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10 Things to do Indoors and Outdoors in Canberra

Canberra draws interstate and international visitors all year round for its iconic landmarks, world-class exhibitions, and scenic natural wonders.

With a choice of exciting indoor activities and action-packed outdoor adventures, the Aussie capital is blessed with an amazing selection of things to do. Read on to find your perfect Canberran itinerary!

INDOORS

The Australian capital is home to some of the country’s best galleries, museums and landmarks which are all easily accessible from the city centre and Avenue Hotel Canberra. Check out our top picks of exciting things to do in Canberra indoors.

Vertikal Indoor Snow Sports


Images via Vertikal Snow Sports

Ever wish you could ski all year round? Vertikal Indoor Snow Sports builds a unique and exciting bridge between the great outdoors and the cosy indoors where you can go on an alpine adventure whenever you like! Whether you’re new to the slopes or a seasoned professional, Vertikal offer tailored experiences designed specifically with your skill levels in mind, making it the perfect indoor adventure for the whole family.

The venue also boasts a ski lodge-esque lounge where you can kick off your boots, unwind and cosy up by the crackling fireplace with a hot chocolate in hand (a skiing tradition better known in Nordic countries as Apres-ski).

Located at 1 Dairy Road, Building 3, Fyshwick ACT
Open Tues to Sat from 8 am - 8 pm, and Sundays from 8 am to 6 pm
Cost: between $64 to $100

Visit the Australian War Memorial


Images via Weekend Notes | Australian War Memorial

Canberra is synonymous with the Australian War Memorial, an awe-inspiring recollection of the incredible people who have lost their lives fighting for their country around the world.  Situated at the foot of Mt Ainslie, this award-winning Memorial is a must-see not only for it’s enriching history but also for its stunning architecture and amazing views.

Spend the day indoors and discover exhibits dedicated to WWI, WWII and conflicts from 1945 to the present day. You’ll also find a Byzantine-influenced Hall of Memory where the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier lies.

Located at Treloar Crescent, Campbell ACT
Open daily from 10 am - 5 pm
Cost: Free entry

See the National Portrait Gallery


Images via National Portrait Gallery

At the National Portrait Gallery, you’ll come face to face with world leaders, queens and courtesans, politicians, poets, artists and writers, and modern-day figures.

The gallery is home to more than 2,500 portraits, featuring famous men and women that enriched Australia’s history, as well as contemporary icons who reflect the diversity, inventiveness and multi-culturalism of the modern-day nation.

To complete a picture-perfect day, grab some coffee and a homemade pot pie at the Portrait Café, located by the gallery’s entrance.

Located at King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT
Open daily from 10 am - 5 pm; Free 30-minute Collection Highlights Tour at 11.30 am daily.
Cost: Free entry

Go on a Canberra Secrets Highlights Tour


Images via Canberra Secrets Tour| ABC 

Whether you’re an interstate traveller, international visitor or a local looking to rediscover the area, Canberra Secrets Highlights Tour is the way to go! These tours steer away from the bland and forgettable tourist rhetoric by offering a flexible itinerary that’s tweaked to each tour group’s preference.

In this immersive tour, you’ll be guided by a passionate Canberran through a carefully curated itinerary of the capital’s hidden haunts like the Designer Op Shop Emporium and well-loved Canberran institution King O'Malley's, as well as national attractions such as the National Archives, National Museum and Portrait Gallery.

For a truly personalised tour, you can opt-in for their private tours package where you can create a customised agenda to suit your taste - This can include winery tours, visiting nano-breweries or gin distilleries or even a hot air balloon ride!

Cost: Between $189 to $220 per person
Tour start locations vary. More information here.

Sundays at The Old Bus Depot Markets


Images via Old Bus Depot Markets 

Every Sunday hand-crafted homewares, unique fashion finds, and tempting smells of local and international gastronomic delights fill the air at The Old Bus Depot Markets.
Frequented by both locals and travellers, this Sunday market boasts over 200 stalls showcasing one-of-a-kind creations by amazing local talent.

Set in a charming industrial building, you can expect to experience a blissful amalgamation of vibrant colours, tastes, and sounds, topped with the warm and welcoming local atmosphere.
It’s no wonder The Old Bus Depot Markets is branded as Canberra's Sunday Best.

