15 Things To Do In Canberra With Kids and Where To Stay

 

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Have you visited Canberra with kids?

Time to start planning a trip then!

Our family has hugely enjoyed a couple of trips to Canberra recently, and we know there’s a lot more to see too.

Here you’ll find our Top 15 Things To Do in Canberra, plus a list of the hotels we recommend. This post is an overview, with links to posts and websites with greater detail on each place.  You can download a PDF of this post or print it at the bottom of the post.

To read in more details  all the things we have done in Canberra with the kids, click here.

Click here to jump straight to our advice on where to stay and special deals on Canberra accommodation.

PS There are some excellent tours of Canberra, check some out on Viator here.

 

Children play in the colourful Excite exhibit at Questacon

All kids love Questacon

 

Top 15 things to do with your kids in Canberra

 

1.Questacon

Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre is a must-visit for families.  For budding scientists Questacon’s Q Lab offers an ever-changing array of intriguing experiments, explosive demonstrations and interesting displays. 

Location: King Edward Terrace, Canberra

Opening Hours: Open 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

Read about our family’s Questacon visit with tips and advice for you Questacon on this post

 

2. National Museum of Australia

Something for every age here. There are plenty of hands on activities and play, plus well displayed artifacts and exhibitions. Kspace is designed especially for school age students, opening times vary. The cafe and museum shop are excellent too.

Location: National Museum Australia, Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula, Canberra

Opening Hours: Weekends, public holidays and ACT school holidays, with Kspace sessions starting between 9.15am and 4.00pm

Read more about the NMA and read our advice on visiting on our blog post here

 

 

3. Australian War Memorial

A deeply moving and fascinating place to visit.  For the children, the Discovery Zone where they could dress up and become fully immersed in the lives of soldiers, submariners, helicopter pilots and more is the highlight. Australia’s military history is brought to life incredibly well.

Location: Treloar Crescent, Campbell ACT 2612

Opening Hours:  10am – 5pm daily except Christmas Day

My twins and I adore the War memorial and visit each time we’re in Canberra, read much more about it on this post.

 

 

4. Australian Institute of Sport

Many children enjoy a guided tour to the legendary Australian Institute of Sport. There’s a shop and a cafe there too so expect to stay a little longer.

Location: Leverrier Street, Bruce, Canberra

Opening Hours: 8:30am to 5:00pm. Public tours depart at 10.00am, 11.30am, 1.00pm and 2.30pm and last 90 minutes

Tours webpage is here.

We'll definitely visit Australian Institute of Sport

The Australian Institute of Sport

 

5. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

For families who like to get active, head to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve to explore more than 20 marked walking trails, ranging from an easy 15-minute stroll to an all-day bushwalk. Some of the most popular trails allow for glimpses of platypus, possums, wombats, echidnas, emus and many other birds and reptiles.

Location: Tidbinbilla Ring Rd, Paddys River,ACT (access is off Paddy’s River Road, via Cotter Road (Weston Creek)

Opening Hours: Visitor Centre: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Reserve Gates: Winter: 7.30 am – 6 pm, Summer: 7.30 am – 8 pm in summer (AEDT)

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve website here

 

 

6. Cockington Green Gardens

It’s a small world at Cockington Green Gardens, which features a model village and miniatures of iconic buildings from around the globe. This is one for the whole family with miniature cricket grounds for the budding sports players, fairy-tale castles for the Princesses in training and fascinating replicas of international architecture for the ‘culture vultures’.

Location: 11 Gold Creek Road, Nicholls ACT 2913

Opening Hours: Daily9.30am – Last entry time 4.15pm

Read about Cockington Green, see our photos and read our tips here

Tower over tiny versions of famous buildings from around the world and ride the mini steam train at the delightful miniature village of Cockington Green Gardens at Gold Creek Village. Kids can bring the exhibits to life with interacting mechanical animation. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the grounds or a bite to eat from the Parsons Nose Garden Cafe.

Cockington Green Gardens at Gold Creek Village

 

7. Museum of Democracy

Tackling a serious issue facing children across Australia and giving children the chance to get hands on, Play Up – The Right to Shelter, is a not-to-be missed exhibition and experience at the Museum of Democracy. Young visitors will get to play out how different life would be without their bedroom, favourite food or a warm jacket, in an engaging environment.

