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Summer in Canberra: 122 ways to spend 122 days

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“There’s nothing to do in Canberra over summer”—Yeah right. 

While there are technically only 91 days of summer, there are 122 days between the publication of our fresh summer Magazine: Shine and the next edition—so we’ve given you the ultimate guide on how best to fill those days.

You better get cracking!

1.

Image via Facebook

Slide, climb and bounce at Canberra Aqua Park—Lake Burley Griffin’s newest summer attraction.

Want 20% off tickets? Just enter her20 at the checkout and thank us later!

hercanberra.com.au/everything-you-need-to-know-about-canberra-aqua-park

2.

Rizla. Credit: Ashley St George/Pew Pew Studio.

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.

drinkrizla.com.au

3.

Soak up works from the masters at Matisse & Picasso at the National Gallery of Australia from 13 December to 13 April.

A rivalry for the ages, learn the story of these two warring pioneers through some of their best-loved work.

nga.gov.au

4.

Gunning. Credit: Tim Bean.

Take a road trip to one of Canberra’s neighbouring towns for some regional deliciousness and sightseeing. Jugiong, Bungendore, Gundaroo, Braidwood and Gunning are all within 90 minutes’ drive and make an easy day trip.

5.

Take the family mountain biking at one of Canberra’s favourite spots.

hercanberra.com.au/three-canberra-mountain-biking-locations-you-must-try

6.

Hale Spa.

Immerse yourself in one of Canberra’s most decadent day spas.

hercanberra.com.au/our-favourite-canberra-day-spas

7.

Escape the hustle and bustle at a quiet cabin or campground.

hercanberra.com.au/cabin-fever

8.

Explore one of Canberra’s many places to swim that aren’t pools.

hercanberra.com.au/swim-canberra-summer-2020

9.

Enjoy live music, dancing and food and drink as you chill to Summer Sounds at the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

parksaustralia.gov.au/anbg 

10.

Capital Brewing Co. Image: Tim Bean.

Check out one of Canberra’s freshest new precincts—Dairy Road in Fyshwick. Capital Brewing Co and Brodburger await with shady seating and refreshing brews.

capitalbrewing.co

11.

Pialligo Estate’s Market Grill.

Hunt for a new favourite at one of Canberra’s newest eateries.

hercanberra.com.au/food-drink

12.

Enjoy a Bellini with your blow-dry at Saloon in Braddon.

saloonco.com.au

13.

Credit: Ashley St George.

Take a trip to Italy at Amici,  the city’s newest wine bar and deli.

amici.bar

14.

Get cultural at one of the small galleries around town.

hercanberra.com.au/art-trail

15.

Feed a koala or pat a roo at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

tidbinbilla.act.gov.au

16.

Did someone say croquet and rosé? Take your summer events to the next level at Pialligo Estate’s luxe Pialligo Fields bar.

thepialligoestate.com.au/pialligo-fields

17.

Keep cool at one of Canberra’s aquatic centres or pools—whether you like an indoor heated experience or an outdoor dip.

hercanberra.com.au/canberra-pools

18.

Head to Braddon’s biggest venue—Assembly—for breakfast, lunch, drinks, dinner—or all four.

assemblycbr.com.au                   

19.

Encounter a bettong at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary!

mulligansflat.org.au     

20.

View the city from on high at Mount Ainslie Lookout.

environment.act.gov.au

21.

See a piece of the Moon that’s over 3.8 billion years old at the Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla.

cdscc.nasa.gov 

22.

Drink in the views (and the cocktails) at Canberra’s first true rooftop bar, Howling Moon.

canberrarexhotel.com.au

23.

Learn the story of Canberra as the capital city of Australia at the National Capital Exhibition at Regatta Point.

nca.gov.au 

24.

Try Float Yoga (yoga in a pool on a float!) with Salti.

salti.com.au

25.

