Canberra travel guide

Canberra Tourism | Canberra Guide

You're Going to Love Canberra

Australia's capital, Canberra boasts a sophisticated dining and bar scene, vibrant culture, and impressive architecture. Inspired by the 19th-century arts and crafts movement, the city features expansive open spaces, aesthetics, and broad boulevards.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Canberra

1. Food and Wine Capital

Canberra has an impressive array of eateries and drinking joints. Coupled with a vast wine region, the city hosts tourists who come to taste the different wines available.

2. Numerous Attractions

Interested in the arts? Visit the National Gallery of Australia. Stop over at Lake Burley Griffin or visit the National Museum of Australia for free.

3. Fantastic Nightlife

Take part in a game of pool, go to a beer garden, or lounge in a bar to experience the thriving and vibrant nightlife.

4. Parliament House

Located on Capital Hill, get to see democracy in action in one of Australia's iconic buildings.

5. Lots of Festivals and Events

The city has various festivals such as Floriade every spring that showcases millions of blooming flowers.

What to do in Canberra

1. Watch Government In Action

Canberra is the capital city of Australia and the seat of the nation's government, making it a popular destination for diplomats and tourists alike. The stunning Parliament House, which acts as a focal point for the city as well as being the political center of Australia, was completed in 1988 by decree of Queen Elizabeth II. Within this governmental area you can also find the National Portrait Gallery, High Court of Australia, and the National Library. Tours of the Parliament House are available upon request, though visitors are free to stroll the grounds or take in one of the many adjacent museums.

2. Venture Into The Unknown

Situated at the base of Black Mountain, the Australian National Botanic Gardens feature many walking trails, sprawling lawns, waterfalls, and a cafe for visitors to enjoy the natural scenery of Canberra. These gardens also have the largest collection of native flora and fauna in all of Australia. Since around 80% of Australia's wildlife is unique to the Australian continent, thousands of visitors flock to this oasis for a true inside look at some of the world's most unusual plants and animals. In the summer season the Botanic Gardens also put on several community concerts and other performances, which are free to the public.

3. Put On Your Thinking Cap

Questacon, or the National Science and Technology Center, is one of the largest interactive exploration places in all of Australia. The center is home to 200 different exhibits focusing on subjects such as chemistry, robotics, biology, and engineering. Questacon is very proactive when it comes to educating future generations in applicable STEM fields. As such, they have partnered with many different schools in the surrounding Canberra neighborhoods to create fun field trips, extracurricular classes, and exploration areas for young learners.

4. Facing The Future

The first Europeans to visit the Australian continent came at the end of the 19th century, though the indigenous aboriginal people had already lived there for thousands of years. Recent conflicts between the two groups have led towards recent efforts at reconciliation to create a more diverse and inclusive view of what it means to be Australian. You can see the fruit of these efforts at Reconciliation Place, where outdoor sculptures have been placed around Canberra city center dedicated towards bridging the gaps between these two cultural identities.

5. Taking In The View

For some truly incredible views of Canberra, take a hike up to the summit of Black Mountain and visit Telstra Tower. The tower is named after Australia's largest telecommunications company and is 195 meters high. At the observation deck you can get some incredible 360-degree views of the Parliament House below, and the Cork Tree plantation. The Telstra Tower platform also features a rotating restaurant and souvenir shop for those looking to prolong their visit and remember their trip to Canberra for years to come.

1. Watch Government In Action

Canberra is the capital city of Australia and the seat of the nation's government, making it a popular destination for diplomats and tourists alike. The stunning Parliament House, which acts as a focal point for the city as well as being the political center of Australia, was completed in 1988 by decree of Queen Elizabeth II. Within this governmental area you can also find the National Portrait Gallery, High Court of Australia, and the National Library. Tours of the Parliament House are available upon request, though visitors are free to stroll the grounds or take in one of the many adjacent museums.

2. Venture Into The Unknown

Situated at the base of Black Mountain, the Australian National Botanic Gardens feature many walking trails, sprawling lawns, waterfalls, and a cafe for visitors to enjoy the natural scenery of Canberra. These gardens also have the largest collection of native flora and fauna in all of Australia. Since around 80% of Australia's wildlife is unique to the Australian continent, thousands of visitors flock to this oasis for a true inside look at some of the world's most unusual plants and animals. In the summer season the Botanic Gardens also put on several community concerts and other performances, which are free to the public.

3. Put On Your Thinking Cap

Questacon, or the National Science and Technology Center, is one of the largest interactive exploration places in all of Australia. The center is home to 200 different exhibits focusing on subjects such as chemistry, robotics, biology, and engineering. Questacon is very proactive when it comes to educating future generations in applicable STEM fields. As such, they have partnered with many different schools in the surrounding Canberra neighborhoods to create fun field trips, extracurricular classes, and exploration areas for young learners.

