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Canberra: Things To Do With Family (Free And On A Budget)

Outdoor Updated Mar 14, 2022

Canberra is a beautiful Australian city that offers many things to do with your family. There are so many exciting free things to do in Canberra on a weekend or school holidays, like exploring the City, enjoying the great outdoors and letting off steam on the best Canberra playgrounds.

Here're some must-visit places, Canberra kids and family activities, and ideas of what to do in and near Canberra for a day or long weekend with your family: beautiful gardens, nature walks, wildlife reserves, best playgrounds and exciting picnic spots in and around Canberra.

On this page you'll find:


School holidays Australia

Planning to visit Canberra? Check out the dates when the next school holidays start. Here’s the complete list of school holidays for all Australian states.

Online Classes For Kids Of All Ages



Canberra: best places to visit and nature walks

Lake Burley Griffin

Looking for a relaxing way to spend an afternoon with your family? Why not take a stroll by the beautiful Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra's iconic man-made lake. You and the kids will get to take in some of the city's most beautiful sights, including Commonwealth Park, Captain James Cook Memorial, Walter Burley Griffin Terrazzo, Boundless Playground, Australians of the Year Walk and many more!

Lake Burley Griffin Canberra walks trails cicling paths lake view
Lake Burley Griffin. Photo by Kerbray (Google reviews)

Bridge to Bridge is one of the most popular walks in Canberra. This 5-km walk connects Commonwealth Bridge to Kings Avenue Bridge. During your stroll, you'll be able to discover several historical and cultural attractions along the way.

If you love cycling, then cycling around Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin is an adventure not to be missed! With several different paths to choose from, ranging in distance and difficulty, there's something for everyone! So take in the beauty of the lake and its surroundings as you ride, and be sure to explore all the hidden gems this beautiful walk has to offer.

An if you get peckish, don't worry – The Lake offers plenty of great picnic spots!

Are you up for a refreshing dip on a hot day? The designated Lake Burley Griffin swimming areas are:

  • Yarralumla Beach (West Lake)
  • Weston Park East (Tarcoola Reach)
  • Black Mountain Beach (Tarcoola Reach).

Lake Burley Griffin walk map

Here's The Lake Burley Griffin walk map. You can view the full version of the map for a Lake Burley Griffin walking tour here.

Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin walk map, walking tour, most popular walks, Bridge to Bridge walk
Lake Burley Griffin walk map. Source: nca.gov.au

Lake Burley Griffin Parking


National Carillon

The National Carillon is one of the best Canberra attractions for families and couples. This beautiful bell tower, located on Aspen Island in Lake Burley Griffin, offers stunning cityscape views and is perfect for a relaxing afternoon stroll.

National Carillon Canberra at night, Canberra best places to visit
National Carillon Canberra at night. Photo by Bill Perkovic (Google reviews)

The tower is 50 metres tall and home to 55 beautiful bells, playing via a clavier keyboard. So if you're feeling romantic, why not bring your loved one for a picnic on the lawns surrounding the tower and enjoy its majestic sight? And even you can check out the view at night - it's simply breathtaking!

The National Carillon is also home to some of the most enchanting recitals in town. Public concerts are played each Wednesday and Sunday at 12.30 pm. While the National Carillon Recitals are closed for renovations, be sure to check out their updates before your visit!


Pink Lake Bruce ACT

The Pink Lake in the ACT, Bruce, is a hidden gem and one of Canberra's most beautiful and favourite attractions. It's hidden among trees across the road from the University of Canberra.

Bruce Pink Lake is covered with a fantastic blanket of pink water plants - Azolla Pinnata, an aquatic microform native to Australia.

The naturally pink water is a stunning sight and makes it the perfect backdrop for a selfie.

Bruce Pink Lake is about 15 min drive from Canberra CBD: 📍 Eardley Street, Canberra.

Bruce Pink Lake Canberra Australia, Canberra best places to visit
Bruce Pink Lake Canberra. Photo by Hung Li Wen @luciennehung (Twitter)

Mount Ainslie Lookout Canberra

Mount Ainslie Lookout is the best way to take in fantastic views of Canberra and its magnificent setting and design features. Mount Ainslie Lookout offers a panoramic view of the centre of Canberra, set against the breathtaking backdrop of Lake Burley Griffin and Mount Stromlo.

