Adventure, baby!

ACT

A Day At The National Museum of Australia, Canberra

National Museum of Canberra Australia

 

National Museum of Australia

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

The National Museum of Australia, in the nation’s capital Canberra, preserves and interprets Australia’s social history, exploring the key issues, people and events that have shaped the nation. 

The museum’s National Historical Collection is home to an impressive 210,000 objects representing Australia’s history and cultural heritage.

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

We particularly loved the 3x10m cast of the Aussie dinosaur Muttaburrasaurus in the main hall. The fossilised dinosaur was found on a sheep property near the town of Muttaburra in central-west Queensland in 1963. Palaeontologists named it Muttaburrasaurus langdoni. The Muttaburrasaurus was a herbivore who lived lived about 100–110 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period, when Australia was part of the Gondwana supercontinent. 

Highlights at the National Museum of Australia

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

Journeys Exhibition

 
Explores the journeys of people across Australia and into the Pacific including Indigenous trade, exchange and ceremony, early explorers and settlers, migrants, travellers and tourists, plus modern day sportsmen and women, artists and scientists.

First Australians

The stories and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can be found in the largest gallery in the museum. 

Landmarks

 
Australian history can be found in this exhibition, which tells the stories of first British colonies established on Aboriginal lands and how settlers spread across the country, discovered gold, developed our democratic government, grew agriculture, developed mining and manufacturing, and created our urban nation.
 

Old New Land

 
The land is the focus of this exhibition, including Australia’s diverse and unique plants and animals.

Kspace

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

An absolute must for kids! Kspace is an interactive adventure game for kids aged 5-12. Adults are welcome to participate too. Kspace lets visitors build their own time-travelling robot and then blast off into a mystery location in Australia’s past. Kspace takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Kspace is fun to play multiple times as each time you play the variables are different. You can create the robot differently and be sent to a different time period such as Victorian goldfields of 1854 or Sydney in the 1930s when the Harbour Bridge was being built. We were sent to the time of the dinosaurs. 

The Antarctica Experience

A virtual reality film, screened daily, the Antarctica Experience costs $20 for admission and takes 30 minutes to complete. Not recommended for children under the age of 13.

 

The Museum Cafe

The cafe has a stunning view of Lake Burley Griffin. The menu features locally-made cakes and pastries, seasonal light meals and daily specials.

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

National Museum of Australia
Lawson Crescent

Acton Peninsula, Canberra
Hours: Daily, 9am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Cafe: Daily 9am–4.45pm

Prices: Free
Parking: 8.30am to 5pm weekdays, $2.90 per hour or $14 per day. Short-stay machines accept Visa, MasterCard and coins.
Online

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Canberra, Australia

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is a 54.5 square kilometres protected area, on the fringe of Namadgi National Park in Canberra, Australia. Tidbinbilla is home to a wide range of wildlife including koalas, emus, kangaroos, platypus, wombats, potoroos, wallaroos, possums, water birds, echidnas, snakes and much more.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Located around 35km or 40 minutes drive from the Canberra CBD, Tidbinbilla is a fantastic spot to escape the city and enjoy wildlife and nature. 

Visitor Centre

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The first stop is the Visitor Centre, where you can pick up a map, shop for a unique gift or grab a coffee or light snack in the kiosk. There are many picnic and barbecue areas throughout Tidbinbilla however no proper cafes, so either grab a snack such as ice cream, hot pies and sausage rolls, cold drinks (vegetarian options available) or BYO food.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Pick up a map of the reserve and a kids nature trail. It has a list of animals to tick off and makes for a fun activity to encourage kids to keep their eyes peeled.

Tidbinbilla manages breeding programs for the critically endangered Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby, the Tasmanian Bettong and the Northern Corroboree Frog, the last of which you can see at the Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre. The Rock-wallaby is shy but may be glimpsed in the Rock-wallaby habitat. 

To enter the reserve requires passing through a gate and paying an entry fee. There are numerous walking trails throughout the reserve. The park rangers can advise on which is best for your individual needs and desires. 

We wanted to see wildlife and a not-too-long walk so were recommended parking at the Ribbon Gum car park to access two walks, the Koala Path and Sanctuary Loop.

Koala Path

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The Koala Path is a 700m return walk that takes around 20 minutes and is graded easy. There are plenty of koalas to be spotted here, as well as wombats, potoroos and wallabies.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Sanctuary Loop

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The Sanctuary Loop is a 2.1 km return circular track that takes around 90 minutes and is graded easy. It consists of a series of interconnected habitat zones which are linked by a wheelchair-friendly walking trail. The Sanctuary is surrounded by a predator-proof fence, providing a safe refuge for the wildlife within. 

