YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO WHAT’S ON IN CANBERRA THIS WEEKEND! Every Monday for more than eight…
We’re unlocked, the sun is shining, and summer is unfurling before us—ripe with possibility. So how to spend the next 100 days? We have more than 100 ideas.
Here’s our ultimate boredom-busting, sightseeing, visually-pleasing, foodie-appeasing guide to Canberra (and beyond) for next 100 days. From exhibitions to nature experiences, food and drink to major events, you’re sure to find something that excites you!
1. Say a big SEEYA to 2021
Say goodbye to the year that was and welcome in the New Year (2022 HAS to be better, right?). Pack your own or purchase a picnic hamper and enjoy fireworks displays and roving entertainment along the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in.
2. Get down to The Jetty
Kingston’s The Dock team is taking over the East Kiosk on Lake Burley Griffin. There’ll be food and drink, picnic hampers for sale and lawn games for hire. The East Jetty space will feature the BentSpoke Beer Garden with Mr Papa’s Peruvian Street Food truck, and live music on offer Thursday to Sundays for the entire summer. The West Jetty will have an all-local wine offering, with Tallagandra Hill Winery and other Canberra District wineries as well as pop-up food & drink carts.
3. See an award-winning musical!
Come From Away tells the remarkable true story of thousands of stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland, Canada that welcomed them all in the wake of 9/11. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships. Showing from 3-20 February at Canberra Theatre Centre.
4. Celebrate urban art
Over one weekend, 4–6 March 2022, 15 urban artists will transform the built environment of Braddon and Civic, Canberra. Surface is a festival of urban art in the ACT that celebrates the raw energy and rich diversity of this scene: think graffiti, murals, portraits, stencils, paste-ups, light sculptures, and abstract works, each with a clear message.
5. Explore Braddon’s bustling boutiques
Some of the city’s signature creatives sell their wares from Braddon, providing the perfect opportunity to pick up a local souvenir that would look at home in any magazine. From vintage to designer to hyper-local fashion, some of the city’s best shopping happens here—with plenty of opportunity to stop for sustenance along the way.
6. Take a trip to Hollywood
Australians & Hollywood brings together beloved cinema moments, rare behind-the-scenes footage and costumes and props including the customised steering wheels from Mad Max: Fury Road, spectacular costumes from Moulin Rouge!, and Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin’s art concept books for Romeo + Juliet. Showing at National Film & Sound Archive from 21 January to 17 July.
7. Watch the sunset over Lake Burley Griffin at Armada Outdoor Bar
Whether you’re enjoying drinks with friends or a casual dinner courtesy of The Boat House’s talented chefs, Armada Bar is one of the hottest venues of the summer.
8. Discover a hidden part of the city.
We promise there’s at least one place on here you haven’t visited.
9. Rediscover the NGA.
Soak up works from centuries of diverse voices with exhibitions such as Know My Name and Jeffrey Smart at the National Gallery of Australia.
10. Sip a glass of Grange
Or choose from another 50 wines available by the glass (or 400 by the bottle) at Canberra’s newest wine bar, Brunello. Settle in for some Spanish flavours from head chef Nacho Castells Rusiñol.
11. Play HARD!
This will be Hard Quiz like you have never seen, with audience members pulled on stage for a live roasting from the most brutal quizmaster since the inquisition—Tom Gleeson. Showing at Canberra Theatre Centre from 5–6 March.
12. Soak away your stress
Check in to Canberra’s newest day spa, Adytum Sanctum and spend an hour soaking in its Korean-style bathhouse.
13. Take a road trip
With Bungendore and Braidwood terribly affected by the Black Summer bushfires and COVID lockdowns, there has never been a better time to support our neighbours. Considering both are within 60-minutes’ drive, they make an easy day trip.
14. See treasures from London
From Shakespeare to Winehouse, Darwin to Dickens, the Beatles, Brontë sisters and Beckham, the National Portrait Gallery, London holds the world’s most extensive collection of portraits. While they undergo the largest renovation of their building in 125 years, the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra is the temporary home of more than 80 London treasures. Opens 12 March.