Head out on a self-piloted GoBoat for a day on Lake Burley Griffin for the chance to picnic on the water and shout ‘aye aye captain!’ (you know you want to).

goboat.com.au

26.

Play tourist and visit one of our national institutions like the Royal Australian Mint, High Court or Australian Parliament House.

ramint.gov.au
hcourt.gov.au
aph.gov.au

27.

Take a llama for a walk.

alpacamagic.com.au

28.

Visit the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets and delight in the buzzy atmosphere and quality produce.

fyshwickfreshfoodmarkets.com.au

29.

Get some serious retail therapy at Canberra Centre, where you’ll find everything from premium brands such as Husk and Sass & Bide to high street favourites like Zara and H&M.

canberracentre.com.au

30.

Ring in 2020 at one of the New Year’s celebrations around town. From fireworks in Civic Square to sophisticated drinks with friends, there’s a party to suit your vibe!

hercanberra.com.au/nye2019

31.

Visit some of Canberra’s most stunning portraits at The Look, an exhibition of 68 stunning contemporary photographs, including snaps of Heath Ledger, Ian Thorpe, Layne Beachley and Marcia Langton. Showing at the National Portrait Gallery until 9 February.

portrait.gov.au

32.

Shaw Vineyard in Murrumbateman.

Taste the Canberra Wine Region at more than 35 wineries.

canberrawines.com.au

33.

Cool down on a hot summer’s day at Big Splash Waterpark.

bigsplashwaterpark.com.au  

34.

Burn rubber! Join the throngs of car enthusiasts at Australia’s premier automotive lifestyle festival—Summernats from 2 to 5 January 2020.

summernats.com.au

35.

Frugii. Image by Rebecca Doyle Photography

Have the best (and perhaps the most wacky) Canberra-made ice cream you’ve ever licked at Frugii Dessert Laboratory.

frugii.com

36.

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.

canberraglassworks.com

37.

Get up close and personal with some of the world’s most amazing creatures at the National Zoo & Aquarium.

nationalzoo.com.au

38.

Enjoy fresh fish and chips on the lake’s edge while listening to live music on the weekend at Snapper on The Lake

cscc.com.au/snapper

39.

Kingston Foreshore. Image: Martin Ollman

Stroll along the Kingston Foreshore, catching drinks at The Dock or dinner at Molto Italian.

40.

Seek respite from the heat in the Australian National Botanic Gardens’ Rainforest Gully.

anbg.gov.au

41.

The National Gallery of Australia.

See what makes the National Gallery of Australia so phenomenal.

hercanberra.com.au/five-must-see-nga-experiences

42.

Celebrate Australia Day with music, food and fireworks at Regatta Point on 26 January.

eventsact.gov.au 

43.

Take the lift to the top of Telstra Tower for 360° views of Canberra.

telstratower.com.au

44.

Rebel Muse.

Spend a day browsing the beautiful independent boutiques of Lonsdale Street in Braddon.

hercanberra.com.au/cpstyle/best-canberra-boutiques

45.

Eat, drink, laugh and dance around the world at the 2020 National Multicultural Festival from 21 to 23 February.

multiculturalfestival.com.au 

46.

Look beyond Canberra’s 106 years as an established city with Dharwara Indigenous Tours.

thunderstone.net.au

47.

Image: Supplied

Brighten your morning with a sky full of colourful hot air balloons at the Canberra Balloon Spectacular from 7 to 15 March.

enlightencanberra.com

48.

Explore The National Arboretum, an endless natural playground.

nationalarboretum.act.gov.au

49.

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!).

vertikalsnowsports.com

50.

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.

visitcanberra.com.au

51.

Image: Martin Ollman

Walk or ride the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in the cool of the morning or evening.

hercanberra.com.au/lbg-pit-stops

52.

Shop big brands on a budget at Canberra Outlet Centre.

canberraoutletcentre.com.au

53.

