Canberra for kids – Your Canberra Visitor Guide
Think Canberra and plenty of things come to mind, especially politicians and government. But there is way more to this city than political hot air, and so much to do in Canberra for kids.
It might not boast the bold brashness of Sydney, the cultural toffy-ness of Melbourne, nor the cool edginess of Brisbane, but what it does offer is a little of each of these. Truly. Don’t believe us? Then read on…
Our nation’s capital is steeped in history – it’s everywhere you turn in this inland city, and it’s pretty cool.
Best things to do in Canberra for kids
Easily the best thing to do is Questacon. This science and technology museum and hands-on exhibition is so cool, even the adults are going to find their inner geek!
The very best War Memorial in the country sits in the heart of Canberra. The Australian War Memorial is a must-do for any family’s city excursion. Exhibits change regularly, but take your time and teach the kids about the involvement of our troops in war from colonial period to present day.
Take one of the regularly run tours at the Institute of Sport and see where Australia’s elite athletes live and train. Athletes take the tours, so it is entirely possible you could meet one of Australia’s next gold medallists.
Take it outdoors in Canberra cycling and hiking. Heritage trails showcase the city’s urban design, while Mount Ainslie Lookout offers spectacular views of the Australian War Memorial, Anzac Parade and Parliament House. Take a picnic to Lake Burley Griffin where you can hire a bike, canoe and so much more.
Talking about Parliament House, take a tour. See democracy at work during Question Time in the House of Representatives and Senate. It’s not as dry as you think, it’s actually kinda cool. And it’s free. Bonus!
Hipster kids will love the hoods of Braddon and NewActon, and the Old Bus Depot Markets.
Those that are into animals will want to see the National Zoo and Aquarium or the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, and for history buffs, a visit to the National Museum of Australia should be on the cards.
Where to stay in Canberra with kids
Because Canberra has such a transient population, there are heaps and heaps of places to choose from to stay. Lots in the CBD, plenty around the political hotspots, and of course, if you want to get out of the hustle and bustle, there are getaways on the periphery of the city.
Know before you go
Eating in Canberra
One of the best things about eating throughout Australia is all the different cultures, which means food is readily available that is inspired from just about every country on the planet. From fancy to fast to farmhouse, eating out is fabulous in the capital of Australia.
With the raved about food truck scene at The Hamlet and numerous restaurants and cafes to choose from, you’re sure to find something to whet your family’s appetite along Lonsdale Street, Canberra. If you’re partial to an out-of-this-world milkshake, then visit Patissez for a freakshake.
Getting from Canberra airport
With so many coming and going, Canberra has its own airport, of course. There are plenty of shuttle buses, hire car companies and private limousines (if that’s your thing) to ferry you to your hotel. Just ensure you allow plenty of time during peak traffic times to travel. It can get crazy on the freeway. Check out the options.
Public transport in Canberra
Buses run regularly in Canberra through the ACT Internal Omnibus Network (ACTION). There are four main bus stations in the city, and heaps of get-on get-off bus stops to take the family to tourist attractions, entertainment venues and virtually every landmark in the city. There is also a light rail system currently under construction.
Driving in Canberra
If you want to hire a car to get around, there is the added advantage of the Park and Ride services dotted throughout the city. These car-parking facilities are located near major bus stations and stops, and allow you to combine vehicle use with bus travel. An excellent choice, which saves you having to find and pay for parking.
Car Parking in Canberra
Canberra is full of office and government workers, so carparks can get full pretty quickly. There are heaps of street parking, garages and boom-gated undercover facilities, but overstay and you risk a hefty fine. Check out parking tips, maps and fees.
Weather in Canberra
Summers are mild in Canberra (average temps of about 24 degrees C), which makes it the perfect time to visit. Winters are bitter (single digits during July), so if you are going during the colder months, best to wrap yourself up in beanies, gloves and scarves.
Favourite Family Events in Canberra
Enlighten Festival, ANZAC Day at the Australian War Memorial, Floriade, Canberra Wine Festival, Remembrance Day National Ceremony, Nara Candle Festival, Truffle Festival, National Folk Festival. There really is so much to do in Canberra for kids, you may have to call a family meeting!
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Images courtesy of Tourism Australia.