15. Get on your bike!
Take the family mountain biking at Stromlo Forest Park, perfect for thrill-seekers of all kinds.
16. Get in the swim of things
Explore one of Canberra’s many places to swim that aren’t pools.
17. Have a brew at Canberra’s freshest precinct
Pop along to Dairy Road in Fyshwick for a beer at Capital Brewing Co, and a burger or dog from Brodburger.
18. Take to the lake
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 shores of Lake Burley Griffin getting your Vitamin D fix.
19. Pamper yourself
Enjoy a Bellini with your blow-dry at Saloon in Braddon.
20. 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 collectibles.
21. Take a trip to the south coast
Check out the region’s best beaches.
22. Explore Verity Lane Market
Head to Civic’s Sydney building for hawker-style dining from local food vendors who aim to wow and surprise. Think: Ramen Daddy, Uno.Tapas and Pizza Artigiana
23. Get up close and personal with furry friends
Feed a koala or pat a roo at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
24. Keep cool at one of Canberra’s aquatic centres or pools
Whether you like an indoor heated experience or an outdoor dip, there’s a pool to suit.
25. Head to Woden’s newest pub
Head to The Alby for duckpin bowling or pinball!
26. Encounter a bettong
Also known as rat kangaroos, you can find these small, nocturnal marsupials at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary!
27. View the city from on high
Strap on the sneakers and get ready for a challenging climb, or take the car and just enjoy the view—whichever way you get there, Mount Ainslie Lookout offers one of the best vantage points in the city.
28. See a piece of the Moon
That’s right, an actual piece of the moon that’s more than 3.8 billion years old at the Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla.
29. Enjoy cocktail hour
Explore one of Canberra’s best cocktail bars.
30. Learn the story of Canberra
Explore the origin story of Canberra as the capital city of Australia at the National Capital Exhibition at Regatta Point.
31. Sip some delicious local vino at Canberra’s first Riesling bar
Rizla is all about Riesling (and delicious food to go with it). Into different drops? No dramas, owner Andy Day can also sort you out with some delightfully different drops—but don’t blame us if you leave a convert!
32. Put the paddle to the metal
Head down memory lane to Regatta Point jetty to see the crew at Capital Paddle and relive, renew or create for the first time, those iconic paddleboat memories as you pedal your way around the heart of Canberra.
33. Rediscover our cultural icons
Canberra is home to 12 of Australia’s most iconic cultural institutions. From the Royal Australian Mint to the National Film and Sound Archive and Australian Parliament House—there are endless things to discover (or rediscover).
34. Take an alpaca for a walk.
No, really. You can also have conversations with cows or spend time with a donkey!
35. Visit the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets
Delight in the buzzy atmosphere and quality produce, browse the Niche Markets, or pick up something delicious from one of the food outlets. Matcha soft serve with gold leaf, anyone?
36. Immerse yourself in nature
Walk through the leafy trails of the Australian National Botanic Gardens, and perhaps stop for coffee and cake at Pollen Café.
37. Get some serious retail therapy
Make a beeline for 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.
38. Take a trip to Ancient Greece
Check out the latest exhibit at the National Museum of Australia entitled Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes. Open from Friday 17 December, explore competition through sport, politics, drama, music and warfare, illuminated by more than 170 objects from the British Museum.
39. Taste the Canberra Wine Region
40. Make a splash
Cool down on a hot summer’s day at Big Splash Waterpark.
41. See 2020 as you’ve never seen it before
Admire the distinctive vision of Australia’s aspiring and professional portrait photographers and the unique nature of their subjects at the Portrait Gallery as they explore a year like no other: 2020. Living Memory: National Photographic Portrait Prize is showing until 16 January 2022.
42. Have cereal for lunch
Visit Canberra’s very own cereal bar and choose from a menu featuring a comprehensive list of international and Australian brands—including the stuff childhood dreams (and sugar-phobic parental nightmares) are made of.
43. Get creative
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.
44. Take a trip to the zoo!
Get up close and personal with some of the world’s most amazing creatures at the National Zoo & Aquarium.