Located at 21 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston ACT
Open every Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm
Cost: Free entry

OUTDOORS

With lakes, gardens, parks and nature reserves just a short drive away, Canberra makes outdoor activities easily accessible to everyone. So whether you’re after an adrenaline-pumping adventure or a great family day out in the sun, here are some of the best ways to enjoy the Bush Capital outdoors.

Stroll through the Australian National Botanic Gardens


Images via Visit Canberra | Sunset Cinema

Located just minutes from the Canberra CBD, the Australian National Botanic Gardens offer a welcome escape from the bustling city and a relaxing way to reconnect with nature.  Stroll through the rainforest gully, rock gardens and stunning bushland nature trail to discover its spectacular collection of Australian native plants. The gardens draw crowds all year round with informative guided nature and talks, school holiday programs, new exhibitions, and even a day spa!

For the perfect picnic spot, set up shop under the shady eucalypt trees at the grassy Eucalypt Lawn. In the summer months, the lawn plays host to the Sunset Cinema, featuring the latest movie releases, blockbuster hits and family-friendly favourites.

Located at Clunies Ross Street, Acton ACT
Open daily from 9 am - 5 pm
Cost: Free entry! Cinema tickets from $17 to $40

Bike riding at Stromlo Forest Park


Images via Stromlo Forest Park

Looking for an action-packed outdoor adventure? Put your foot on the pedal and head to Stromlo Forest Park - one of Australia’s best mountain bike venues.

Whether you’re a road cyclist, BMX riders, mountain biker, or just looking for a bike ride out in the sun, the park has a diverse range of facilities to suit riders of all types and skill levels. Keen cyclists can enjoy a criterium cycling circuit, and mountain bike tracks backdropped by a gorgeous bush landscape. If you’re more of a walker, the area also has various hiking trails and a cross-country running track for early morning jogs or a scenic afternoon walk.

Located at Uriarra Road, Mount Stromlo ACT
Open daily from 6 am to 6 pm
Cost: Free

Canberra Urban Adventures


Images via Canberra Urban Adventures

Experience everything Canberra’s outdoors has on offer through an electric bike tour guided by local experts! Canberra Urban Adventures provide a fun and unique way to explore the city’s most iconic spots, natural wonders, and hidden gems. Hop on the easy-to-use electric bike and make your way through the central lake and leafy parklands.

From there, your guide will weave you through some of the capital’s must-see destinations - such as Canberra’s lakeside parklands, tree-lined boulevards to the National Gallery, and outdoor art installations at the Reconciliation Place. If you’re looking for a wildlife escapade, opt-in for the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve tour where you can meet koalas, wallabies and ride with the 'roos on your e-bike. They also offer bespoke tour experiences tailored to whatever suits your taste!

For costs, full itineraries and more information, click here.

Alpine River Adventures


Images via Alpine River Adventures

Alpine River Adventures is quickly becoming a summer holiday list topper for families and thrill-seekers alike. They offer unique, adrenaline-pumping, eco-adventures set in the great outdoors on the outskirts of Canberra.

You can brave the Snowy River, in the rugged Byadbo Wilderness, for a spectacular day of whitewater kayaking. Or for something closer to home, try your skills at whitewater rafting on Murrumbidgee River where you’ll experience brilliant rapids and the majestic Red Rock Gorge. Whatever floats your boat, you’ll be sure to discover scenic surrounds, stunning native flora and fauna, and experience an unforgettable outdoor holiday adventure.

Cost: from $220 per person.  More info here.

Burnelee Horseback Riding Excursions


Images via Burnelee

Saddle up, strap on your riding boots and experience something truly unique and quintessential of the Bush Capital with Burnelee Excursions on Horseback. Burnelee is just a scenic 30-minute drive from Avenue Hotel Canberra, between Murrumbateman and Gundaroo. This unique outdoor adventure showcases the beauty of the Australian countryside through a guided horseback riding tour of the vast grazing property and beautifully rugged bushland.

You can even channel your inner countryman and test your hand at mustering sheep or cattle - a surefire hit for both the young and the young at heart. First-time rider? Don’t fret! Burnelee has horses for beginners to seasoned riders. Each ride is also accompanied by an experienced instructor so you know you’re in safe hands.

Located at 320 Dicks Creek Rd, Murrumbateman NSW
Open Saturdays from 10 am - 12 pm, and 1 pm to 3 pm
Cost: $110 per person