When I was growing up in country NSW, one of my favourite things to do,…
Staying close to home this summer?
There are 90 days of summer, and every day must count. With the world in 2020 being in a state of constant flux, it can be difficult to know what’s on and to stay in the know.
However, we’ve managed to find activities to keep you preoccupied through summer and beyond, with 91 ideas to spark your imagination.
Here’s our ultimate boredom-busting, sightseeing, visually-pleasing, foodie-appeasing guide to Canberra for your 91 days of summer and beyond.
1. Watch the sunset over Lake Burley Griffin at Armada Outdoor Bar, The Boat House’s newest addition to their lakeside venue.
Whether you’re enjoying drinks with friends or a casual dinner courtesy of their talented chefs, this is promised to be one of the hottest venues of the summer.
2. Discover a hidden part of the city. We promise there’s at least one place on here you haven’t visited…
3. Soak up works from centuries of empowering female voices and displacing narratives of hegemonic masculinity traditionally within the art canon with exhibitions such as Know My Name and The Body Electric at the National Gallery of Australia.
4. Take a road trip to one of Canberra’s neighbouring towns for some regional deliciousness and sightseeing. With Bungendore and Braidwood terribly affected by the Black Summer bushfires, there has never been a more pertinent time to support our neighbours.
Considering both are within 60 minutes’ drive, they make an easy day trip at any stage.
5. Take the family mountain biking at Stromlo Forest Park, perfect for thrill-seekers of all kinds.
6. Treat yourself to a decadent day spa experience at Hale Spa when you’re in need of some self-care. You’d be forgiven for thinking you had teleported to Scandinavia when looking at the über-aesthetic interiors.
7. Escape the hustle and bustle with a tiny home getaway courtesy of In 2 The Wild, located only 30 minutes from the CBD. Offering a secluded opportunity to star-gaze and admire the great outdoors, a tiny home is a perfect way to disconnect.
It also helps that the surrounding towns are famous for their chestnuts, truffles and biodynamic wineries.
8. Explore one of Canberra’s many places to swim that aren’t pools.
9. Walk through the leafy trails of the Australian National Botanic Gardens, and perhaps stop for coffee and cake at Pollen Café.
10. Check out Canberra’s freshest precinct—Dairy Road in Fyshwick. Capital Brewing Co and Brodburger await with shady seating and refreshing brews.
11. Hire an electric Go Boat from the Kingston Foreshore to float around the city’s waterways. Perhaps pack a picnic basket and make a day of it, sitting on the grass of Lake Burley Griffin getting your Vitamin D fix.
12. Enjoy a Bellini with your blow-dry at Saloon in Braddon.
13. Go shopping at Dirty Janes Canberra in Fyshwick. Branching off the success of the Bowral precedent, Dirty Janes is a perfect place to admire an eclectic array of vintage goods and collectables.
14. Take a trip to the south coast and check out one of the region’s best beaches.
15. Explore the new Verity Lane Market in Civic’s Sydney building for hawker-style dining from local food vendors who aim to wow and surprise.
Think: Ramen Daddy, Enoki Project and Pizza Artigiana
16. Feed a koala or pat a roo at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
17. Did someone say croquet and rosé? Take your summer events to the next level at Pialligo Estate’s luxe Pialligo Fields bar.
18. Keep cool at one of Canberra’s aquatic centres or pools—whether you like an indoor heated experience or an outdoor dip.
19. Head to Braddon’s biggest venue—Assembly—for breakfast, lunch, drinks, dinner—or all four.
20. Encounter a bettong at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary!
21. View the city from on high at Mount Ainslie Lookout.
22. See a piece of the Moon that’s over 3.8 billion years old at the Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla.
23. Drink in the views (and the cocktails) at Canberra’s first true rooftop bar, Howling Moon.
24. Learn the story of Canberra as the capital city of Australia at the National Capital Exhibition at Regatta Point.
25. Sip some delicious local vino at Canberra’s first Riesling bar—Rizla. Owner Andy Day can also sort you out with some different drops if Riesling isn’t your style, but don’t blame us if you leave a convert.
