Southpoint Teaser Masthead

Highlights of Enlighten 2018

Molly McLaughlin

That time of year when Canberra is lit up with colour, sound and delicious food is fast approaching: Enlighten Festival!

From 2 to 18 March, there will be heaps of things to eat, see and explore around the city. There’s the Night Noodle Markets of course, plus the amazing illuminations from2-11 March. But Enlighten 2018 is bigger than ever, and we’ve collected our top event picks so you don’t miss a thing.

A stellar lineup of female musicians

Music is taking centre stage at Enlighten this year, with everything from rock, folk and electro on the lineup. We are particularly excited to see local Canberra punk band Betty Alto grace the Enlighten main stage at 6 pm on Friday 9 March. Sydney-based multi-instrumentalist Exhibitionist will follow up with a set at 9 pm on the same day. On Saturday 10 March, West Australian songwriter Teischa will perform at 6 pm. Check out the full musical lineup here.

Light and Dark Night Tours of the Botanic Gardens

Ever wanted to get below the surface of one of Canberra’s favourite attractions? The Light and Dark Night Tours of the National Botanic Gardens are the perfect opportunity to explore the misty rainforest or the intriguing red centre. Ranger-led and family-friendly, the tours will run on 2, 3, 8 and 9 March from 7:30-9:30 pm.

Tickets are $27.60 for adults and $22.50 for kids.

Night Photography workshops

Irene Lorbergs from the Canberra School of Photography will teach a three-hour workshop on the 14 and 15 March at the Botanic Gardens. Covering everything from sunset to dusk and the black of night, she will teach participants the tips and tricks of plant photography in different lights.

Adult tickets are $78.60.

Float with the (Jelly) Fish

As part of Enlighten, Canberra Centre will have giant Jelly Fish positioned around the centre. Walk under them and watch them flash when they sense human interaction. As you walk under these six mysterious and spectacularly beautiful ancient sea creatures 3600 LED displays will bring them to life. Inspired by the bio luminous lighting responses of real-world jellyfish, these light sculptures will capture your imagination.

For the little ones, collect a jellyfish trail map from customer service and spot all the jellyfish for a special gift.

Click here for more information.

Masquerade Party With a Twist

On Friday 2 March, an Enlighten masquerade party will take over Parliament House. Music, local food and wines and even a martini bar will be on offer, so grab a mask and your most dazzling frock for an unforgettable night.

Tickets are $113.25 (inclusive of food & drinks).

Food, Fun and Fireworks!

For an exclusive view of the Hit 104.7 Skyfire fireworks on the 17 March, join the party at the Parliament House Members and Guests Terrace from 6:30 pm.With DJs, street food and local wines, this is your ticket to the place to be for Skyfire.

Tickets are $103.05 for adults or $206 for a family (2 adults & 2 children, inclusive of food & drink).


Each year, the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House puts on an exhibition that truly hands the museum back to its visitors. This year, this will come in the form of Castle of Cards, an interactive exhibition that allows people to create their own card to add to the colourful castle.

Dinner Under The Stars

The Arboretum indisputably offers some of Canberra’s best views, and on Wednesday 7 March the Discovery Garden will be hosting a gorgeous dinner under the stars.

Featuring a seasonal menu of fresh, locally sourced produce prepared and designed by award-winning chef Janet Jeffs, diners can watch the laser show in the Parliamentary Triangle as well as taking in all the Arboretum has to offer.

Tickets are $103.

Get Groovy at the National Library

To celebrate 50 years since the building opened in 1968, the National Library is letting its hair down on Friday and Saturday nights during Enlighten.

Friday nights will be fun for the whole family with ’60s music and dance as well as arts and crafts stations. On Saturdays, local musicians will perform swinging ’60s tunes. There will also be food and drinks, psychedelic lighting, and free tours of the library’s 1968: Changing Times exhibition, so make sure to drop by.

These events are free, on Friday nights (2nd and 9th March) from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm and Saturday nights (3rd and 10th of March) from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm.

Surreal Night

Visit Canberra Glassworks’ galleries on 8 March to experience a collection of fantastical demonstrations, installations, and collaborations from internationally renowned artists.

The exhibition of Penny Byrne’s Hurt Locker and Harriett Schwarzrock’s pulsating life-size hearts will steal the show, and there will even be the opportunity to make your own piece of surrealist memorabilia.

Tickets are $21.50 adult and $16.40 concession/child.

Twilight on the Savannah

The recently opened savannah at the National Zoo & Aquarium will be transformed into an exotic picnic area from 5:30 pm on the 3 and 10 March. Visitors will be serenaded by the classical string quartet Mostly Mozart and be able to explore the new grounds and nearby animal residents, including giraffe and rhinos. Guides will also be introducing some friendly reptiles and dingoes.

Tickets are $93.85 for a family (2 adults & 2 children).

Neon Circus

Neon Circus. Photo: Photox – Canberra Photography Services.

Circus performers, sculpture and giant artwork projections will transform the National Gallery of Australia on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 March. A colourful Indonesian-inspired space will be open to explore, as well as the creative Animal Kingdom where you can make your own headdress before the parade.

The NGA Play: Indieguerillas will also be open for business, where you can create your own digital avatar and shadow puppets for display. A No Lights No Lycra session will also take place in the Gandel Hall, where you can dance like no one’s watching.

This is a free event, but bookings are essential.

the essentials

What: Enlighten 2018
When: 2-18 March
The Enlighten Illuminations (projections & installation’s) run from 2-11 March
Where: Various locations around Canberra. Click here for more information.
More information:


Molly McLaughlin

Molly McLaughlin was less than thrilled to move to Canberra a couple of years ago to study Arts and Economics at ANU, but she can confirm the city has grown on her since then. Along with writing for HerCanberra, she spends her time reading, eating noodles and planning her next adventure. More about the Author

Denman W18 Leaderboard