Brimming with historical, scientific, natural, and creative attractions to pique all interests, Canberra, the Capital city of Australia, is an ideal destination for a family getaway.
Additionally, the close proximity to New South Wales and Victoria makes for a great road trip opportunity. Organize a campervan hire from Sydney and you can be in Canberra by the afternoon! From Melbourne, it is a little longer, with approximately seven hours of driving time, but a campervan holiday is an adventure in itself, and the journey is half the fun.
For campground information, download the free smartphone app, “Discovery Roadtrip”. It will help you locate nearby campsites (both free sites and paid ones) and let you read reviews from others who have previously stayed there.
If you haven’t had the chance to visit this pretty city with your family, or are just looking for some new things to do the next time you go…here is a list of 9 Best Family Attractions to Visit in Canberra.
This interactive science museum has hundreds of displays and exhibits, providing hours of fun education for all ages. Some of the favorites include the tornado simulator, the Mars & Australia in space exhibits, and the lightning display.
As well as the many hours’ worth of entertainment and knowledge available at Questacon, there is also a fabulous on-site shop that sells science-related games, toys, and activities to purchase.
Australian War Memorial
Although it may sound like an activity not engaging for children, this Memorial in Canberra, dedicated to Australia’s soldiers, is interesting for the whole family. As well as providing a plethora of stories and memorabilia, the Museum also holds a daily Last Post Ceremony and provides interactive exhibits in its “Discovery Zone”.
The Discovery Zone allows visitors to experience what it is like inside an army submarine, helicopter, and warship… perfect for both kids and BIG kids alike!
Royal Australian Mint
Take the family on a free tour of the Royal Australian Mint, the exclusive producer of all Australian monetary coins, and also a manufacturer for many other countries as well.
Listen to historical stories about Australian money, while exploring the factory and learning how these coins are created. Otherwise, simply browse the Mint on a self-guided visit.
Have a turn at minting your very own one-dollar commemorative coin on the gallery press, and take it home with you as a souvenir.
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Committed to native wildlife conservation, the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is a bio-diverse wetland area that protects an abundance of animals. Home to species including Bettongs, Rock Wallabies, Kangaroos, Koalas, Potoroos, Turtles, Reptiles, Platypus, and a diversity of Birds – there is no shortage of animal encounters to be found.
As well as the wildlife, there is also a variety of walking trails to explore. Hikes range from short and easy 20-minute strolls to hours-long adventure treks for the more experienced, and everything in between. The property contains homestead ruins, mountain streams, fern gullies, and grassy knolls.
The National Dinosaur Museum
Showcasing the largest display of dinosaur bones in Australia, this permanent fossil exhibition teaches visitors about dinosaur evolution and interaction with one another.
Explore the dinosaur garden’s life-size prehistoric models, or marvel at the moving animatronics that roar, blink and move.
Learn through the displays that outline history on Earth for plant and animal life, dating back to 700 million years ago, through fossil records of fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds.
Browse or purchase a crystal, mineral, gemstone, or fossil, from the huge collection available at the museum’s gift shop.
Old Bus Depot Markets
There is something for everyone at these Sunday markets, which are held weekly at the now retired “Old Bus Depot” in Canberra.
Make sure to go there hungry, as everyone in the family will surely find something they want to eat at the many food stalls and coffee vans.
Search through the arts, crafts, trinkets, and clothes at the artisan outlets, or buy some fresh produce. Pick up a second-hand novel, music record or comic book to take home, or some hand-made desserts and baked goods to snack on later.
Close to the Old Bus Depot Markets, you will find the Canberra Glassworks. This unique art gallery is also a working art studio and allows visitors to watch over their real-life workshops.
During the Australian Capital Territory school holidays, the Glassworks offer a children’s program, where artists will teach a short introduction class and assist students to make their own masterpieces.
At other times of the year, you can simply look on, as creative individuals construct a piece of art in the hot-shop, engine room and neon studio.
Purchase a one-of-a-kind work of art from the Glassworks retail space, which sell stunning homewares and gifts. Can’t find something you love? You can even commission a piece from a glass-blowing artist.
National Museum of Australia
Celebrating and showcasing Australia’s history and culture, the National Museum is a great family day out, and even has free entry and parking!
There is a large amount of First Nations history on display here, taking you back through thousands of years of Indigenous Australian art and culture.
The Great Southern Land gallery experience opened in 2022, and demonstrates Australian diversity, through over 2100 articles and interactive sensory experiences.
Although there are some permanent displays, featured exhibits are continuously changing, so even if you went here previously, it is always worth another visit.
John Knight Memorial Park
When you just need a good place to relax outdoors and let the kids run wild, John Knight Memorial Park is the perfect spot to do so.
Situated on Lake Ginninderra, the birdlife is fantastic and the surroundings are truly picturesque. There is a playground with slides, swings and climbing frames, and barbecue facilities to cook lunch if you wish.
A walking track winds all the way around the lake, and also one for bicycles. The seven-kilometer walk is comfortable, well maintained, and beautifully backdropped by a variety of colorful deciduous trees.