26. Only have 24 hours in Canberra? Here’s how to spend it.
27. Play tourist and visit one of our national institutions like the Royal Australian Mint, High Court or Australian Parliament House.
28. Take an alpaca for a walk.
29. Visit the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets and delight in the buzzy atmosphere and quality produce.
30. Get some serious retail therapy at Canberra Centre, where you’ll find everything from premium brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren and Sass & Bide to high street favourites like Zara and Cos.
31. Ring in 2021 (and, more importantly, say farewell to 2020) at one of the New Year’s celebrations around town.
32. Check out the latest exhibit at the National Museum Australia entitled Endeavour Voyage, aiming to provide a more complete version of history surrounding the landing of the First Fleet at Botany Bay.
33. Taste the Canberra Wine Region at more than 35 wineries.
34. Cool down on a hot summer’s day at Big Splash Waterpark.
35. Succumb to the nostalgia of the 70s and 80s and relive the pub rock scene of Australia at the Portrait Gallery, admiring stage photos of arts such as AC/DC, Kylie Minogue, INXS and Midnight Oil.
Showing until 14 February 2021.
36. Have the best (and perhaps the most wacky) Canberra-made ice cream you’ve ever licked at Frugii Dessert Laboratory.
37. See Australia’s leading glass artists in action or take part in a hands-on class at Canberra Glassworks and learn the secrets to flame-working, glass blowing, cold working, kiln forming and casting.
38. Get up close and personal with some of the world’s most amazing creatures at the National Zoo & Aquarium.
39. Enjoy fresh fish and chips on the lake’s edge while listening to live music on the weekend at Snapper on The Lake.
40. Stroll along the Kingston Foreshore, grabbing drinks at The Dock or dinner at Molto Italian.
41. Grab the picnic blanket and some deli delights and head to these picturesque picnic spots.
42. Walk around the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Australia to see artistic styles collide and coexist.
43. Enjoy a drink at one of Canberra’s many alfresco dining options. We would recommend either Public in Manuka, or Tipsy Bull in Braddon.
44. Take the lift to the top of Telstra Tower for 360° views of Canberra.
45. Splash out at Canberra Aqua Park—the coolest fun you can have in Canberra this summer.
46. Visit some of the Canberra region’s most delicious cellar doors with this handy guide.
47. Look beyond Canberra’s 106 years as an established city with Dharwara Indigenous Tours.
48. Brighten your morning with a sky full of colourful hot air balloons at the Canberra Balloon Spectacular from 6–14 March 2021.
49. Explore The National Arboretum, an endless natural playground.
50. Chill out at Vertikal Indoor Snow at the funky Dairy Road Fyshwick precinct, where you can train for skiing and boarding and get snow fit in a simulated snow terrain (minus the snow!).
51. Take a ride on the magical carousel in Petrie Plaza—most of the horses and elephants have names; even Phar Lap has his place on the platform.
52. Walk, run or ride the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in the cool of the morning or evening.
53. Shop big brands on a budget at Canberra Outlet Centre.
54. Embrace your inner hoon at Power Kart Raceway.
55. Get amongst Enlighten Festival as the Parliamentary Triangle and city precinct are transformed into a vibrant arts precinct with free performances and exclusive events from 26 February to 8 March 2021.
56. Sleep under more than five stars with these camping spots and cabins.
57. Move it! Search the HerCanberra ACTIVE Directory to find a way to move your body.
58. Discover some of Canberra’s favourite hidden walks. Shh.
59. Find your newest local with our regular guides on new places to eat in Canberra.
Find the latest list here.
60. Learn all there is to know about coffee—tasting it, making it and more—at a cupping session at The Cupping Room.
61. Sit back, relax and embrace the retro nostalgia of the Mov’in Car Drive-In Cinema at the Questacon Carpark.
Open until 20 December, a night at the drive-in promises pizza, beer and an eclectic assortment of films to explore.
62. Connect with outer space in a more meaningful way by taking Ari Rex’s Milky Way Photography Workshop at the beautiful Namadgi National Park.