45. Explore Kingston Foreshore
Stroll along the Kingston Foreshore, grabbing drinks at The Dock or dinner at Molto Italian or Morks. Or perhaps a burger high tea from Beef and Barley is more your style?
46. Have a picnic!
Grab the picnic blanket and some deli delights and head to these picturesque picnic spots.
47. Stroll around the Sculpture Garden
Walk around the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Australia to see artistic styles collide and coexist.
48. Slip, slide and splash
Grab your friends or family and climb your way over Canberra Aqua Park’s giant inflatable obstacle course made up of ladders, slides and a giant jumping pillow.
49. Enjoy Canberra’s most intimate dining experience
In Japanese Omakase dining, customers entrust their meal entirely to the Chef, who selects and serves a menu based on the best-in-market that day. Mu delivers that highly intimate dining experience to just 10 diners at a time—a series of small plates served over 12 to 20 courses.
50. Explore Canberra’s heritage
Look beyond Canberra’s 106 years as an established city with Dharwara Indigenous Tours.
51. Watch the skies
Brighten your morning with a sky full of colourful hot air balloons at the Canberra Balloon Spectacular from 12–20 March 2022.
52. Explore The National Arboretum
The National Arboretum Canberra is a mosaic of living forests and gardens offering breathtaking views, an inspired playground, and a gift shop worth the trip alone.
53. Go skiing!
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!).
54. Have an urban equestrian adventure
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.
55. Do the bridge-to-bridge
Walk, run or ride the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in the cool of the morning or evening.
56. Have a tinny at The Bar at Snapper & Co.
The Bar at Snapper & Co. will be serving up local beers from Capital Brewing Co and wines from the likes of Lake George Winery and Mount Majura Winery alongside a delightfully summery cocktail menu. Pitcher of Pimms, Citrus Sangria, Moscow Mule or Aperol Spritz anyone?
57. Go racing!
Embrace your inner hoon at Power Kart Raceway.
58. Enlighten yourself
Get amongst Enlighten Festival as the Parliamentary Triangle and city precinct are transformed into a vibrant arts precinct with illuminations, free performances and exclusive events from 4–20 March 2022.
59. Get back to nature
Sleep under more than five stars with these camping spots and cabins.
60. Get off the beaten track
Discover some of Canberra’s favourite hidden walks. Shh.
61. Find a new favourite place to eat
62. Get serious about coffee
Learn all there is to know about coffee at ONA Coffee House, where you can see the coffee roasting process first-hand or learn how to make the perfect coffee from the masters.
63. Immerse yourself into the life and art of Vincent Van Gogh
From Saturday 5 March 2022 explore Van Gogh Alive and enjoy a sensory experience like no other.
64. Take your night sky photography to the next level
Connect with outer space in a more meaningful way by taking Ari Rex’s Milky Way Photography Workshop at the beautiful Namadgi National Park.
65. Soak in the symphony
Join the Canberra Symphony Orchestra in Commonwealth Park on 13 March for a balmy evening filled with beautiful music. Sit back, relax and prepare for a night of great tunes and delicious eats.
66. Cool off at Phillip Ice Skating Centre
The perfect way to cool down on a hot summer’s day. Lessons and skate hire are all available onsite.
67. Take a seat at the table
Table at The Truffle Farm offers an 18-course Chef’s Table experience for just 16 diners—all within the bucolic surrounds of a working trufferie.
68. Delve into Canberra’s Secrets
Marg Wade offers everything from kangaroo spotting tours to walking food tours of the city.
69. Check out the Treasures Gallery at the National Library
From maps and rare books to manuscripts, photographs, oil paintings and watercolours, this is where you will find many of the Library’s most unexpected and unique items. Open daily.
70. Visit the Canberra Reptile Zoo
Pat an alligator and see more than 50 species of reptiles and frogs at Canberra Reptile Zoo.
71. 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.
72. Play up!
Spend the day at Yarralumla Play Station, where you can enjoy a game of mini-golf, a ride on the train, or just pat the animals at the mini zoo!
73. Watch the cricket!
Don’t miss the most treasured contest on the cricket calendar – the Ashes. In cricket’s fiercest rivalry, Australia and England will face off in the one and only Test of the Commonwealth Bank Ashes Series at Manuka Oval from 27 January. Then on 8 February, Australia will take on New Zealand in the T20I Match.
