Melbourne Cup Masthead

CBR Trails: The Family Itinerary

Amanda Whitley

Canberra has so much to offer families that it would be impossible to fit everything into one day, so for this trail we’ve focussed on some of the truly hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.

7:30am Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve


Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

Rise and shine! Most kids are early risers, so let’s make the most of the day and hit the road, bound for Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, about 45 minutes drive from the centre of the city. Kids will love it – you can see koalas, emus, kangaroos, platypus, the endangered Brush-tail Rock-wallaby, reptiles, possums and echidnas and more! There are always lots of guided walks and activities on offer, and the discovery playground will burn off any leftover energy.

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve | Off Paddy’s River Road, via Cotter Road (Weston Creek), Tidbinbilla |

10am Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex


Sebastian in his space suit.

Next stop is the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. Here you can marvel at the giant antenna dishes that send commands to, and receive data from, spacecraft exploring planets hundreds of millions and billions of kilometres from Earth. Must dos? Check out the piece of the Moon that’s over 3.8 billion years old or the latest images from across the Solar System, see spacecraft models, and discover the foods that astronauts eat.

Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex | 421 Discovery Drive, Tourist Drive 5, Tidbinbilla |

12:00pm Yarralumla Play Station

The restored carriages of the Yarralumla Play Station miniature railway.

The restored carriages of the Yarralumla Play Station miniature railway.

Everyone will be hungry by now, so before getting down to the fun stuff, fill little tums at the Station Stop Café at Yarralumla Play Station, one of the best child friendly cafés in town. Then comes the hard part—deciding what to do first! Take a ride on the miniature train “Bluebell”, play a round of mini golf on the 36-hole Canberra-themed course, or see the animals at the Petite Park Petting Zoo.

Yarralumla Play Station | 9 Pescott Lane, Yarralumla |

2:00pm PLAY UP!

Play Up at Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.

Play Up at Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.

Back in Canberra, head straight for the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House. PLAY UP—The Right to Shelter pokes its tongue out at the idea that museums are hands off and is Canberra’s best keep secret for toddler play, with plenty to offer primary school kids. Let them loose with the new life size cubby, doll houses, craft activities, videos, books, touch screens and more while you chill out in a comfy bean bag with a book or music.

Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House | 18 King George Terrace, Parkes |

3:30pm Brick by Brick


Build your own capital at Play Up!

There’s still time for one last adventure! Head just down the road to Regatta Point and you’ll find Brick By Brick at the National Capital Exhibition. Here, kids can create their own capital or replicate iconic buildings in Canberra using Lego and Duplo blocks, with construction sheets available to copy the design of some of our national institutions.

Brick by Brick | National Capital Exhibition, Regatta Point, Parkes |


Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

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