Things To Do On A Weekend Trip To Canberra With Kids

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The thing about Canberra is… there’s so much to do with kids.

My daughter, a girlfriend and myself recently scooted down for the weekend. Here’s how we kept ourselves amused, and very well fed.



We drive down from Sydney to Canberra (advice on this road trip here ) arriving at our hotel, the Novotel, about 6pm. We eat in at One Restaurant.  (Read our review of the Novotel here.)



We are up bright and early and enjoy our buffet breakfast before heading out to explore Cockington Green.

It’s a 15 minute drive to get there, but easy to navigate. I am not sure I will enjoy this display of miniature buildings but in fact we all adore our visit.

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Here’s a miniature Stonehenge

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Miniature English canals with boats and a lock

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There are so many sweet things to explore, and actually we all agree that we have learned a lot about history and the countries we read about.

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The temple of Petra

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The Trakai Castle, Lithuania

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And the gardens are adorable too. So are the displays of dolls houses at the cafe where we have a cool drink.

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Read more about Cockington Green on the website here.

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A rare mother-daughter selfie!


National Museum of Australia

Ms9 next puts in a special request to visit the National Museum of Australia which she and her twin brother had loved when we visited before.

Here’s the exhibit that always makes me cry.
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And below is Ms9’s favourite, the diprotodon skeleton.

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The Museum Shop is the best we have ever visited, and this time we also eat lunch at the cafe. There are gorgeous views over Lake Burley Griffin.

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And the scrambled egg with asparagus goes down well.

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Shopping At Canberra Centre

A bit of girly shopping follows. This is a very summery-looking winter wardrobe.

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Dinner this evening is at AKIBA, a very trendy pan-Asian restaurant just a short walk away from our hotel. No photos are taken due to too much eating and drinking keeping our hands busy.

Ms9 finds it all too spicy and so orders a room service dinner back at the Novotel. An early night for all.


Sunday morning

We are awake at the crack of 8.30am, how civilised, and we eat breakfast at the hotel buffet again.


A Cycle Around Lake Burley Griffin

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Susie researches bike hire and calls to check it’s open.

We pop down to Damn Fine Bike Hire at and hire bikes for two hours; $25 for an adult, and $20 for kids.

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Ms9 isn’t the keenest cyclist but we assure her the route is flat. We cycle over the bridge towards Parliament House then duck down to the left to cycle along the lakeside path near Questacon and then along towards to National Gallery.

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We pause to look at black swans and check out some sculpture too.


The Old Bus  Depot Markets

Just a little further along are the delightful Old Bus Dept Markets. We only poke our noses in and look around quickly but are keen to come back with money and shopping bags next time we are in Canberra on a Sunday.

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Then we cycle back to the bike hire,  crossing the Kings Avenue bridge and following the lakeside track through Kings Park.

It’s all very pretty and flat and easy and we plan to cycle for much longer on our next visit.


Lunch at Ivy and The Fox

We hop back into the car and drive for a few minutes to get to Old Canberra House, within the grounds of the Australian National University.  We’re meeting friends at a cafe that’s new to all of us,  Ivy and the Fox.

Sitting outside with views to the lake, it’s hard to believe we’re in the middle of a bustling city.

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Too much eating and drinking and talking ensues and so only one photo gets taken. My lunch is a breakfast dish: chia pudding and stewed fruit. Too good, and healthy too.

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Check out the Ivy and the Fox website to see more of their great grub.

After catching up on several years’ worth of gossip, we drive back to Sydney.

The weekend has been the loveliest combination of child-friendly and adult pursuits.

Back in the car, Susie and I share the long drive back to Sydney.

The weekend of over, we’re refreshed, we’ve had fun and fresh air and some mental stimulation too.

And we’ll be back in Canberra again soon as it’s become one of my family’s favourite destinations.


What’s your top tip for Canberra fun with kids?

Happy holiday planning,

Seana xx 



More Posts To Help You Plan A Trip To Canberra With Kids

15 Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

Canberra’s Best Playgrounds and Parks

Road Trip: Sydney to Canberra by Car With Kids

7 Tips for Trips To Canberra With Kids

4 Highlights from Our Family Trip To Canberra

Canberra: Sleeping and Eating and Ice Cream

The Novotel Canberra – Family Review


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Posted on: May 8, 2016


  • Reply April 27, 2016


    We always have fun in Canberra. A must on our list is scones at Cockington Green. They’re super light and very good. The Old Bus Depot is a must for me and Miss 13. Hubby is less enthused but with the promise of bagels and other delights he tags along.

    Thanks for adding some new spots to our list for next time.


    • Reply April 27, 2016

      Seana Smith

      Hello there, I didn’t have a scone at Cockington Green – big mistake, I see! This was our second trip to Canberra and I hope to get down again this year. It’s so easy to get around, and parking is SO easy too. Fantastic

  • I love the photo of you and the twinnie! You two are twinnies!

    • Reply April 27, 2016

      Seana Smith

      She took that one and yes it turned out so well. I wish I had gorgeous freckles like my wee lass, though, I’ve always fancied freckles.

  • Canberra is one of those very underrated destinations. There is so much to do and see and yet Australians just love to knock it. I have family in Canberra and so we visit quite often. We haven’t been to Cockington Green for many, many years and now you have made me want to go back. I’m sure they didn’t have Stonehenge or Petra last time I was there.

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