Mount Ainslie Lookout is about 15 min drive from Canberra CBD.

Mount Ainslie Lookout Canberra, best places to visit in Canberra, best Canberra walks
Mount Ainslie Lookout Canberra. Photo by Amit Rathod (Google reviews)

To get there, you can either drive or walk up from the bottom. Located near the War Memorial, you access this lookout by car via a twisty road that offers even more scenic views.

If you have time, enjoy the Mount Ainslie Lookout walk, which can take up to 2.5 hours. The walk starts immediately behind the Australian War Memorial in the suburb of Campbell, with the trailhead in Remembrance Park. The walking path is paved to the top, and sometimes it is very steep. Overall, this is a great walk, perfect in the early morning or evening in the warmer months.

So, bring your camera or a picnic as there are a few picnic tables at the summit of Mount Ainslie to take beautiful photos and enjoy the iconic Canberra skyline in the distance!

Mount Ainslie Lookout address

Mount Ainslie Lookout address: 📍 20 Mount Ainslie Dr, Australian Capital Territory 2609.

Mount Ainslie Lookout dogs

Dogs are allowed on a leash.


Canberra: wildlife reserve, parks and gardens

Jerrabomberra Wetland

If you're looking for a peaceful place to relax and take in some stunning scenery, Jerrabomberra Wetlands is the perfect spot. With over 200 different bird species, this waterbird wonderland is a must-see for nature lovers.

Jerrabomberra Wetlands is about 10 min drive from Canberra CBD.

Jerrabomberra Wetland Canberra wildlife reserve park
Jerrabomberra Wetland. Source: Photo by Paul Thompson (Google reviews)

Bring your little ones to explore the magic of nature at Jerrabomberra Wetland! This park is perfect for a relaxing day out or a fun-filled adventure with the family. With plenty of bird watching opportunities and easy walking paths, it's ideal for visitors of all ages and abilities. Be sure to check out their school holiday activities - your kids will love it!

Jerrabomberra Wetlands accessibility

The walks are wheelchair and pram accessible so that everyone can enjoy the beauty of this unique ecosystem.

Jerrabomberra Wetlands bikes

Bicycles are allowed only on the sealed, shared trail between Eyre Street and Dairy Road.

Jerrabomberra Wetlands dogs

Dogs are allowed on leash on the sealed, shared trail between Eyre Street and Dairy Road. Dogs are prohibited from all other parts of Jerrabomberra Wetland.

Jerrabomberra Wetlands parking

Parking: Free off-street parking at the end of 📍 Dairy Road in Fyshwick and 📍 Eyre Street in Kingston.

Jerrabomberra Wetlands opening hours

Jerrabomberra Wetlands are open 24/7.

Jerrabomberra Wetlands map

Jerrabomberra Wetlands map, Canberra best wildlife reserve, parks
Jerrabomberra Wetlands map. Source: jerrabomberrawetlands.org.au

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Canberra

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is an excellent place for a day out with the family on the weekend or during school holidays in Canberra. With plenty of walking trails, wildlife sightings, BBQs and picnic areas, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is up to 45 min drive from Canberra. Get your 📍 directions here.

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Canberra. Photo by Simone Vieira (Google reviews)
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Canberra

This beautiful park offers heaps of family activities and kids activities. Many walking trails will take you through lovely scenery, while the wetlands provide a sanctuary for local wildlife. Be sure to keep an eye out for koalas, kangaroos, and emus while you're here!

At the Visitor Centre, you can grab a delicious cup of coffee or snack from the kiosk, then head out on an adventure! The Visitor Centre is wheelchair accessible, with baby change facilities and a water refill station.

At the Visitor Centre, you can also hire a wheelchair for free. If you need more information, call 02 6207 7921.

Nature Discovery Playground at Reserve

Don't forget to check out the Nature Discovery Playground. Kids will love it! The Playground also features a bird's nest swing for small kids and people with limited mobility.

So, if you're looking for a beautiful park that offers plenty of peace and quiet for the whole family, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is the perfect spot.

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve ACT opening hours

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is open:

  • 7:30am - 8:00pm daily (Daylight Savings Time/Summer)
  • Closed on Christmas

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve entry fee

The entry fee is $14 per car, making it a great value for a day out with the family too!