74. 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.
75. Spend a day at the Australian War Memorial
Bringing together a world-class museum, shrine and extensive archive, the Australian War Memorial shares insightful stories of our country’s wartime experience.
Plan ahead and book free timed tickets to visit the galleries or attend the daily Last Post Ceremony. The Memorial continues to welcome visitors and remain open during its development.
76. Discover local brews
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.
77. Rock on
Bohemian Symphony The Music of Queen Orchestrated performs at the Canberra Theatre Centre from 27–28 January 2022. The 24 piece symphony orchestra Conducted by internationally-renowned George Ellis will perform Queen’s Greatest Hits including ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘We Will Rock You’.
78. Go up, up and away
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.
79. Join a Segway tour!
Join a SegGlideRide tour around the Parliamentary Triangle and Lake Burley Griffin and master the art of riding this self-balancing two-wheeled machine.
80. Enjoy a drink at Australia’s Best Bar
Well, according to Australian Gourmet Traveller in 2018. Bar Rochford is seriously cool and seriously about the drinks it serves up. While you’re there, stay for the food—it’s every bit as good.
81. Go for a dip
Visit the historic Manuka Swimming Pool and enjoy the character and Art Deco style of Canberra’s very first public swimming baths.
82. Bliss out
Pamper yourself and embrace self-care at one of these places dedicated to helping you find your bliss.
83. Join the circus!
Witness death-defying escapes, mind-blowing illusions, mime and magic, as well as the incredible costumes and world-class artists will keep you on the edge of your seat. Two shows only on Sunday 16 January at Canberra Theatre.
84. Get moving
Feeling one with nature? We’ve rounded up 13 of the best Canberra walks, so strap up your shoes and get moving!
86. Get salty
Music lovers are set for a stellar line-up of artists at Summer Salt, including Missy Higgins, Xavier Rudd, Birds Of Tokyo, The Waifs, Pete Murray, The Dreggs, Tulliah and more at Stage 88 on 26 February. Enjoy live music, family-friendly activities, local market stalls, food trucks, and a day in the sunshine.
86. Go where everybody knows your name
Hit up one of these excellent Canberra pubs for a brewski.
87. Visit Canberra’s smallest gallery
Visit one of the northside’s hidden treasures—and Canberra’s smallest gallery—The Gallery of Small Things (GOST) in Watson. Or book in for a luxury art and wine staycation at the Little National Hotel, featuring GOST exhibition artist Grace Brown of Oh Hey Grace and Lake George Winery.
88. Go behind the lines (Closed until the end of the summer school holidays)
After 12 months of modelling and predictions, Behind the Lines 2021 invites visitors to peer into the political crystal ball and reflect on a year that no clairvoyant could have predicted. From vaccines to submarines, Australia’s greatest political cartoonists will offer their unique takes on the unforeseen events of the past year.
89. Pop along to The Pop Inn
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!
90. Float along the Murrumbidgee River
Swimming in the Murrumbidgee River is a favourite of locals and one of the easiest and cheapest ways to cool down. Canberra is lucky to have 66km of the river for swimming, kayaking, fishing, camping, barbecue-ing and of course, lilo floating.
91. Use your noodle
Dates are yet to be publicly released, but the Night Noodle Markets will be back in late February/early March 2022! Wear your stretchy pants and get ready for bao, burgers, Asian BBQ and everything in between!
92. Taste one of Canberra’s farmers markets
Fresh produce, drool worthy pastries and beautiful blooms: what’s not to love about the farmers markets? Whether you’re looking for the perfect ingredients for a new recipe or just shopping to support local, check out the best markets in the Canberra region.
93. Buy local
If you’re in the market for Canberra-specific merchandise, you can’t go past POP Canberra—a former pop-up shop which seeks to support makers, artists and local business which is now a permanent bricks and mortar emporium of Canberra’s best things. Take a little piece of the city home with you—perhaps a ‘bus shelter’ pin, Canberra candle or even a local gin.
