There’s always something new and exciting for all the family to enjoy in Australia’s capital city. The kids can see the treasures of our nation and it may come as a surprise to some parents to find that the National Gallery of Australia, Australian War Memorial and even Old Parliament House all have something to entertain the littlies.
Many of the major attractions that parents find interesting also offer children's activities and discovery trails, such as the Aboriginal food trail at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, the 'Portrait Detective' at the National Portrait Gallery and 'Super Sleuth' at Old Parliament House.
There are many places where the whole family can explore Australia’s great stories, such as the National Museum of Australia which celebrates the land, nation and people by exploring the key issues, events and characters that have shaped and influenced this country.
Most schoolchildren can tell you that Canberra is a fun destination. Kids just love the hands-on approach of the attractions. Exciting interactive displays, coupled with an emphasis on fun and education, have them begging for more.
Many of Canberra’s attractions are dotted around Lake Burley Griffin and others are just a short drive from the lake and city accommodation. The capital’s tranquil, leafy suburbs and parks surrounding the city centre, combined with gorgeous blue skies year round, make it the perfect place to explore the outdoors. Hire a paddleboat or family bike to get a different view of the lake, or explore Canberra’s nature parks, reserves and playgrounds. Further afield, kids will love the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve which offers an exciting program of ranger-guided activities each school holidays.
Don’t miss the Australian Institute of Sport, where so many of Australia’s sporting champions call home. Behind-the-scenes tours run daily, and you’ll be shown around the facilities by an elite athlete, with plenty of opportunity to bombard them with questions and see the resident athletes training. There’s a really fun interactive sports exhibition, Sportex, where we enjoyed kicking a virtual soccer ball, racing each other on a ski downhill course and testing our reactions, flexibility and strength as well as checking out some of the amazing sporting memorabilia. If you’ve a budding athlete in the family, or merely an armchair interest in sports, then this is a don’t miss activity.
Animal and bird lovers will have a great time at the National Zoo and Aquarium, the Canberra Reptile Sanctuary the Walk-in Aviary and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. To see animals from the past, visit the National Dinosaur Museum with its 10 full-size dinosaurs, cast from original fossils.
Cockington Green Gardens is a scale-model miniature English village, based on actual buildings from the UK made us nostalgic for the real thing! We loved the interactive elements – we could make the windmill’s sails turn and the Intercity125 run through the village – as well as the delightful and whimsical details that have been painstakingly created. There are also fascinating scale models of some of the world’s most famous buildings that will really ignite a passion for travel. It was a delight and a pleasure to wander the immaculately kept gardens, play favourites with the mini castles and palaces and take a steam train ride – a miniature one of course!
Many of Canberra's national institutions offer free admission with something for everyone. Try out the mist sculpture in the sculpture garden of the National Gallery of Australia or see a World War II bomber and one of the miniature submarines that attacked Sydney, at the Australian War Memorial. Canberra offers so much that everyone will have a good time. Time together as a family is precious. Don't miss out on the opportunity to have your best family holiday yet.
Autumn is one of the best times to visit Canberra and the capital region. Not only is the sky clear and blue nearly every day, but you can marvel as nature turns millions of Canberra’s leaves brilliant reds and golds.
Click here for more Things to See and Do in Canberra