Embrace your inner hoon at Power Kart Raceway.

powerkarts.com.au 

54.

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 28 February to 15 March.

enlightencanberra.com

55.

Enjoy a flourish of fireworks at Hit 104.7 Skyfire on Saturday 14 March.

enlightencanberra.com 

56.

Get popped at Lichtenstein to Warhol: The Kenneth Tyler Collection, featuring some of Pop Art’s best-loved artworks at National Gallery of Australia until 9 March 2020.

nga.gov.au

57.

Watch the sunset accompanied by the perfect soundtrack at Symphony in the Park on Sunday 8 March.

enlightencanberra.com  

58.

Take a thrilling journey through the Dreamworks Universe in DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition – Journey from Sketch to Screen. At the National Museum of Australia until 2 February 2020.

nma.gov.au

59.

Celebrate Canberra’s 107th birthday with local musicians, street food and more at Stage 88 in Commonwealth Park on 9 March 2020.

eventsact.gov.au

60.

Move it! Search the HerCanberra ACTIVE Directory to find a way to move your body.

hercanberra.com.au/active

61.

Escape to the country without leaving town at Pialligo Estate, with an ever-expanding range of restaurants, bars and events to explore.

thepialligoestate.com.au

62.

Installation imagery of Game Masters at ACMI. Courtesy and copyright ACMI. Photographer Mark Ashkanasy.

Get your gamer on at Game Masters: The Exhibition. Until 9 March, the National Film and Sound Archive has been transformed into Australia’s biggest video game arcade with the world’s greatest designers, characters and 80 playable games!

nfsa.gov.au 

63.

Learn all there is to know about coffee—tasting it, making it and more—at a cupping session at The Cupping Room.

thecuppingroom.com.au

64.

Sit back, relax and watch the stars (of screen, and sky) at Sunset Cinema at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. The season runs until 11 January and is packed with new release blockbusters, quirky comedies, award-winning features and cult classics.

sunsetcinema.com.au/Canberra

65.

Become a Ghost Hunter on a torchlight tour illuminated with genuine stories of death, mysterious occurrences and dastardly deeds at Old Parliament House.

moadoph.gov.au

66.

See Australia’s best female cricketers take on England and India in the Commonwealth Bank T20I Tri-Series at Manuka Oval from 31 January to 2 February.

cricket.com.au 

67.

Cool off at Phillip Ice Skating Centre—lessons and skate hire are all available onsite—and their outdoor pool is ready and waiting.

swimskate.com.au 

68.

Image: Martin Ollman.

Delve into Canberra’s Secrets—Marg Wade offers everything from kangaroo spotting tours to walking food tours of the city.

canberrasecrets.com.au

69.

See the handwritten journals of Burke and Wills, Australia’s first gold medal for women’s swimming, the landmark papers of Edward Koiki Mabo and more at the Treasures Gallery at the National Library of Australia.

nla.gov.au 

70.

Pat an alligator and see more than 50 species of reptiles and frogs at Canberra Reptile Zoo.

reptilesinc.com.au

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. 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!

environment.act.gov.au
yarraps.com.au    

72.

Bloc Haus. Credit: Lee/Molonglo Group.

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.

blochaus.com.au 

73.

Take yourself out to the ball game! Get along to The Fort at MIT Ballpark in Narrabundah for one of the Canberra Cavlary’s baseball games.

canberracavalry.com.au

74.

Weather limiting your options? We have you covered (pun intended) with this list of ways to stay entertained (and dry).

hercanberra.com.au/activities-to-keep-you-dry-on-a-rainy-canberra-weekend 

75.

Catch the reigning WNBL champions, the University of Canberra Capitals, in action as they defend their title during the 2019-20 season.

wnbl.basketball/uc-capitals

76.

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.

obdm.com.au

77.

Remember the sacrifice at the Australian War Memorial. Each day at 4.55pm AEST, you can absorb the powerful and sombre Last Post Ceremony which honours one of the 62,000 who gave their lives in service.

awm.gov.au

78.

