Visitors to Australia usually opt to visit Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast, and Perth, but as this list will show you, there’s plenty to do in the country’s capital too!
“Who goes to Canberra for fun?!” is a common refrain among visitors and even residents of Australia. Indeed, other than being known as its federal capital, Canberra isn’t exactly top of mind when it comes to vacation spots Down Under. And while it may not have Sydney’s buzzing vibe or the hipster coolness of Melbourne, Canberra actually has a lot do offer by way of outdoor adventures and dining experiences.
1. Go hot-air ballooning
Operated by Balloon Aloft, enjoy an aerial view of the city and its changing seasonal colours high up in the air. For a truly magical experience, opt to do this at sunrise. Then, finish off this exhilarating experience with Champagne at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra.
2. Try some of finest wines Canberra has to offer
There are 140 vineyards and 33 cellar doors in Canberra itself, and most of them are located a mere 30-minute drive from the city. The most common varieties of wine found in Canberra are chardonnay, riesling, pinot noir and shiraz. Some of the vineyards also offer fine dining experiences and truffle-hunting too!
3. Shop to your heart’s content at the Old Depot Bus Markets
If there’s one thing Singaporeans love doing when they travel overseas, it’s checking out some of the local markets. The Old Depot Bus Markets in Kingston are as good as they come, with stalls selling everything from unique jewellery to cute trinkets to decorate your home with. Food-wise, you can also find an interesting mix of cuisines, from Laotian to Spanish and even Ethiopian!
4. Get up close and personal with Australia’s native animals
Set aside a day to check out Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, where you can spot animals such as koalas, platypuses, kangeroos, emus and wombats. If you’d like to linger awhile longer, book a stay at the luxurious Jamala Wildlife Lodge. Don’t be surprised if you see wild animals like lions, tigers, and bears wander freely outside your window!
5. Satisfy your curiosity at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
Who hasn’t dreamed of becoming an astronaut when they were a kid? While most of us won’t live to see that dream fulfilled, a visit to the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, part of NASA’s Deep Space Network, might just be the next best thing. This is where you’ll be able to check out a 3.8 billion-year-old piece of moon rock and find out just what astronauts eat in space. This complex is also one of three in the world that communicated with current space visions via one of the largest communications dishes in the southern hemisphere.
6. Take a selfie at Parliament House
After all, you’re in Australia’s federal capital! As far as government buildings go, this is perhaps one of the more aesthetic pleasing ones you’ll probably come across. Take a lift to the roof where you’ll see a giant Australian flag … taking pictures beneath the massive flag mast is a must-do when you’re there! Guided tours of the Parliament House are also available.
7. If you’re bringing your kids, head to Lake Burley Griffin
Located at the heart of Canberra, the lake is surrounded by galleries, museums, and parks, and has lots of open spaces for kids to run freely. Join the locals in a walk around the lake, or rent a segway for a fun way of exploring the area!
8. Plan your trip to coincide with Floriade
One of Oz’s best known festivals, the area explodes in a riot of colours as stunning garden beds are laid out. At night, enjoy the illuminated wonderland that is Floriade Nightfest, which also has a comprehensive lineup of comedy acts and roving performers, as well as bustling markets. Floriade returns for its 29th year in 2016 from September 17 to October 16.
9. Get your sugar fix at Patissez Cafe
Yep, you’ve probably seen these monster milkshakes aka Freakshakes on Instagram by now! But are they as tasty as they look? There’s only one way to find out …
10. Drink to your heart’s content
Aussies love their booze (or two!) and Canberra has no shortage of charming bars for you to get your drink on. Molly is one such example. Part of the fun lies in locating this little hidden gem, and you’ll be rewarded with expertly mixed drinks and live jazz. If you’re a fan of classic cocktails, head straight for Lucky’s Speakeasy, an intimate bar nestled within QT Canberra with a fully loaded snack menu.