for incredible culinary experiences. Wander through foodie precincts likeBraddon, NewActon and the Kingston Foreshore for an eclectic mix of cafes, restaurants, bars, pop-up stores, galleries and people watching.
- Walk among a million blooms: Visit one of Australia’s best known festivals,Floriade, and see why it attracts record-breaking crowds year after year. Stop and smell the tulips, take part in a horticultural workshop and get your photo taken in front of the stunning garden beds. After dark, explore the illuminated wonderland that is Floriade NightFest, ride the Ferris wheel, see a comedy show and admire the flowers beds all lit up. Floriade returns to Canberra for the 29th year from Saturday 17 September until Sunday 16 October 2016.
- Discover your wild side: Set yourself the challenge on a visit to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve to spot five famous native Australian animals that call the area home: a koala, a platypus, a kangaroo, an emu and a wombat. Then embark on the ultimate animal encounter at the National Zoo & Aquarium’s new luxury accommodation, Jamala Wildlife Lodge, where you can take part in behind-the-scenes tours and share a jungle bungalow with lions, tigers and bears for neighbours.
For more information or some travel inspiration, head to visitcanberra.com.au