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The trail takes winding turns through various habitats including wetlands and bush. Animals such as Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies, platypus, echidnas, birds, and other animals can be seen here. We were lucky enough to spot platypus swimming and other visitors we ran into saw a large snake. We also saw beautiful swans and pelicans. 

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Nature Discovery Playground

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

A last stop on the way out, the Nature Discovery Playground is perfect for kids. I would suggest this area for a picnic after seeing the animals on the other walks. 

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The playground is sprawling and features various zones with a nature theme. There are play areas for different ages including slides, a flying fox and climbing equipment.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Know before you go

There are no bins at Tidbinbilla so take your rubbish with you.

No pets allowed.

No camping in the reserve.

Fires only permitted in authorised places.

Drive carefully and observe the 35 km speed limit for the safety of the wildlife.

A vehicle is required to access Tidbinbilla with a 15km ring road taking you through the Reserve.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Paddy’s River Road,
Paddys River ACT

Access is off Paddy’s River Road, via Cotter Road (Weston Creek). An alternative route via Drakeford Drive, Woodcock Ave and Point Hut Crossing (Gordon) allows access via Tidbinbilla Road. Drive time is less than 20 minutes.

Hours: Visitors Centre daily 9am-5pm. reserve gates daily, winter 7:30am-6pm, summer 7:30am-8pm.
Parking: Entry fees are required to enter the park. A day pass is $13 for a vehicle with seats for up to 8 people.
Download the guide here.
tidbinbilla.act.gov.au

Find more things to to in Canberra here

Blasting Off Into Space At The Canberra Deep Space Centre

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

CSIRO – Tidbinbilla – Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex is a working Earth station located in Tidbinbilla in the ACT. Housed within the complex, the Canberra Space Centre features exhibits on the past, present and future of space exploration.

The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex opened in Tidbinbilla, about 35kms southwest of the city of Canberra, in 1965 to track the Apollo Lunar Module. 

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Canberra Space Centre

Canberra Space Centre offer visitors the opportunity to learn about Australia’s role in the exploration of space. The centre is not extremely large – its basically two large rooms joined together, but the rooms are packed with exhibits and information. 

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Of particular note are the piece of moon rock over 3.8 billion years old, Solar System images, spacecraft models, space hardware and special items of memorabilia from across the years. We all found it fascinating reading about what astronauts eat in space, seeing their authentic clothing and space suits and reading about disasters, challenges and victories made in space.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Several of the exhibits are interactive, making it a fun spot to take kids, as well.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Space enthusiasts will particularly enjoy seeing the largest steerable parabolic antenna in the Southern Hemisphere.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

The Moon Rock Cafe is an excellent spot to have lunch or afternoon tea. We really enjoyed our meal and would highly recommend dining in.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia

The cafe has an indoor and outdoor under-covered seating area. The outdoor area is next to the fenced playground, which has a shade cloth, and is next to the public toilets.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia

I would suggest combining a visit to the Canberra Space Centre with seeing nearby Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Together they make an excellent day trip.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

It takes about 45 minutes to drive from the Canberra CBD to Tidbinbilla. It’s a very remote area so please note that mobile coverage in the area is limited, the roads are rough and the nearest petrol station is 25km away. Please drive carefully as it’s an area with lots of wildlife.

CSIRO – Tidbinbilla – Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
421 Discovery Dr,
Paddys River ACT 

Visitor Centre
Hours: Daily 9am-5pm
Prices: Free
Moon Rock Café
Hours: Daily 9:30am-4pm. 
cdscc.nasa.gov

Find more things to do in Canberra here.

Making Dollars & Cents at the Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, Australia

Royal Canberra Mint, ACT, Australia

We’ve been talking a lot about money lately – how we earn it, how we need to be careful about spending it, and trying to instil the value of it with a 6-year-old. It only made sense then to visit the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra to continue the conversation in how money is made.

Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, Australia

The Royal Australian Mint makes all of Australia’s circulating coins. It opened in 1965 and, since then, has produced over fourteen billion coins, with the capacity to produce two million coins per day. That’s a whole lotta cash!

It’s free to drop by the Mint, and, since it’s only a small building, it’s the perfect add-on to a day with other activities on the agenda.