Location: 18 King George Terrace, Parkes, Canberra

Opening Hours: Open daily 9am–5pm

Museum of Democracy website here 

 

 

8. Royal Australian Mint

For future financiers or kids who always shotgun the banker in Monopoly, the interactive model ‘making a mint’ at the Royal Australian Mint offers fun insights into the world of money.

Location: Royal Australian Mint Denison Street, Deakin, Canberra

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 8.30 am to 5 pm, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 10 am to 4 pm

Royal Australian Mint website here

 

 

9. Yarralumla Play Station at Weston Park

Join the club and take a swing at Canberra’s newest family attraction, Yarralumla Play Station at Weston Park. As well as the 36-hole mini golf course which features Canberra’s ionic attractions in miniature, there is also the Petite Park Petting Zoo and Miniature Railway.

Location: 9 Pescott Lane, Yarralumla ACT

Opening Hours: Wed-Fri: 09:30–15:00 -Sat-Sun: 09:30–17:30

Yarralumla Play Station Website here

 

 

10.  Food: Freakshakes, Food Trucks  and Fruggii

Where better to give the kids a special treat than Patissez, the birth place of the ‘freakshake’ movement. The Nutella and Salty Pretzel is a household favourite and best eaten before something active.

Location: Shop 2/21 Bougainville St, Griffith ACT 2603, Australia

Patissez Facebook page here

 

Get on the foodie trail at The Hamlet which is an urban village for food vans and pop-up stores. Take your taste buds on an international journey with Peruvian street food, German hotdogs, and an Italian wood fire pizza which you can design yourself.

Location: 16 Lonsdale St, Braddon, ACT

 

Frugii Dessert Laboratory has Canberra’s best ice cream, mouth watering flavours plus other dessert extravaganzas in this little cafe.

Location: 30 Lonsdale Street, Braddon, ACT

Read all about our trip to The Hamlet and Frugii and see photos on our post here.

Frugii Dessert Laboratory

 

 

11.  Cycle Around Lake Burley Griffin

This is a marvellous things to do on a sunny day. It’s super simple to hire bikes and the routes are very clear. Choose shorter or longer routes and pass by some of Canberra’s highlights on the journey.

Check out our info about cycling in Canberra on this post.

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Exploring a massive sculpture on the cycle around Lake Burley Griffin.

 

12. Old Bus Depot Markets

For a bout of colour and creativity visit the Old Bus Depot markets on a Sunday and soak up the vibrant atmosphere, stock up on unique handcrafted wares for the whole family, and pick up a snack from one of the artisan food stalls.

Location: 21 Wentworth Ave, Kingston ACT 2604

Opening Hours: Every Sunday from 10am – 4pm.

Old Bus Depot website here 

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The Old Bus Depot Markets

 

13.  Canberra Glassworks

Get hands on with the whole family at Canberra Glassworks where you can create your own masterpiece in one of the ‘Make your own sessions’. Make your own poppy, medal or cross at the Distant Warriors Workshop, create your own tiles to celebrate the warm months at the Spring Tile Workshop or create a unique butterfly. Don’t forget to stop by the Hotshop or Engine room to watch the experts in action and get some creative inspiration.

Location: 11 Wentworth Ave Kingston ACT 2604

Opening Hours: 10am to 4pm from Tuesday to Sunday

Canberra Glassworks website is here 
 

 

14. Red Hill Views

Lace up the walking shoes and take a hike up Red Hill for spectacular views over the city. At the top, reward yourself with a chai or hot choccie at Little Brother restaurant where you can enjoy the panoramic views whilst giving your feet a bit of R&R.

Location: Red Hill – 50 Red Hill Drive, Red Hill Lookout ACT 2603

Opening Hours: Red Hill – open daily, Little Brother – Wed & Thu: 9.30am till 5.00pm

Fri: 9:30am till late, Sat: 8.00am till late, Sun: 8.00am to 5pm

Visit Canberra Red Hill Lookout webpage here

 

 

15.  The National Arboretum

Pack a picnic and head out to at the Arboretum to enjoy a whole range of fun filled school holiday activities for the family. Kids can make their own bonsai, explore the spring birds, blossoms and buds in the forest on a guided story telling walk, and channel their inner kite runner with a kite making and flying workshop. There is an amazing playground here.