4. Facing The Future

The first Europeans to visit the Australian continent came at the end of the 19th century, though the indigenous aboriginal people had already lived there for thousands of years. Recent conflicts between the two groups have led towards recent efforts at reconciliation to create a more diverse and inclusive view of what it means to be Australian. You can see the fruit of these efforts at Reconciliation Place, where outdoor sculptures have been placed around Canberra city center dedicated towards bridging the gaps between these two cultural identities.

5. Taking In The View

For some truly incredible views of Canberra, take a hike up to the summit of Black Mountain and visit Telstra Tower. The tower is named after Australia's largest telecommunications company and is 195 meters high. At the observation deck you can get some incredible 360-degree views of the Parliament House below, and the Cork Tree plantation. The Telstra Tower platform also features a rotating restaurant and souvenir shop for those looking to prolong their visit and remember their trip to Canberra for years to come.

Where to Eat in Canberra

Taste the Burmese curries with rice for just AU$8 or some good laksa for AU$15 at Civic Asian Noodle House. The Italo-Australian Club has a hearty Italian pasta for just AU$15.

When to visit Canberra

Canberra in July
Estimated hotel price
$88
1 night at 3-star hotel
Canberra in July
Estimated hotel price
$88
1 night at 3-star hotel

September to November is the best time to explore the attractions of Canberra. The weather is pleasant during this period as it's sunny during the days and cool in the mornings and evenings.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Fahrenheit (°F)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Canberra

Plane

International flights jet into Canberra Airport (CBR) from Wellington and Singapore. From the airport, you can take a private bus service for AU$10 into the city. You can find taxis near the Qantas terminal for AU$25.

Train

The NSW TrainLink operates from Sydney to Canberra thrice daily. The trip takes four hours, and you'll get to enjoy the scenic view of Molonglo Gorge and the Southern Highlands.

Car

The drive from Sydney to Canberra runs 180 miles via the M5 Motorway and Federal Highways. A drive from Melbourne to Canberra takes at least eight hours on the Barton and Hume Highways.

Bus

Murrays provides express services between Canberra and Sydney's Central Station with extra services on peak days. There is also a daily service from Canberra to Narooma.

Airports near Canberra

Airlines serving Canberra

United Airlines
Good (2,634 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,101 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,148 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,029 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (998 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (762 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (240 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (221 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (714 reviews)
Cathay Pacific
Excellent (34 reviews)
Qantas Airways
Good (131 reviews)
Air New Zealand
Excellent (42 reviews)
Jetstar
Good (70 reviews)
Virgin Australia
Good (80 reviews)
Fiji Airways
Good (18 reviews)
Rex
Excellent (3 reviews)
China Eastern
Excellent (11 reviews)
China Southern
Excellent (7 reviews)
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Where to stay in Canberra

Kingston - Kingston features plenty of restaurants exploding with a mixture of chocolate, burgers, and sandwiches.

Popular Neighborhoods in Canberra

Lyneham - located three miles north of Canberra, this neighborhood features a sports stadium, public parks, and theaters.

Yarralumla - rated as one of the top places for beach lovers, Yarralumla is located next to the seaside and boasts plenty of amenities.

Where to stay in popular areas of Canberra

Most booked hotels in Canberra

Hotel Realm
Excellent (8.6, 2507 reviews)
$186+
Hyatt Hotel Canberra- A Park Hyatt Hotel
Excellent (8.5, 1715 reviews)
$194+
Hotel Kurrajong Canberra
Excellent (8.3, 1665 reviews)
$127+
Quality Hotel Dickson
Excellent (8.3, 1554 reviews)
$112+
Adina Serviced Apartments Canberra Dickson
Excellent (8.1, 1664 reviews)
$99+
Pavilion on Northbourne
Excellent (8, 3793 reviews)
$84+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Canberra

Public Transportation

Buses are the widely used mode of transport in Canberra, with fares starting at AU$5 for adults and AU$2 for concessions. Buses operate between 7 am and 8 pm.

Taxi

Local destinations such as Tuggeranong, Phillip, and Belconnen are reachable by taxi within the shortest time possible. You can gain access to them at specific hours of the day at rates between AU$50 - AU$100.

Car

There is lots of free parking available in Canberra, while paid parking is usually between AU$10 - AU$14 a day. Daily car rental prices start at AU$30.

The Cost of Living in Canberra

Shopping Streets

The city center features antique and craft stores, shoe spots, and dining areas. Visit the Canberra Centre and explore the fashion houses and specialty outlets. Get some designer labels and sample delicious coffee in Kingston.

Groceries and Other

Canberra has plenty of fresh produce markets. You can visit Kim's Groceries, Cedars of Lebanon, or the Coles Supermarket. A dozen eggs cost AU$4.60.

Cheap meal
$15.17
A pair of jeans
$73.89
Single public transport ticket
$3.41
Cappuccino
$3.16