On the ground floor, we enjoyed trying to count how many coins were in the giant coin feature at the entrance (Cheese guessed around 14 thousand, which they said was pretty close), and checking out all the limited edition and special release coins in the gift shop.

Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, Australia

This is also where you can mint your own $1 coin (at a cost of $3) and take it home.

Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, Australia

Tip: As soon as your skin touches the coin it is classed as being “circulated” and is only worth $1. If you carefully put it into the protective sleeve using, say, a your T shirt to protect it from your skin, then it’s classed as “uncirculated” and automatically worth $5.

Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, Australia

Up the coin-filled stairs is the exhibition and factory viewing areas. We really enjoyed looking at some of Australia’s earliest currency, including the Holey Dollar and Dump, Australia’s first minted coins – made by a convicted forger.

Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, Australia

The factory wasn’t in action when we visited on the weekend, so I would suggest visiting on a week day to see the coin-making in action. We did however still Titan, the Mint robot capable of lifting 1000 kilograms. He does a little wave and dance to keep himself active on days when he isn’t lifting coins.

Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, Australia

I would highly suggest joining one of the free guided tours that are run seven days a week. They run for around 30 minutes – perfect for short attention spans. The guides have a lot of really interesting insights into the history of coins in Australia and detailed info on how they’re made at Mint.

Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, Australia

 

On the tour you will hear some interesting stories about the history of coins in Australia and look out over the factory while you learn how coins are made.

If you’re after an extra activity there is a Mint Treasure Hunt in the My Visit to the Mint Activity Book available at the front desk or shop.

Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, Australia

 

Royal Australian Mint
Denison St, Deakin ACT
Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30am-5pm, Sat & Sun 10am-4pm
Tours: Mon-Fri 10am & 2pm, Weekends and Public Holidays 11am, 1pm & 2 pm.
Entry: Free
ramint.gov.au

Up Close With Birds at the Canberra Walk-In Aviary, Australia

Canberra Walk-In Aviary, Australia

On our recent trip to the ACT, we took out little bird-lover to the Canberra Walk-In Aviary. The Aviary is a 1000 square metre, planted, privately owned walk-in aviary where free flying birds can be watched, photographed and even fed. As they are very used to humans, the birds are happy to fly and walk around their huge aviary paying very little attention to the visitors – unless they are keen for a bit of a feed.

Canberra Walk-In Aviary, Australia

The aviary contains around 500 birds of over 60 different species from Australia and around the world. We spotted parrots, finches, doves and quails, plus plenty of others we didn’t recognise.

Canberra Walk-In Aviary, Australia

As part of the admission fee visitors are given a small plate of food (we were given apple slices) and tub of live mealworms. You can buy extra tubs of mealworms if you run out.

Canberra Walk-In Aviary, Australia

The birds typically will approach humans for the food, unless you visit on a stinking hot day like we did. If the weather is hot, the birds tend to stay in their trees and not come out – if it’s over 34 degrees Celsius, the aviary closes for the day.

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

We had a fantastic time, even though the birds were generally too hot to come out, and are planning to visit again in cooler weather.

Canberra Walk-In Aviary, Australia

Note: the aviary is in full sun so wear a hat and bring sunscreen. The path is wide and flat so I would think strollers and wheelchairs would be ok to get around. There is no cafe on the premises but there are cafes nearby. The birds like sparkly things so it’s advised that you leave jewellery at home (including earrings).

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

The Canberra Walk-in Aviary is located in O’Hanlon Place in the village of Gold Creek. Gold Creek Village is situated off the Barton Highway (road to Yass) in the Northern Canberra suburb of Nicholls. The drive will take approx 20 minutes from the City Centre.

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra National Gallery of Australia, Canberra National Gallery of Australia, Canberra National Gallery of Australia, Canberra National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Canberra Walk-In Aviary, Australia

 

Canberra Walk-in Aviary
18 O’Hanlon Pl, Nicholls
canberrawalkinaviary.com.au

National Dinosaur Museum Canberra, Australia

National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia

I have to be honest, the National Dinosaur Museum wasn’t on our list of must-visits in Canberra, and we stumbled upon it completely by accident. We’ve seen a lot of dinosaur bones over the years and really thought we’d seen it all before.

National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia

I wandered into the museum while seeking shade on a blisteringly hot summer day and was amazed by the incredible dinosaur statues outside, plus the amazing mineral and crystals inside decorating the gift shop. That was it, our interest was piqued, and we all had to take a look at the rest of the museum.