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.

bentspokebrewing.com.au

79.

Explore Canberra’s food scene with one of EatCanberra’s food walking tours.

eatcanberra.com.au

80.

Catch critically acclaimed author and humorist David Sedaris for an evening filled with storytelling, observations, unpublished tales, audience Q&As and book signings on 19 January 2020.

canberratheatrecentre.com.au

81.

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.

hotel-hotel.com.au

82.

Image: Martin Ollman

Take a hot air balloon flight and finish with a traditional champagne celebration at Hyatt Hotel Canberra.

balloonaloftcanberra.com.au

83.

Join a SegGlideRide tour around the Parliamentary Triangle and Lake Burley Griffin and master the art of riding this self-balancing two-wheeled machine.

segglideride.com.au

84.

Credit: Lean Timms.

Enjoy a drink at Australia’s Best—Bar Rochford—according to Australian Gourmet Traveller. While you’re there, stay for the food—it’s every bit as good.

barrochford.com 

85.

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.

manukapool.com.au

86.

Sample some of the region’s freshest produce at the Capital Region Farmers Markets at Exhibition Park, where you can buy fresh produce direct from the growers and makers.

capitalregionfarmersmarket.com.au

87.

Free-fall down a six-metre slide, freeze your own shadow, experience an earthquake or challenge a robot to a game of air hockey at Questacon.

questacon.edu.au

88.

Get snap happy with this handy guide to some of Canberra’s most stunning locations.

hercanberra.com.au/photography-canberra 

89.

Go bush! Strap on the sneakers for one of Canberra’s best walks.

hercanberra.com.au/best-canberra-walks

90.

Head to the Actew AGL Royal Canberra Show from 28 February to 1 March 2020.

canberrashow.org.au

91.

An old coat rescued. Sir Edmund Barton revealed. Discover an intriguing tale of power, prestige and Australia’s changing ties to Britain in Dress Code: Empire at Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.

Showing until 31 March 2020.

moadoph.gov.au

92.

Visit one of the northside’s hidden treasures—and Canberra’s smallest gallery—The Gallery of Small Things in Watson.

galleryofsmallthings.com 

93.

Retreat from the heat and see a classic film at the National Film and Sound Archive.

nfsa.gov.au

94.

Shop the Handmade Christmas Market which brings together talented artists, designers, stylists, craftspeople and producers all under one roof at EPIC from 6 to 8 December.

handmadecanberra.com.au

95.

Take your pupper for a splash at one of Canberra’s best dog-friendly swimming spots.

hercanberra.com.au/canberra-best-dog-swimming-spots 

96.

Look beyond the usual sites to uncover Canberra’s secrets. Some are out in the open, while others are tucked away…

hercanberra.com.au/canberra-secret-sites

97.

Get inspired at The ShowRoom—Canberra’s largest quality home design, build and lifestyle event—from 15 to 16 February at EPIC.

theshowroomcanberra.com.au 

98.

Get ready to race as the Proximity Canberra Triathlon Festival comes to Canberra on 15 February.

eliteenergy.com.au 

99.

Be mesmerised as a spotlight shines on Canberra’s talented film-makers at Lights! Canberra! Action! On Friday 6 March.

enlightencanberra.com  

100.

Credit: Holly Williams.

Enjoy a decadent day of dining, drinking and dancing in Commonwealth Park at popular garden-party-picnic by day turned fiesta by night, Wine Machine, on 21 March.

wine-machine.com

101.

Witness gravity-defying acts from a troupe of Olympic-standard acrobats and gymnasts in the dazzling Cirque Stratosphere at Canberra Theatre Centre from 10 to 21 December 2019.

canberratheatrecentre.com.au 

102.

