8 Unique ways to explore the fun side of Canberra

Canberra may be our nation’s political centre, but there’s so much more to the Australian Capital Territory than public servants and politicians arguing with each another. 

  • 01 of 08

    Feel like a giant at Cockington Green Gardens

    Cockington Green Gardens
    ••• Richard l'Anson/Getty Images

    Cockington Green Gardens has won countless tourism awards, and for good reason! The meticulous grounds replicate an original English village, complete with miniature buildings set within beautifully landscaped gardens. You can even jump aboard the miniature steam train and ride around the park.

  • 02 of 08

    Put on your thinking caps at Questacon

    Scientific galleries at Questacon
    ••• Phillip Hayson/Getty Images

    Explore distinctly awesome scientific galleries at Questacon, The National Science and Technology Centre. At Wonderworks, you can experience colour, movement and sound as you never have before; enter Awesome Earth and discover the power of nature and the universe (earthquake, anyone?); and pop into the Q-Lab, which froths up with live experiments. Mini-Q also caters to the littler explorers, meaning every traveller will enjoy the hands-on activities on offer. Be sure to set aside at least a half-day.

  • 03 of 08

    Soak in some culture at the National Gallery of Australia

    National Gallery of Australia
    ••• Andrew Watson / Getty Images

    Boasting more than 160,000 works of art, The National Gallery of Australia features works from globally celebrated artists alongside lesser known (but wonderfully talented) Australian creative. See works from Andy Warhol, Picasso, Claude Monet, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Sidney Nolan and so many more. Don’t miss the family activities if you’re travelling with kids, either. 

  • 04 of 08

    Get a bird’s eye view at the Mt. Ainslie Lookout

    Mt. Ainslie Lookout
    ••• Andrew Watson/Getty Images

    Some would argue that the best view of the city can be had from this vantage point, as you can see the ANZAC parade, the War Memorial and Parliament House. There are plenty of walking tracks at Mt. Ainslie for those who like to adventure on foot, alongside picnic areas for visitors who prefer to snack while they explore. On your travels you may encounter some Aussie wildlife, including kangaroos, birdlife, and maybe even the odd wombat.

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  • 05 of 08

    Wander the peaks of Black Mountain

    Black Mountain
    ••• Christopher Groenhout/Getty Images

    Possibly the only outlook that competes against Mt. Ainslie for the best views in Canberra, Telstra Tower rises 195.2 metres above the summit of Black Mountain and offers spectacular 360º views of the city (you can also see the Telstra Tower from virtually all of Canberra). Grab a coffee from the on-site café then explore the surrounding bush walking tracks; where else can you sip a latte while you listen to the kookaburras and watch the kangaroos?!

  • 06 of 08

    Make your own trinkets at Canberra Glassworks

    The Art of making Glassware
    ••• Niklas Bernstone/Getty Images

    A 10-minute drive from the centre of Canberra will deposit you at Canberra Glassworks, where you can see artists in action creating colourful masterpieces of contemporary glass art. If you fancy getting your hands busy, you can make your own paperweight at a glass-making workshop or take yourself on a self-guided tour around the establishment.

  • 07 of 08

    Go back in time by 50,000 years

    Entrance to the National Musuem
    ••• Peter Ptschelinzew/Getty Images

    The Old Royal Canberra Hospital was demolished in 2001 to make room for The National Museum’s new permanent home, which is now home to the world's largest collection of Aboriginal bark paintings and stone tools. Here, you can see the heart of legendary racehorse Pharlap and explore more than 50,000 years of Australia’s Indigenous heritage, including British settlement in 1788, and key events including Federation and the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The multi-award winning tourist attraction also mixes it up with a changing roster of exhibitions and offers incredible ‘Robot Tours’ with Chesster and Kasparov for virtual visitors! 

  • 08 of 08

    Test your fitness at the Australian Institute of Sport

    Olympic Gold Medalist Jodie Henry poses in the AIS Pool
    ••• Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    See where Australia's elite sporting champions live and train at the Australian Institute of Sport's world-class sporting facilities; you can even take a dip in their 50-metre and 25-metre pools, which have spawned many Olympic champions! You can also try wheelchair basketball, virtual downhill skiing, rock climbing, football penalty shootouts and more.