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve map

You can pick up a copy of the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Map and Visitor Guide at the Visitor Centre to plan your visit.

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve map, Canberra wildlife reserve, parks
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Map. Source: David Sun gallery.thesun.arfycat.com

Australian National Botanic Gardens

The Australian National Botanic Gardens is the perfect place to bring the whole family to explore the beauty and serenity of nature and relax surrounded by greenery.

With over 4,500 species on display and 75,000 plants, the Australian National Botanic Gardens Canberra is the perfect place to discover Australia's stunning diversity of native plants.


Nestled in the foothills of Black Mountain, the gardens offer a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Australian National Botanic Gardens are about 10 min drive from Canberra CBD. 📍 Get your direction here.

Australian National Botanic Gardens
Australian National Botanic Gardens. Photo by Muntasir Hossain (Google reviews)

Bring your little ones to explore and take a stroll beneath the canopy of the Rainforest Gully, enjoy a coffee in the Australian National Botanic Gardens cafe, or simply breathe in the fresh air and listen to the birds.

Paperbark Treehouse at Gardens

The Paperbark Treehouse at the Gardens is a fun interactive experience for kids and visitors of all ages. The treehouse has a ramp-accessible platform at 2.5 metres high and is nestled among a colony of swamp paperbark trees. From there, a ladder takes you up to a crow’s nest in the forest canopy. The three-level treehouse provides plenty of opportunities for exploration and connection with nature.

The water dragons are sure to fascinate everyone!

Soak up the peace and beauty of nature at this beautiful botanic garden.

Australian National Botanic Gardens map

Here's a map of Australian National Botanic Gardens. You can view the complete visitor guide and map here.

Canberra Australian National Botanic Gardens map
Australian National Botanic Gardens map. Source: parksaustralia.gov.au

Australian National Botanic Gardens entry fee

Australian National Botanic Gardens offer free entry. Parking is not free, though.

Australian National Botanic Gardens cafe

The botanic gardens Canberra cafe is open daily 9 am–3:30 pm.

Australian National Botanic Gardens opening hours

  • Australian National Botanic Gardens are open daily 8.30 am - 5 pm
  • Closed on Christmas Day

Australian National Botanic Gardens dogs

Dogs are not allowed at Australian National Botanic Gardens Canberra.


National Arboretum Canberra

Looking for a fun day out with the family? Look no further than National Arboretum Canberra!

The National Arboretum Canberra is a great place to spend the day with family as it offers heaps of family activities. From its living forests and beautiful gardens, you can enjoy breathtaking views as well as unique experiences for kids and the whole family.

One of our favorite things about this venue is the cafe with playground in Canberra right next door - it's perfect for kids of all ages and adults too!

📍 Get your direction to National Arboretum Canberra here.

National Arboretum Canberra Children's Garden
National Arboretum Canberra Children's Garden

With over 44,000 rare and endangered trees across a 250-hectare site, National Arboretum in Canberra, Australia, is perfect for nature lovers of all ages.

Pod Playground at National Arboretum

Don't forget to check out POD Playground at National Arboretum! National Arboretum Canberra Playground is a one-of-a-kind, award-winning playground that encourages kids of all ages to explore, learn and have fun.


With nest swings, music-making instruments and more, the playground is surrounded by spectacular views, making it a fantastic adventure for your little ones. Kids will love running wild in this great nature-themed playground with acorn and banksia cubbies, sand-play, slides and swings.

Learn more about National Arboretum Canberra

The National Arboretum Canberra is a fun place to visit with the whole family to explore, play, enjoy a day out with kites to fly and get back into nature!

Click here to find more information and National Arboretum Canberra photos.

National Arboretum Canberra

National Arboretum tickets

There is no entry fee for The National Arboretum Canberra.

National Arboretum Garden

National Arboretum Canberra is a place for visitors to explore the beauty and diversity of Australian plants. There are seven gardens for the whole family to enjoy, each with its own unique theme, ranging from the Children’s Garden to the Terra Australis Garden. The Labyrinth Garden is perfect for visitors looking for a place to reflect and relax, while the Butterfly Garden is perfect for kids.

National Arboretum Canberra Garden
National Arboretum Canberra

National Arboretum trails

If you're looking for a beautiful and relaxing walk, the National Arboretum Trails in Canberra are worth visiting! With over 20km of walking trails to choose from, there's something for everyone. The STEP Track (1km return, easy walk) is perfect for families, while the Himalayan Cedar Track (2.1km return, moderate difficulty) offers a more challenging experience.