See female cricket stars from Australia, Bangladesh, England, Thailand, West Indies and Pakistan clash in ICC Women’s T20 World Cup matches in three consecutive days of action at Manuka Oval from 26 to 28 February.

icc-cricket.com/world-t20

103.

Delve into the paintings, portraits and sketchbooks of seminal Australian artist Hugh Ramsay, whose brilliant career was cut short at just 28.

Showing until 1 March 2020.

nga.gov.au 

104.

Snap the perfect picture of stunning architectural projections at the Enlighten Illuminations from 28 February to 9 March.

enlightencanberra.com

105.

The Pop Inn. Credit: 5foot Photography.

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!

thepopinn.com 

106.

Spend Saturdays at the Australian War Memorial this February, presenting a collection of films that connect to the special exhibition ‘The Courage for Peace’.

awm.gov.au

107.

Learn the stories of espionage in the city that has more spies than anywhere else in Australia. Spy: Espionage in Australia is showing at the National Archives of Australia until 27 April 2020.

naa.gov.au 

108.

Werq the world with the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race at Canberra Theatre Centre on 6 February.

Mission leader Michelle Visage is on a journey to save the universe with the help of her intergalactic queens!

canberratheatrecentre.com.au

109.

Indulge in the famous afternoon tea buffet in the heritage-listed Tea Lounge at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra. Scones anyone?

canberra.park.hyatt.com

110.

Explore the gorgeous Hilltops Region, just 90-minutes from Canberra.

hercanberra.com.au/hilltops-girls-weekend-heaven-just-90-minutes-away

111.

Chow down on a burger, Peruvian pork belly or dumplings at COOP—Dickson’s new outdoor food court. You’ll find street food faves Brodburger, Mr Papa and MOMOS there during summer.

Corner of Northbourne Avenue and Morphett Street, Dickson.

112.

Skydive over Canberra to enjoy stunning views of the capital city and the natural beauty of the region from a tremendous, and exhilarating, height.

skydiveoz.com.au

113.

Try out the Riddle Room or Escape Rooms to test your problem-solving abilities.

riddleroom.com.au
escaperoomscanberra.com.au
 

114.

Get into axe-throwing at Axxe Urban Axe Throwing Canberra in Fyshwick. Sound dangerous? It’s truly not.

Each two-hour session begins with a lesson with an instructor, and after a practice throw session, you’ll get to battle it out to see who is the ultimate lumberjack.

axxe.com.au

115.

Pack up a hamper and head to one of Canberra’s most scenic spots for a picnic.

hercanberra.com.au/picnic-spots-canberra

116.

Visit Craft ACT in Civic Square to check out one of their exhibitions of contemporary craft and design or browse the beautiful hand made and local products in their shop.

craftact.org.au

117.

HerCanberra’s Canberra Distillery French Earl Grey Gin.

Make yourself a refreshing gin and tonic with The Canberra Distillery’s HerCanberra French Earl Grey Gin. Serve this colour-changing delight with a slice of lemon and sprig of rosemary for ultimate deliciousness.

hercanberra.com.au/gin

118.

Put a spring in your exercise routine with one of DC Fit’s Bounce mini-trampoline classes. If that’s not your jam, there are plenty of other dance fitness options—from Zumba to Barre and everything in between,

dance-central.com.au/dcfit 

119.

Take a trip to the south coast and check out one of the region’s best beaches.

hercanberra.com.au/beautiful-beaches-south-coast-summer

120.

Check out Sideway for late-night dancing, live music, great wine and pizza. All the cool kids are doing it.

sidewaybc.com

121.

Grab a book (or five) from one of our favourite book stores and escape.

hercanberra.com.au/local-bookshops-canberra 

122.

Take in an exhibition at Canberra Museum and Gallery, which celebrates the region’s social history and visual arts with dynamic exhibitions and unique community programs and events.

cmag.com.au

This article originally appeared in Magazine: Shine for Summer 2019/20, available for free while stocks last. Find out more about Magazine here.

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