13 Things To Do In Canberra That Will Make You Double Take

By Phoebe McRae - 14 Aug 2018

ICYMI, Canberra is officially cool. There’s no other word to describe it. It’s come a long way since your Year 6 school trip and all of a sudden it has us wanting to pack our bags and hit the road on the reg.

Don’t believe us? Well, you’re about to because we’ve hunted down one good thing after another to bring you this neat list of thirteen things to do in Canberra this spring that beat wasting a weekend under the covers in Sydney.

You can thank us later.

#1 Load Up On Flower Power

Florals for spring are indeed groundbreaking so you’d be a fool not to hit up Australia’s biggest celebration of Spring, Floriade. For 30 days (from 15 September to 14 October), Commonwealth Park will transform into an Instagrammer’s paradise with more than one million blooms, delicious food and Shazam-worthy entertainment. Snappy days!

#2 Watch The Sun Go Down At NightFest

Every night from Wednesday 26 September until Sunday 30 September, NightFest takes Floriade to a whole new level. We’re talking allllllll of the fairy lights, an open-air cinema, live music from the likes of Thelma Plum and Kate Miller-Heidke PLUS comedy by your mates Akmal Saleh and Arj Barker. Oh, and did we mention the flowers? You won’t see this in Sydney. Just sayin’...

#3 Eat Breakfast With Alpacas

Yes, really. You can legit tuck into the most important meal of the day alongside your new BFFs (read: 200 alpacas) at Alpaca Magic. You can also feed them, walk them, shear them and/or fall head over heels in love with them. Need a sweetener? You can even adopt them.

#4 Take A Boomy At Booroomba Rocks

Namadgi National Park is home to some of the best bushwalks in Australia, but it’s Booroomba Rocks that will have your jaw-dropping. Boasting epic panoramic views of Canberra and the Brindabella Ranges, it’s a nice change from the good old Bondi to Bronte and is the perfect place for your next boomy. The quickest way to get there is also the steepest (it’s about a 2.5km return from the Booroomba Rocks car park) but as soon as you get to the top, it’ll be worth it. We promise.

#5 Nab Front Row Seats To A Roller Derby Game

Believe it or not, sports other than rugby, AFL and cricket exist. Namely, roller derby. And you can find it in Canberra. We can almost guarantee that you’ve never seen anything like it, so do yourself a favour and grab tickets to a game, ASAP.

#6 Get Cultured At The National Film And Sound Archive Of Australia

Calling all film lovers, the National Film and Sound Archive is sure to knock your socks off. From August 10, Heath Ledger: A Life In Pictures is open free to the public; an exhibition created in collaboration with the Ledger family that celebrates the life and work of one of Australia's most well-known and loved actors through a curated selection of his film costumes, props, journals, awards. There will also be several screenings and talks woven through the program that are not to be missed. BRB, watching 10 Things I Hate About You for the 300th time. 

#7 Glamp On A Vineyard

Tucked away on the stunning Mount Majura Vineyard, you’ll find glamping like no other. And by no other, we mean one lone bell tent complete with a king bed, luxe linen, a mini fridge and an oh-so tasty breakfast hamper, only 600 metres away from the cellar door… what more could you want?

#8 Conquer Questacon

Have you ever read an article about Canberra that hasn’t mentioned Questacon? No. No you have not. And for good reason—this place is the bomb. No matter your age, it will blow your mind. Don’t go home without trying the Free Fall, obvs.

#9 Go Back In Time At The National Museum of Australia

When in Canberra, do as the Romans do - or did, in this case. It may be 3000 years after the fact, but the Roman Empire is still every bit as fascinating and the Rome: City and Empire exhibition at The National Museum of Australia showcases a jaw dropping collection of artefacts from the time that will put all your Ancient History classes to shame. 

#10 Go On Safari

Jamala Wildlife Lodge deserves a spot on every Sydneysider’s bucket list. The African-style luxury suites are nestled away in the National Zoo & Aquarium, where all that separates you and your bedroom/bath/lounge from a pride of lions, cheetah, tigers, meerkats and sun bears is a glass wall. The animals are so close you feel like you're on safari. Don’t forget to download The Lion King soundtrack before you arrive.

#11 See What All The Fuss Is About At Eightysix

If you only eat at one restaurant in Canberra, make it eightysix. Their caramel popcorn sundae is world famous (we can confirm it’s as delicious as everyone says it is) and that’s not the only thing that keeps us coming back. Dishing up an innovative menu that’s designed for sharing, this place is up there with Sydney’s best.

#12 Stroll Your Way Around The National Arboretum

We bet you didn’t even know The National Arboretum existed. Well, it does. And it’s bloody incredible. Planted after the 2013 bushfires, the 250 hectare site plays host to over 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world. The best part? It's only 6km from the CBD.

#13 Get Amongst DESIGN Canberra

Creatives all over Australia flock to DESIGN Canberra every November and you should too (even if you don't have a creative bone in your body). The annual festival sees all sorts of events, exhibitions, talks, tours and activations take over the city, and this year is no different with Kengo Kuma bringing his 12-metre sea cucumber-inspired installation, Namako, all the way from Japan. 

We hate to say we told you so, but... we told you so. Canberra is officially cool.

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Visit Canberra and proudly endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

Image credit: Supplied

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