National Arboretum Canberra trails, forests, gardens, lake view, great walks for kids and family
National Arboretum Canberra trails

Here you can find more information about National Arboretum Canberra walks and trails for kids and families.

National Arboretum map

Here's a map of the National Arboretum in Canberra. You can view the full version of the map here.

National Arboretum Canberra map, walking trails and facilities
National Arboretum Canberra map. Source: nationalarboretum.act.gov.au

Bonsai At National Arboretum Canberra

The National Bonsai and Penjing Collection is a sight to behold! This unique exhibit consists of 75 miniature trees and shrubs, each with its own story and style. So whether you're a bonsai lover or just curious about this ancient art form, the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection at the National Arboretum Canberra is the perfect place to explore it all with the whole family!

The National Bonsai and Penjing Collection at National Arboretum Canberra
The National Bonsai and Penjing Collection at National Arboretum Canberra

Bonsai at National Arboretum entry fee

The entry is free.

Looking for things to do outside Canberra? Check out National Arboretum Canberra and the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia here and more family activities and things to do around Canberra on our interactive map.


Lennox Gardens

If you're looking for a tranquil spot to relax and enjoy nature, look no further than Lennox Gardens District Park.

📍 Get your direction to Lennox Gardens here.

Surrounded by beautiful gardens and picturesque scenery, this is the perfect place to spend an afternoon with the kids and family. There are BBQs and seating areas available, as well as a children's play area, so make sure to bring your picnic basket along! Plus, there are public toilets too.

Lennox Gardens, Canberra Beijing Garden, Canberra Nara Peace Park
Lennox Gardens, Canberra Beijing Garden, Nara Peace Park 

The park is also home to Canberra Beijing Garden and Canberra Nara Peace Park, so be sure to check them out too.

Lennox Gardens Canberra is a must-see destination for those who appreciate beautiful gardens and stunning sculptures. This picturesque garden features traditional Japanese plantings in Canberra Nara Peace Park, the Australians in the Spanish Civil War memorial, a beautiful Chinese pavilion and more!

Lennox Gardens, Canberra Beijing Garden, Canberra Nara Peace Park
Lennox Gardens Canberra

Paths meander through the garden, providing visitors of all ages with plenty of opportunities to explore and admire the artistry of the sculptures on display.

So if you're looking for a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of city life, make Lennox Gardens your next stop. And don't forget your furry friend - dogs are welcome on-leash in the park.


Canberra Nara Peace Park

Canberra Nara Peace Park at Lennox Gardens is a beautiful and serene Japanese-themed garden in the heart of Canberra. It's the perfect place to relax and escape the city bustle, surrounded by peaceful gardens and iconic cherry blossom trees.

The park also features two large stone lanterns, which commemorate the sister city link between Canberra Australia and Nara Japan.

Canberra Nara Peace Park Lennox Gardens Canberra
Canberra Nara Peace Park at Lennox Gardens

If you're looking for a peaceful and beautiful place to have a picnic, BBQ or just relax, the Canberra Nara Peace Park is perfect. With stunning lake views, plenty of open space and well-organised gardens, this park is a popular spot for families and kids. Also, make sure to check out the lantern festival in Spring – it's a beautiful sight!

Canberra Nara Peace Park Lennox Gardens Canberra
Canberra Nara Peace Park at Lennox Gardens

Best playgrounds in Canberra

Black Mountain Peninsula Playground Canberra (All-ability Playground)

Black Mountain Peninsula Park is home to a fantastic play area for toddlers and young children. With water on either side, plenty of running space, and ducks to watch, Black Mountain Peninsula Playground is perfect for a day out with the family and for toddlers and preschoolers to explore, play and have fun.

📍 Get your direction to Black Mountain Peninsula Playground here.

Black Mountain Peninsula Playground Canberra All-ability playground accessible park Canberra
Black Mountain Peninsula Playground. Source: parks.act.gov.au

The slide, tunnel, spider climbing web, bridge and see-saw are sure to keep kids entertained for hours, while the wheelchair accessible liberty swing makes it easy for everyone to join in on the fun.