Location: Forest Drive, off Tuggeranong Parkway, Weston Creek.

Opening Hours: The grounds and Pod Playground are open 6 am to 8:30 pm. Visit the website for more information on school holiday activities and opening hours

The National Arboretum website is here 

Read our post about Canberra’s best parks and playgrounds here.

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The POD playground, amazing!

 

Bonus Extra – Parliament House!

We loved a visit to Parliament House, just to run around and see the outside. We will definitely visit the inside and see our politicians at work  on another trip.

Information about visiting Parliament House can be fund on this post here., towards the end.

Playing handball at Parliament House

 

PS In wintertime, play in the snow close to Canberra at the delightful Corin Forest, see website here.

 

 

Where To Stay In Canberra With Kids

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Twins on the loose at the Avenue Hotel

The Novotel Canberra

We have stayed here and love the pool and the location especially. Read our review here.

Check Novotel availability and prices here.

 

The Avenue Hotel

This is a lovely hotel with spacious rooms and apartments in a great location. We enjoyed a stay here, check out our review here.

Check Avenue Hotel availability and prices here.

 

East Hotel Canberra

East Hotel is famous for its family-friendly rooms with bunks and games for kids. We haven’t stayed here yet but hope to. You can read family reviews on Have Wheelchair Will Travel here, and on BabyMac here.

Check East Hotel Canberra availability and prices here.

 

Mantra on Northbourne

This is an apartment hotel, terrific for when you prefer to be able to cook for yourself.

Check Mantra on Northbourne prices and availability here.

 

Canberra YHA

Very centrally located and with family rooms, cafe and indoor pool, the YHA is a good choice for families.

Check Canberra YHA availability and prices here.

 

Ibis Budget Canberra 

You can rely on this brand for cheap and cheerful accommodation.

Check Ibis Budget Canberra availability and prices here.

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The pool at the Novotel Canberra

 

Search for other Canberra family-friendly accommodation deals here.

Check Canberra dates, availability and deals here.

 


Booking.com

 

Click here to read about all our more detailed Canberra posts! 

PS Go to the bottom of this post to create a PDF or to print this post using the Print/PDF button.

 

Very happy to hear your advice too.

Enjoy your travel planning and we will 

Catch you in Canberra,

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Posted on: November 16, 2016

9 Comments

  • Reply September 18, 2015

    Rebecca (Little Munch)

    Tidbinbilla is brilliant – well worth the drive out of Canberra. Yarralumla Play Station looks awesome, will definitely check it out next time we are down there. Make sure you stop in at Grandma’s Little Bakery on the way down at Collector for a coffee break. Have fun x

  • Reply September 18, 2015

    Christine @ Adventure, Baby!

    Pinning this for later! I’m planning to go next year in the Sept hols.

    • Reply September 23, 2015

      Seana Smith

      We’ll write a post about what we do and what the twins think. We’ve been looking at Bound Round today which has lot of info on Canberra. That’s got the kids revved up. Me too… can’t wait to explore…. and eat!

  • Reply September 18, 2015

    Jean | Holy Smithereens

    I love Questacon! You don’t need to be a kid or a science fanatic (i’m neither) to appreciate it 🙂

    • Reply September 23, 2015

      Seana Smith

      Oh good, cos I am neither as well but absolutely loved the last science place we went to. It was in Glasgow and just excellent, so very much looking forward to Questacon.

  • Reply September 23, 2015

    Barbara

    Thanks for stopping by Let’s Go Mum travel reviews – enjoy Canberra – there’s a heap to do, and as mentioned, the War Memorial is a hidden but great one!

    • Reply September 23, 2015

      Seana Smith

      We can’t wait to set off. My twins are 9 and have never been – where did the years go?

  • Reply January 19, 2017

    Margot

    The Hamlet link goes to a mans facebook account which has nothing to do with food…

    • Reply January 20, 2017

      Seana Smith

      Thank you and many apologies, will sort that error.

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