National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia

We loved the museum and can’t believe it hadn’t been on our radar previously. The National Dinosaur Museum is home to the largest permanent display of dinosaur and prehistoric fossils in Australia. It’s a really small museum, with lots packed into it to see. The museum’s exhibition follows the evolution of life, with a particular focus on dinosaurs, so a visit gives a very comprehensive overview of the history of life on Earth, displayed in chronological order.

National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia

The museum has two floors. Downstairs is the gift shop and family activity room with books, an education video playing and various fossil and dinosaur crafts and toys for kids to play with. The gift shop is incredible – jam packed with not just cool things to buy, but also giant crystals and minerals and even a few huge fossils from the ice age.

National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia

Upstairs is the main exhibition area, with with fossils from 700 million-year-old marine fauna through to fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. The 12 animatronic dinosaurs dotted around the exhibits entertained the littlies while older kids could read the educational info panels.

National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia

There are two scavenger trails/kids hunts that visitors can complete, divided by age groups. The trails take you around the museum to answer questions. If you answer all the answers correctly you take home a certificate with a tiny fossil attached. A really neat idea that gives kids an extra way to engage in the exhibits and really pay attention to what they’re seeing.

National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia

Outside is a Dinosaur Garden featuring life-like fibreglass models. Kids are welcome to climb the dinosaurs if they like.

There is an undercover seating area but no cafe, so bring your own food.

We were surprised by how much we all enjoyed the National Dinosaur Museum, so highly recommend it, even if you and your dino-fans think you’ve seen it all before!

The National Dinosaur Museum is located in the village of Gold Creek. Gold Creek Village is situated off the Barton Highway (road to Yass) in the Northern Canberra suburb of Nicholls. The drive will take approx 20 minutes from the City Centre.

National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia

National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia

National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia

National Dinosaur Museum
6 Gold Creek Rd, Nicholls
Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm
nationaldinosaurmuseum.com.au

Hotel Review: Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

Canberra is one of our fave weekend escapes. There’s just so much to love about the city, from it’s amazing galleries and museums to its delicious cafes, beautiful gardens and family-friendly hotels. We recently stayed at the Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel, and have nothing but high praise for the hotel and its staff.

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

I’m a strong believer in first impressions, and the Crowne Plaza impressed from the moment we walked through the front doors and were blasted with sweetly fragranced air conditioning on a face-meltingly hot summer’s day.

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

The large atrium in the centre of the Crowne Plaza is a stunning, light-filled place complete with comfy couches to read the paper or watch the news on TV. On days like the ones we experienced, with temperatures almost reaching 40dC, it was a welcome comfort to have somewhere air conditioned to relax in for a bit!

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

The staff at the Crowne Plaza could not have been more helpful or friendly throughout our stay. From our fast and friendly check-in to suggestions for kid-friendly eateries nearby, and warm servers in the breakfast dining room, we felt extremely welcome and comfortable during our stay.

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

A massive plus for the hotel is also it’s fantastic location. It’s right in the centre of the city, next to the beautiful Glebe Park, and only two blocks from the city’s main shopping area, completely with supermarket, restaurants, cheaper food eateries and every other kind of convenience you might need. Being so close to the main city area mean that we were able to walk to the supermarket for a few groceries as well as cheaper food options for dinner each night.

The Crowne Plaza is also very close to all of the main attractions in Canberra. It’s 2km from the Australian War Memorial museum, and 5 km from the area where you’ll find the National Gallery of Australia, Questacon, Parliament House and Old Parliament House. It’s a really fast drive along Canberra’s smooth roads.

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in a refurbished deluxe room with a park view. The view was gorgeous to wake up to each day – a beautiful oasis of calm right outside the window. The room itself was light and airy, very modern with flat-screen TV, a couch that our daughter commandeered, two extremely comfortable double beds, tea and coffeemaking facilities and a minibar where we put things like milk, yoghurt and cheese and crackers.

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

Wifi is now free for all guests, but there are additional charges for parking in the underground carpark and the breakfast buffet.

While our family of three fits perfectly in a room like this with two double beds, larger rooms are available for families such as suites with balconies and kitchenettes with dining tables, or interconnecting rooms. You can also request an additional rollaway bed.

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

Other facilities offered at the hotel include a sauna, outdoor pool and fitness centre. The pool was a welcome relief on the very hot days that we visited. There were so many kids using the pool I wasn’t able to get a shot of it for this post!

The Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD supplied me with the below pic of the pool so you can see how great it is. In the afternoon the pool is shaded by the building, making it the perfect time of day to swim without worrying about sunburn.

