National Arboretum Canberra
What is the National Arboretum in Canberra?
An arboretum is a botanical garden designed for conservation, research and educational purposes. The National Arboretum Canberra houses many species of trees that you can explore in their beautiful gardens and forests. They have lots of lovely walking trails and paths, lookouts, and the Pod Playground for families with kids to enjoy.
Where is the National Arboretum Canberra?
The National Arboretum Canberra address is Forest Dr, Molonglo Valley, ACT, 2611. It is located just 6km from the Canberra City Centre (CBD).
National Arboretum Canberra Map
Download a map of The National Arboretum Canberra here.
National Arboretum Canberra Parking
Village Centre parking
The main car park has paid parking available between 9am and 4pm daily. The parking costs $2.10 per hour. All proceeds from parking go towards maintaining the National Arboretum, its collection, research and education programs.
Some free parking spots are available for those with an authorised disability voucher.
Limited free sealed surface parking , and some wheelchair parking, is available at the Himalayan Cedar Forest and Dairy Farmers Hill car parks.
There is a free small unsealed surface car park available at the end of Cork Oak Road, 200m from the start of Cork Oak Forest.
Parking at the side of the road is prohibited.
The National Arboretum Canberra Opening Hours
The National Arboretum Grounds and Pod Playground are open daily
- From 7am to 5.30pm (Eastern Standard Time)
- From 6am to 8.30pm (Daylight Saving Time).
The National Arboretum Village Centre, including the gift shop and Arboretum Cafe, are open from 9am to 4pm daily and closed on 25 December.
Is The National Arboretum free?
There is no entry fee for The National Arboretum Canberra. You need to pay for parking at the main car park next to the Village Centre.
Accessibility at the National Arboretum Canberra
There are sealed paths suitable for prams and wheelchair access connecting the main car park to the Village Centre and Pod Playground at the northern entrance, and the Central Valley path.
There are also sealed and flat paths that give access to the Event Terrace, Gallery of Gardens and the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion.
Is The National Arboretum Canberra Dog Friendly?
Dogs and other pets are allowed at the Arboretum except in the Village Centre and Pod playground. Service dogs are welcome anywhere onsite.
The Village Centre National Arboretum Canberra
The Village Centre is the heart of the Nation Arboretum. Be impressed by its world-class architecture, stunning views, and friendly and informative staff.
National Arboretum Canberra Cafe - Cafe at the Arboretum
Pop into the Cafe at the Arboretum for delicious snacks and ready-to-eat lunches that you can enjoy at the Arboretum or take out for a picnic in the gardens. Check out the National Arboretum Canberra Cafe menu here.
Opening hours: Open from 9am to 4pm daily.
National Arboretum Canberra Restaurant - Ginger At The Arboretum
Enjoy contemporary Australian cuisine during brunch and lunch at restaurant Ginger At The Arboretum (also called The Conservatory Restaurant). Check out the National Arboretum Canberra Restaurant menu here.
- Wednesday to Sunday from 12pm for lunch,
- Saturday to Sunday from 9am to 11am for brunch.
National Arboretum Gift Shop - The Curatoreum
The Curatoreum is known for its unique and quality range of gifts including books, kids activities, homewares and jewellery.
Opening hours: same as Village Centre.
POD Playground At The National Arboretum Canberra
The Pod Playground was designed to represent the idea that all life in the forest starts from seeds. This playground in Canberra is fun for kids of all ages, and encourages them to climb, play, explore and learn in nature.
Some exciting features and play equipment include:
- Interlinked acorn pod structures full of surprises,
- Tube slides,
- Banksia pods,
- Nest swings,
- Giant scramble net,
- Musical bridge,
- A grass oval perfect for kite flying,
- And lots more to discover!
- Picnic tables
- Some flat paths around the playground
- Enclosed playground
- Water refill stations
- Bathroom and change room
Important to note:
- No dogs or pets allowed on the POD playground.
- No bikes, balls or glass permitted on the playground.
- Be aware there is no shade! Bring sunscreen and hats on sunny days. On hot days, visit early or late in the day.
The Pod Playground is located right next to the Village Centre, cafe and gift shop. You can enter via the car park or through the Village Centre.
National Arboretum Canberra Gardens
There are many beautiful gardens to explore at the National Arboretum Canberra.
National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia
Bonsai is the art and science of growing miniature trees and shrubs. It has been practiced in Japan for over 1200 years. Penjing is the art and science of growing miniature landscapes in a pot or tray. These creations may have a story, name or piece of poetry attached to them.
The National Bonsai and Penjing Collection consists of 120 unique exhibits with 75 trees of both modern and traditional style varieties on display at any one time.
The Discovery Garden is an interesting garden that teaches visitors how to grow a sustainable, water-efficient and beautiful garden specific to the Canberra region. Stroll around the various paths and visit the Garden Rooms to learn something new about the art of gardening. The Discovery Garden is located a short walk from the Village Center and the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection.
Bush Tucker Garden
Explore native Indigenous plants in the Bush Tucker Garden located in the Southern Tablelands Ecosystems Park (STEP). Many of the plants found here were used by Aboriginal communities for thousands of years. This garden was designed in collaboration with the Ngunnawal community of this region, and the layout was inspired by the local landform and rivers.
Gallery of Gardens
Discover 7 unique themed gardens that will impress the whole family. Here are some favourites:
The Children’s Garden
This garden is the place for kids to have a fun time playing and interacting with the local environment and exploring through all their senses.
Mununja the butterfly garden
Step into this lovely garden to learn more about the dreamtime story of the Ngunnawal people of the region.
The Labyrinth Garden
Labyrinths are a symbol of reflection, renewal and peace. This garden and features an 11 circuit labyrinth in a medieval style pattern.
Terra Australis Garden
This garden portrays Australia's geography, landscape and diverse flora. Explore the various regions in all their glory, from the Outback, to the Tropical Coast Hinterlands, and more.
Dairy Farmers Hill
Don't miss Dairy Farmers Hill on your visit to the National Arboretum. It features a lookout with stunning 360 degree views of Canberra and beyond, as well as the iconic eagle sculpture Nest III.
National Arboretum Canberra Walks and Trails for Kids and Families
There are over 20km of walking trails around the National Arboretum for the whole family to embark on. There are 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees for you to discover. Some favourites for families with kids:
STEP Track - 1km return, easy walk
After some play at the POD Playground, head on to the Southern Tablelands Ecosystems Park (STEP, Forest 20) to explore the regional botanic garden with a rich variety of eucalyptus trees, shrubs and grasses native to the local area.
Himalayan Cedar Track - 2.1km return, moderate difficulty
Another walk that starts near the POD Playground but heads down to the magnificent Himalayan Cedar Forest with its tall trees, lovely picnic spots and free electric BBQs. You will also catch sight of the iconic Wide Brown Land sculpture on your way.
Check out more trails on the Arboretum map to plan your journey!
National Arboretum CanberraACT Government - The National Arboretum Canberra, Canberra Australian Capital Territory 2611