There are also swings, a climbing structure, spinning poles and seats and musical instruments to enjoy, as well as plenty of shade. In addition, the playground is conveniently located near public toilets, BBQs and picnic tables.

Note that dogs are prohibited at Black Mountain Peninsula Playground.

Black Mountain Peninsula Park is a wheelchair-accessible park and playground so that everyone can enjoy it here.

So visit Black Mountain Peninsula Park and Playground with the kids and family and enjoy this beautiful park perfect for a day of fun in the sun.


Kambah Adventure Park (All-ability Playground)

If you're looking for a playground that will keep your little one entertained for hours on end, look no further than the Kambah Adventure Park!

Kambah Adventure Park is the perfect place to have fun and get active with your little ones and is a one of the best things to do in Canberra with family. With a variety of activities available for all ages, you're sure to find something your whole family will enjoy.

📍 Get your direction to Kambah Adventure Park here.

Kambah Adventure Park All-ability playground Canberra
Kambah Adventure Park Canberra

This park features a boulder-style rock climbing wall, perfect for preschoolers who love a good challenge. With plenty of other activities to keep them occupied, including a slippery slide, step ladders, and spider web swing, the kids will be entertained for hours.

Swing on the kangaroo rocker, spin around on the things-to-spin and challenge your strength and skill on the smaller flying fox. If you're feeling adventurous, try out the zip line.

Plus, there's an all-abilities liberty swing on-site, making Kambah Adventure Playground one of the best kids' play spaces in Canberra.

Please note that dogs are not allowed at Kambah Adventure Park.

And don't forget to pack a picnic lunch - Kambah Adventure Park has plenty of green space for you to enjoy!


If you are looking for things to do in Canberra for families, then look no further. Here's a list of some of the best places to visit and things to do in Canberra with family that won’t break the bank. There is something for everyone, from exploring nature reserves and botanical gardens to enjoying all-abilities playgrounds and adventure parks!

Please share this article with your friend and family if you found it helpful! You can discover places in Canberra worth visiting with kids and on our Instagram.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the National Carillon?
The National Carillon is a must-see attraction in Canberra. This beautiful bell tower is located on Aspen Island in Lake Burley Griffin. The National Carillon was a gift from the British Government to Australia for Canberra’s 50th anniversary.
How deep is Lake Burley Griffin?
On average, Lake Burley Griffin is 4 metres deep, with a maximum depth of about 18 metres (near the Scrivener Dam).
How far around Lake Burley Griffin?
Lake Burley Griffin has a length of 11 km. For cyclists, the Lake Burley Griffin Circuit is divided into 3 bike rides around the shoreline: the Central Loop is 4.9 km, the Western Loop is a 16 km and the Eastern Loop is a 9 km long.
How long does it take to walk around Lake Burley Griffin?
A Lake Burley Griffin walking tour is about 5 km which is about 2 hours, depending on your pace.
How big is Lake Burley Griffin?
Lake Burley Griffin has a length of 11 km and a width of 1.2 km (in the widest parts).
When was Lake Burley Griffin built?
Lake Burley Griffin is one of the most iconic features of Canberra. It was completed in 1963 after the Molonglo River, which ran between the city centre and Parliamentary Triangle, was dammed, the lake has become a focal point of Canberra since then.
Where is Lake Burley Griffin located?
Lake Burley Griffin is a man-made lake in the centre of Canberra, ACT, Australia.
How long to walk around Lake Burley Griffin?
A Lake Burley Griffin walking tour is about 5 km which is about 2 hours. If you follow some of the cyclist paths, there are 3 bike rides around the Lake Burley Griffin shoreline: the Central Loop is 4.9 km, the Western Loop is a 16 km, and the Eastern Loop is a 9 km long.
Is lake burley griffin safe to swim in?
Swimming in Lake Burley Griffin is not very common. Rowing, fishing, and sailing have become more popular activities on the Lake. At most swimming locations around the Lake, there are fenced-in swimming areas for safety. Lake Burley Griffin swimming areas are Yarralumla Beach (West Lake), Weston Park East (Tarcoola Reach), Black Mountain Beach (Tarcoola Reach).

Elena Osipova

A Melbourne mum & wife who loves travel, Elena enjoys sharing the best things to do with kids of all ages & abilities on weekends & holidays, helping families create more wonderful memories together.

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