Top 5 Things to do in Canberra

  • Nick Lowes
  • 12 Oct 21

From the vibrant colours of the Australian National Botanic Gardens to the breathtaking views from Mount Ainslie, starring Anzac Parade and Lake Burley Griffin, the nation’s capital truly has something for everyone.

Australian War Memorial exterior by VisitCanberra

Australian War Memorial exterior by VisitCanberra

For sports fanatics, a tour of the Australian Institute of Sport is a must, providing a fascinating insight into the unique lifestyles of our Olympians and Paralympians. Budding scientists will find a haven of interactive exhibits at Questacon, designed to satisfy the curiosity of minds both young and old. With so much to offer, it is tough to pick the cream of the crop, but here are Bunnik’s Top 5 Things to do in Canberra!

1. Australian War Memorial

Housing a world-class museum, shrine and research centre, the Australian War Memorial pays tribute to the sacrifices of men and women who have bravely served in the Australian Armed Forces. The extensive collection of photographs, items, equipment, records and diaries bring Australia’s military history to life as visitors wander in awe through the Memorial’s numerous galleries.

Be sure to stay at the Memorial until approximately 4:45pm, when a truly moving Last Post ceremony is conducted in the Commemorative Courtyard. Each night, as part of the ceremony, a story behind one of the names on the Memorial’s Roll of Honour is shared.

Image credit: Glenis Solly

2. Telstra Tower

Perched at the summit of Black Mountain, it is best to make Telstra Tower one of your first stops in Canberra. Not only is it a great place to find your bearings, but visitors are also rewarded with spectacular 360-degree panoramic views of the city. Be sure to take layers with you during the colder months, as the outdoor viewing deck is notorious for icy winds!

On the lower level of the Tower, you will find the Telstra Heritage Exhibition. The small museum displays a collection of Australian telecommunication devices and equipment, along with a theatre which shows a short film outlining the Tower’s design and construction.


Image credit: Alex Proimos/Flickr

3. Parliament House

Situated on Capital Hill, Parliament House will naturally find its way on to most Canberra itineraries for obvious reasons. The visually stunning and iconic building was inaugurated in 1988 by Queen Elizabeth II, 8 years after architect Romaldo Giurgola’s design was chosen from more than 320 entries in an international competition.

Visitors are free to explore some parts of the building, however to enjoy the full experience, it is best to partake in a guided tour. A private, behind the scenes tour is included with Bunnik, providing the opportunity to delve into Parliament House’s cherished art and furniture collections, among other areas which are otherwise off-limits to the general public.

Image credit: Inger Bunnik

4. National Arboretum Complex

Voted Canberra’s Best Tourist Attraction in 2019, the National Arboretum Complex is a fascinating facility located just a short drive outside Canberra’s CBD. The Arboretum encompasses an enormous 250 hectares, showcasing over 44,000 rare, endangered and symbolic trees.

A beautiful collection of Bonsai and Penjing account for a portion of these tree species, reflecting artistic and cultural influences from Japan and China, displayed in both traditional and modern styles. Among the Bonsai and Penjing exhibit, you’ll also find a fossil dating back to the Jurassic era, in the form of a 165-million-year-old petrified tree stump recovered from Queensland’s Wandoan region.

Image credit: Inger Bunnik

5. National Gallery of Australia

Bringing together an impressive collection of Australian and international paintings, sculptures, photography and more, the National Gallery of Australia is a must-see for art enthusiasts. The collection of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander art is perhaps the most remarkable section of the Gallery, displaying over 7,500 works, making it the world’s largest collection of its kind.

The Gallery is one of the stops included on Bunnik’s unique coach loop, on Day 4 of our Canberra & the Sapphire Coast tour. With free admission, the National Gallery of Australia is the perfect place to spend some free time in Canberra!

Image credit: Jim Bowen/Flickr