7 ways to spend a rainy Canberra weekend

Amanda Whitley

We’re in for a bit of a rainy weekend, and while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with pulling on the uggs and taking to the couch with a good book or DVD, if you’re keen for a little more action, we’ve rounded up seven things to do while remaining nice and dry.

1. Explore our heritage

The Canberra and Region Heritage Festival theme for 2015 is ‘Conflict and Compassion’. Just how has our identity and heritage been shaped by conflict and compassion? With over 100 events, most free and many inside, you can enjoy tours, open days, dances, talks, dinners, markets and more. On until 26 April at various venues and locations. Check the website for programming times.


Explore the region’s history at the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival


2. See a show

Whether you’re into theatre of music, there’s lots on this weekend.

Tonight and Saturday (matinee and evening performance) is your last chance to see Bell Shakespeare’s As You Like It is an adventure of the heart, a journey through a forest of poetry (and lions), and a tale of a love so grand all the rules are broken to win the heart of a boy. Villains. Tickets from $35 through Canberra Theatre Centre.


Catch the last few performances of Bell Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ at Canberra Theatre Centre.


The Street Theatre has some big names on stage this weekend, with Jordie Lane returning to Australia for his first national tour in 18-months, playing songs from his latest EP Not Built To Last and acclaimed records Blood Thinner and Sleeping Patterns tonight, Friday 17 April. Then on Saturday 18 April, Khan Manuel, described in guitar magazines around the world as one of the new guitar heroes, showcases songs from the new album The Message. Combining soulful playing with blistering fretwork, soaring solos and memorable melodies, witness firsthand why many have categorized Manuel’s playing in the same league as guitar legends Joe Satriani and Steve Vai.

The High Court continues their series of free concerts with To Heaven and Back on a Swing at 1:30pm this Sunday 19 April. Combining the talents of The Night Café, As Famous as the Moon and Andante Andante, they’ll create soaring harmonies with classic jazz numbers, Cuban salsas, an Argentinean tango, French café tunes, songs from the Romany and Gypsy Swing traditions and the sweet harmonies of ABBA. Online booking necessary for entry.

3. Head to the markets

Loads of markets on this weekend – we’ve rounded up a selection that will let you snag lots of great stuff, while undercover!

Canberra Baby & Kids Market is on this Saturday 18 April at EPIC and is a great place to stock up on furniture, prams, toys, clothes, books and just about anything imaginable for babies and children. Mums sell their gently used baby and kids goods at very reasonable prices and it’s a fun way to grab some amazing bargains while recycling at the same time.

If you love community events, pop along to the Mother’s Day Markets from 10am to 2pm tomorrow at Kambah Scout Hall. It promises plenty of great stalls, Henna Tattooing and face painting, jumping castle, sausage sizzle, pies, ice cream and more.

If you love fresh produce, the Capital Region Farmers Market at EPIC is the place to be from 7:30am to 11:30am tomorrow. Be tantalised by fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers, seafood, cakes, condiments, meats, cheeses and more.

Round out your weekend with the Old Bus Depot Markets. They’re on from 10am to 4pm on Sunday and boast 200 stalls offering unique handcrafted items, gourmet take home food, regional wines, and freshly ground coffee. Join the hustle and bustle on Wentworth Avenue in Kingston.


Round out your weekend with a trip to the Old Bus Depot Markets.


4. Keep the kids entertained

The National Dinosaur Museum holds tours every weekend – join one of their expert staff to experience a journey through time in a fun and educational tour suitable for all ages. These 30-minute tours are free with admission and run every weekend at 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm.

Or maybe head to one of our national institutions – as it’s school holidays, there’s a lot of emphasis on fun. At the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, you can stand up, muck up, dress up, make up, think up and step up in Play Up  – a fabulous space that has turned the traditional idea of what goes on in museums completely on its head. The exhibition has been developed with children and celebrates the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Open from 9am to 5pm daily until June 2015.

Just across the road (and the lawns) at the National Portrait Gallery, you can explore the lives of Australia’s greatest adventurers through interactive art carts, dioramas and dress ups in the Portrait Gallery Adventure Family Space. Select, cut out and draw yourself while styling it up with your choice of moustache inspired by the Gallery’s portrait collection. Or if photography is more your thing, you can select one of their facial hairy props and pose for the photo booth. All materials provided and free for all to enjoy! From 11am to 4pm daily.


Dress up and play up at the Portrait Gallery Adventure Family Space.


5. Take in an exhibition

Get caught up in the spirit of ANZAC at one of the exhibitions around town, including the National Museum of Australia’s The Home Front, which looks at life back at home and the pride, sorrow, passion, wonder and joy experienced by those far from the battlefields. Crisis 1914! The call to arms at Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House explores the political events which led to Australia’s involvement in the First World War, from outbreak of war in August to the first convoy’s departure in November 1914. And at the National Library of AustraliaKeepsakes: Australians and The Great War is a fascinating collection of wartime albums, medals, letters and diaries.

If you haven’t yet got along, time is running out to see the National Gallery of Australia’s blockbuster James Turrell: A Retrospective. You can read our review here. Tickets are available to purchase through Ticketek but bookings are also essential as only 15 people are allowed through in any one session.

Virtuality squared 2014. Ganzfeld: built space, LED lights (800 x 1400 x 1940.5 cm overall) Collection James Turrell. Photograph: National Gallery of Australia

Experience James Turrell: A Retrospective. Virtuality squared 2014. Ganzfeld: built space, LED lights (800 x 1400 x 1940.5 cm overall) Collection James Turrell. Photograph: National Gallery of Australia


And at the National Museum of AustraliaWarlpiri Drawings: Remembering the Future tells the story of an intriguing collection of artworks created by Warlpiri people in the 1950s. Glimpsed through the eyes of the collector as well as more recent Warlpiri interpretations, Warlpiri Drawings explores how drawing has been used to make sense of 80 years of monumental change, to picture life in the present and look hopefully towards the future.

If you’re after something a little lighter – but no less fascinating, you can explore Australia’s TV, radio and music collection at your leisure in the National Film and Sound Archive‘s latest screen and sound experience– The Front Room. Discover the history of sound, music and broadcast in comfort. Listen to radio broadcasts on a 1950s radiogram, watch classic TV in the lounge space or play CDs on one of the listening posts.

6. Get some comfort food in your belly

Whether you’re into French pastries or a cornucopia of cupcakes; warming Indian cuisine or great coffee and toasties in the suburbs, there’s some comfort food out there to fill your belly.

Also check out our pick of gluten free eating around the city, and some of our favourite ‘cosy’ places to dine. Or try something new! We’ve rounded up five new places to eat in Canberra.

Head out of town to Grazing in Gundaroo - one of our favourite 'cosy' places to eat.

Head out of town to Grazing in Gundaroo – one of our favourite ‘cosy’ places to eat.

7. Watch a movie!

Whether it’s the family-friendly Cinderella or something a little more adult, check out our film reviews to find something to watch this weekend.

What other rainy day ideas do you have?

Feature image of commuters on a rainy day from shutterstock.com


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