Places to see in Canberra

Listed below are some of the attractions in Canberra. Visit for information on what’s on in Canberra or to receive your free copy of the Canberra Holiday Planner.

National Zoo & Aquarium

The National Zoo & Aquarium (NZA) provides the only zooquarium experience in Australia. See an impressive range of animals, including the largest collection of Big Cats in Australia, as well as the largest inland aquarium. The animals, which include Tigons, giraffes, cheetahs and bears, are housed in some of the largest enclosures for traditional city zoos. Take a Zooventure tour and hand-feed tigers and have bears lick honey from your fingers. You can also pat a cheetah on the Meet-a-Cheetah encounter which will see you inside a cheetah enclosure with one of the zoo’s expert keepers. Visit the National Zoo&Aquarium for a ‘touching experience’.

The National Gallery of Australia

The National Gallery of Australia is the country’s premier art institution – home to more than 100,000 works of art and world-class art exhibitions. The Gallery attracts a diverse audience from all ages through a comprehensive exhibition, permanent display, and travelling exhibitions program. One of its best known paintings is Blue Poles. The National Gallery of Australia’s collections include works of art across four main areas: Australian art, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, Asian art and international art. Works in the Gallery are part of Australia’s national collection. They belong to the people of Australia and are preserved and presented for their enjoyment and education. Be sure to see the Art of the Indian Subcontinent Gallery featuring the largest collection of art, sculptures and textiles in our region, outside of India itself. The Pacific Arts Gallery gives a rare opportunity to view works including spirit masks, adornments and intricately carved sculptures. Materials, including stone, wood, human hair, dog teeth, whale bone and organic weavings, are used to create these works for both rituals and daily living.

Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre

Be fascinated by the hands-on, interactive exhibits at Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre. Questacon should definitely be high on your must see list, especially if you’re travelling with kids. But no matter what age you are, you’ll be fascinated by the only place in Australia where you can free fall from six metres high and take the whole family on a virtual roller coaster ride. Go on a journey of discovery through seven different exhibition galleries. Experience an earthquake, see lightning made before your eyes and understand the science of tornadoes, throwing a ball or the physics of sound. There are more than 200 exhibits and they’re changing all the time. Kids under the age of six are catered for with the specially designed Mini Q exhibition.

Parliament House

See Australian politics in action at Parliament House – home of Federal Parliament – in one of the world’s most acclaimed buildings. Situated in the centre of the nation’s capital, the building is renowned for its impressive architecture, landscaped gardens and collection of Australian contemporary art. The 81 metre flag mast soaring above the building has become the symbol of Canberra. When Parliament is sitting, visitors can observe the process of democratic government. The lively debate of question time at 2pm attracts wide interest and proceedings may be observed from the public galleries. Free guided tours are conducted regularly. Daily tour times are available from the Information Desk. Visitor Brochures in English, French, German, Japanese and Chinese can also be found at the Information Desk. The Queen’s Terrace Café offers sweeping views of the Parliamentary Triangle and Lake Burley Griffin. The Parliament Shop stocks a wide range of quality gifts, souvenirs and books.

National Museum of Australia

Australian and international visitors have an opportunity to explore what it means to be Australian at the National Museum of Australia.Consistently awarded Best Major Tourist Attraction since 2003, the National Museum is the first in the country devoted to the stories of Australia and Australians, exploring the key issues, events and people that have shaped and influenced our nation. The Museum uses three key themes of Land, Nation and People to tell the story of Australia and Australians. State-of-the-art technology and exhibition design present the stories of the collection in an exciting and inventive manner, including the use of multimedia, live performances, hands-on activities and guided tours to appeal to a wide range of audiences. Excitement and innovation are not just limited to the exhibits – the colourful building itself is now an architectural landmark, one which compliments the beautiful surroundings.

Old Bus Depot Markets

The national award-winning Old Bus Depot Markets is one of Australia’s favourites, held each Sunday from 10am – 4pm, and Saturdays in December.Set in an old industrial building, the market features high quality handcrafted and home produced goods which showcase the region’s creativity. Stalls include contemporary homewares, timber furniture, bonsai, jewellery, millinery, ceramics, toys, soap, perfumes and more. Savour a multicultural meal, or taste a myriad of outstanding gourmet foods, regional wines and local produce.

The Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial commemorates the sacrifice of Australian men and women who have served in war. Through its exhibitions the Memorial presents stories of Australians at war, in armed conflict and during peacekeeping activities. With its ceremonial areas, extensive exhibitions and research facilities, the Memorial has, since the present facility was opened in 1941, become a significant and important part of the National Capital. Each gallery contains magnificently presented relics, artworks, photographs and personal items that help define Australia and Australians. The focus of commemoration is the Hall of Memory, together with the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier, the Pool of Reflection, and the Roll of Honour listing 102,000 Australian servicemen and women who have died in war.

Cockington Green Gardens

Explore the world in miniature at Cockington Green Gardens. See highly detailed miniature buildings and magical landscaped gardens in this amazing display. The expanding display now features model buildings from more than 25 countries around the world. See the Braemer Castle from Scotland, the famous St Andrew’s Church from the Ukraine and many more. You will be amazed at the attention to detail in the miniature replicas of actual buildings. Figurines, sound and movement bring each scene to life.Spectacular gardens attract many comments from visitors. Lush green lawns, miniature and dwarf varieties of plants and thousands of colourful annuals make an amazing setting for this unique display. Morning or afternoon teas and light lunches are available in the relaxing indoor/outdoor Garden Café. Other facilities include free gas BBQs, picnic and playground areas, and miniature steam-train rides. Cockington Green is conveniently located just 15 minutes from the centre of Canberra.

Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex

See a piece of Moon rock and learn all about NASA at the Visitors Centre at the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex.For the past 40 years this Complex has played a key role in the exploration of space as part of NASA’s Deep Space Network. The Complex at Tidbinbilla features four giant antennae including the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Take a look around the Canberra Space Centre where you can see a sizeable piece of 3.8 billion-year-old Moon rock, watch a space movie, check out what the well-dressed astronaut wears, and get the latest space news.

High Court of Australia

See Australia’s highest court of appeal in a striking building by Lake Burley Griffin that features a seven storey high public hall and stunning waterfall. The High Court features three courtrooms and an impressive public hall adorned by murals depicting the development of the Australian nation and its Constitution. Interpreting and upholding the Constitution is one of the important functions of the High Court, together with interpreting Federal Law and hearing cases referred from other courts. High Court sittings are open to the public. The building was opened in 1980 and was the result of a national architectural competition.

Canberra Centre

The ultimate shopping destination, Canberra Centre offers the city’s best collection of fashion, lifestyle and food retailers.

Home to David Jones, Myer, Target, Big W, Supabarn Supermarket and Dendy Cinemas, Canberra Centre boasts 300 stores including the cream of Australia’s fashion retailers such as Hugo Boss, French Connection, Saba, Sportscraft, Guess and Jag to name a few.

Offering an exceptional contemporary shopping experience in a sun-filled, relaxed and friendly atmosphere, Canberra Centre is ideally located in the CBD and open seven days a week. It is easily accessible by all modes of transport and offers 5,000 car parking spaces.

So whether you’re after something in particular, or just a great place to wander amongst the city’s best collection of fashion, lifestyle and food retailers, Canberra Centre is the ultimate shopping destination.

DFO Canberra

DFO Canberra is home to over 100 leading Australian and international brands. They offer discounts of up to 70% off normal retail prices. DFO Canberra features the successful formula of ladies’ and men’s fashion, children’s wear, footwear, handbags, jewellery, accessories, Manchester, sporting goods and apparel. Food court and ample parking available.

Manuka and Kingston

The small 1920s shopping centres of Manuka and Kingston are just a five-minute walk from each other – ask a local for directions. Splurge on Australian and international designer labels, beautiful antiques, gourmet food, high quality homewares and exquisite jewellery amongst the cafe-lined streets.

Balloon Aloft

Experience Canberra in the best possible way with Balloon Aloft – Canberra’s original balloon rides operator. From the magnificent edifice that is Parliament House, to the elegantly laid out suburbs coming to life below, ballooning will give you a whole new perspective of the peace and tranquillity that is Canberra. The memories will last a lifetime.