94. Lights! Canberra! Action!
See the work of Canberra’s talented filmmakers at an outdoor movie screening on 11 March as competition sparks creativity.
95. Burn rubber
Think 100,000+ people from across the country, 2,000+ crazy cars, 4 days of automotive heaven, plus a great music line-up and concerts featuring Hooligan Hefs, Kerser and Hot Dub Time Machine just to name a few. Yep, Summernats is back from 6 to 9 January.
96. Have a laugh!
Canberra Comedy Festival returns from 16–27 March bringing some of the biggest names in comedy to town, including Tripod, Tony Martin, Kirsty Webeck, The Stevenson Experience, and Emma Holland. Don’t miss the Gala!
97. Play Outside!
The Great Haig Park Water Fight comprises two fun-packed sessions—you just need to grab your friends, a picnic, a water pistol and towel! The Soul Defender will be playing music throughout the day, and there’ll be coffee, as well as goodies from The Italian Place Providore & Bottega and drinks from BentSpoke Brewing Co.
98. Drink in the views
Lerida Estate has taken over the deck at the Canberra Visitor’s Centre for a pop-up wine bar over the coming summer months. Book the five-course tasting experience for each hour between 12–4 pm each day (complete with antipasto platter put together by the team at The Italian Place) or simply rock up and snare a wine barrel to lean on. You can sample one of five wines by the glass, with the wine list changing weekly.
99. Wish Canberra a happy birthday
Make the most of the public holiday and enjoy an array of Canberra Day festivities on 14 March. Stay on to celebrate the final night of Enlighten Illuminations.
100. Have the Best. Chardy. Ever.
Wine Machine returns to Commonwealth Park on 19 March with a line-up including PNAU, Benee, The Presets, Thundamentals, Babe Rainbow, Art vs Science, Harvey Sutherland and Mell Hall.
101. Game on!
Cancon boasts tournaments for miniature wargames, board games, card games and role play games. They also have trade stands from across Australia as well as a public participation games area and a game library where you can play with friends from around the country. On 22–24 January at Exhibition Park In Canberra.
102. Grin and beer it
Featuring more than 40 exhibitors from around Australia, the Canberra Craft Beer & Cider Festival on 19 March features the ‘best of the best’, with opportunities to meet the brewers, enjoy beer-food matching and demonstrations by master brewers. There’s also live entertainment, food and family-friendly activities.
103. Indulge your inner child
Bounce on the world’s largest inflatable bouncy castle when Big Bounce comes to Canberra between 4–6 March 2022.
104. Smash something (safely)
‘Smash a computer with a baseball bat…?’. That’s exactly what ‘break room’ Breakr offers—the chance to decimate office furniture, dinnerware or whatever you like really with a weapon of choice. Wearing full safety gear, of course.
105. Get to know Canberra
A vibrant place in the heart of the city, Canberra Museum and Gallery celebrates the region’s social history and visual arts with dynamic exhibitions and unique programs and events.
106. See the world in miniature
Been a while (or ever) since you’ve visited Cockington Green Gardens? Maybe it’s time to re-embrace your inner child and explore this charming tiny world.
107. Explore Canberra’s newest gallery
Grainger Gallery marks Fyshwick’s new Dairy Road precinct as a true arts and culture destination. Featuring works by local, national and international artists and makers, wander around before gaping at the enormous LESS Pavilion sculpture outside.
108. Throw an axe
Think: bowling, but with axes instead of bowling balls and a wooden target instead of pins. Axxe is Canberra’s only urban axe throwing venue.
109. Take a trip to Hogwarts
(without leaving Canberra). Quizzic Alley has a truly jaw-dropping collection of licensed Harry Potter memorabilia—wizards and witches of all ages are invited to experience a little touch of magic.
110. Discover a treasure trove of local goodness
Tucked away at the Wanniassa Shops, The Markets Wanniassa boasts locally-made spirits, chocolate, jewellery, clothing, pantry staples and much more in a colourful and diverse space.
111. Ride the slide
Ride on Corin Forest’s exhilarating Alpine Slide that descends 1.2km through the forest.
Feature image: Armada Bar. Credit: James Souter