63. Spend a day at the National Film and Sound Archive exploring the Life Through the Lens exhibition, which displays highlights of more than 3,000 Commonwealth documentaries and educational short films depicting life in Australia from decades past.
64. Cool off at Phillip Ice Skating Centre—lessons and skate hire are all available onsite—and their outdoor pool is ready and waiting.
65. Delve into Canberra’s Secrets—Marg Wade offers everything from kangaroo spotting tours to walking food tours of the city.
66. Check out Australian Dreams: Picturing our Built World at the National Library, reflecting on 200 years of creative conversations between painters, photographers and printmakers surrounding the built environment. Open until 31 January 2021.
67. Pat an alligator and see more than 50 species of reptiles and frogs at Canberra Reptile Zoo.
68. Head to Weston Park for family fun—ride your bikes on the cycle track, play Bocce or Pétanque or enjoy the water playground and wading pool. Or visit Yarralumla Play Station for a game of mini-golf, a ride on the train, or just to pat the animals at the mini zoo!
69. Try indoor bouldering at BlocHaus—think rock climbing, but without ropes or a harness, and on shorter walls, protected by padding on the ground to bounce off.
70. Looking to plan a romantic interlude? How about these date ideas for nature lovers?
71. Weather limiting your options? We have you covered (pun intended) with this list of ways to stay entertained (and dry).
72. Grab a Neuron e-scooter and cruise around Canberra. As an eco-friendly way to travel, give the car a rest and ride with the summer breeze behind you.
73. The Old Bus Depot Markets are something of a Sunday tradition. Hit them up for more than 200 stalls offering unique handcrafted items, food and wine. Note: The Markets are currently closed, however, they will be reopening soon.
74. Spend a day at the Australian War Memorial this Summer, and check out the new Ink in the Lines exhibition displaying the diversity of tattoo art servicepeople have exhibited to commemorate their military experience.
75. Enjoy a drop of our very own Canberra brews with names such as the Barley Griffin, Mort’s Gold and Braddon Bitter at BentSpoke Brewing Co. in Braddon.
76. Explore Canberra’s food scene with one of EatCanberra’s food walking tours.
77. Hit up the Canberra Comedy Festival Gala at the Canberra Theatre Centre for a night that will have you in stitches on 5 December 2020.
78. Explore NewActon, making sure to head to Ovolo Nishi to dine at Monster Kitchen and Bar. Snap a selfie on the grand staircase in the Nishi building while you are there.
79. Take a hot air balloon flight and finish with a traditional champagne celebration at Hyatt Hotel Canberra. You could even stick around at the heritage-listed Tea Lounge for high-tea with scones, jam and cream.
80. Join a SegGlideRide tour around the Parliamentary Triangle and Lake Burley Griffin and master the art of riding this self-balancing two-wheeled machine.
81. Enjoy a drink at Australia’s Best Bar (according to Australian Gourmet Traveller in 2018), Bar Rochford.
While you’re there, stay for the food—it’s every bit as good.
82. Go for a dip in the historic Manuka Swimming Pool and enjoy the character and Art Deco style of Canberra’s very first public swimming baths.
83. Bliss out with these places to get pampered and embrace self-care.
84. Feeling one with nature? We’ve rounded up 13 of the best Canberra walks, so strap up your shoes and get moving!
85. Hit one of these excellent Canberra pubs for a brewski.
86. Have a playful day out with your pup, looking through this list of dog-friendly spots around town.
87. Visit one of the northside’s hidden treasures—and Canberra’s smallest gallery—The Gallery of Small Things in Watson.
88. Explore the Museum of Australian Democracy’s new permanent exhibition Truth, Power and A Free Press to delve into the complicated relationship between journalism and politics. Who can tell the truth? You’ll have to attend to find out.
89. Check out a hidden bar, whether its High Jinks for their signature rambunctious fun, or Molly for the thrill of the discovery.
90. Paddle, splash and play lakeside this summer with these epic ideas.
Need one more?
Pull up a table for two at The Pop Inn at one of its events around town and enjoy a glass of wine and a charcuterie platter. Track it down via its website!