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

If you choose to dine at the hotel, there’s the modern bar, Binara One, open daily from 4pm. It offer drinks and light meals. Redsalt Restaurant is an upmarket option open daily for breakfast lunch and dinner, plus there is 24-hour room service. Both Redsalt and room service have dedicated kids’ menus.

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

We enjoyed breakfast in the hotel each morning with eggs made to order, barista coffee and a variety of fruit, breads, cereals, baked goods and juices.

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

While the Crowne Plaza does offer entertainment in the family room during school holidays, we were too busy out and about to enjoy it on this trip. It’s a great option however to be able to take littlies to a place in the hotel to play when one parent needs a rest back in the room!

If you’re visiting with your family, check the Crowne Plaza website for special family getaway deals. At the time of our stay they were offering a package that included accommodation for two adults and up to two children, with included breakfast and 3-in-fun tickets to Questacon, Cockington Green Gardens & the Australian Institute of Sport.

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

Hotel Review: Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel
1 Binara St, Canberra ACT
canberra.crowneplaza.com

Thank you to the Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel for hosting us during our stay. All opinions are my own. 

Visiting Canberra with the kids? Here are some places you should check out.

The Best Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

The Best Things To Do In Canberra ACT Australia With Kids | Family Travel | Travel With Kids

The Best Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

Australia’s capital city is pretty much a playground for kids to engage in art, history and nature. You won’t be short on ways to spend a fun (and educational!) few days in the nation’s capital city – there are so many things to do in Canberra with kids.

National Gallery of Australia

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT
The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) is the national art museum of Australia and is home to than 166,000 works of art, including over 7500 works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. We particularly enjoyed the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works including a lovely Waterlillies by Claude Monet and one of Degas’ exquisite sculptures of a dancer, and the Ned Kelly series by Sidney Nolan.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

Outside, in the grounds surrounding the NGA, are 26 sculptures on display by both Australian and International artists. It’s an extremely pleasurable experience to walk through the bush discovering these incredible works of art, and also a very easy way to introduce kids to art if you’re a bit nervous of taking them inside a gallery with their sticky hands.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

The NGA has the dedicated NGAPLAY section for children to engage in the arts. Check their website closer to your visit to see what they are currently offering. In my opinion, a visit to the NGA is top of the list for things to do in Canberra with kids.

Get more info on visiting the National Gallery of Australia here.

National Gallery Australia
Parkes Pl E, Parkes
Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Prices: Free
nga.gov.au
Parking: Free underneath the gallery on weekends.

National Museum of Australia

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

Learn about the nation’s social history, including the issues, people and events that have shaped the way we are today. The museum’s National Historical Collection features more than 21,000 objects that represent Australia’s historical and cultural heritage.

Kids will love the 3x10m cast of the Australian dinosaur Muttaburrasaurus in the Main Hall and the award-winning Kspace robotics adventures game.

Get more info on visiting the National Museum of Australia here

National Museum of Australia
Lawson Crescent

Acton Peninsula, Canberra
Hours: Daily, 9am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Prices: Free
Parking: 8.30am to 5pm weekdays, $2.90 per hour or $14 per day. Short-stay machines accept Visa, MasterCard and coins.

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

A 40-minutes drives from the CBD, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is home to koalas, kangaroos, possums, reptiles, echidnas, platypus and more. After spotting all the animals and enjoying the easy walking trails, take kids to the excellent Nature Discovery Playground to burn off steam and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Get more info on visiting Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve here

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Paddy’s River Road, Paddys River ACT
Hours: Visitors Centre daily 9am-5pm. reserve gates daily, winter 7:30am-6pm, summer 7:30am-8pm.
Prices
: A day pass is $13 for a vehicle with seats for up to 8 people.
Parking: Free

CSIRO – Tidbinbilla – Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Blast off into space at the Canberra Space Centre. The centre is home to the largest steerable antenna in the Southern hemisphere, with their visitors centre presenting exhibits on the past, present and future of space exploration. There are several hands-on exhibits to be enjoyed, plus a fenced playground next to the excellent Moon Rock Cafe. 

Get more info on visiting the Canberra Deep Space Centre here

CSIRO – Tidbinbilla – Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
421 Discovery Dr,
Paddys River ACT 
Hours: Visitor Centre daily, 9am-5pm, Moon Rock Café daily 9:30am-4pm.
Prices: Free
Parking: Free 

Questacon National Science and Technology Centre

Questacon, Canberra, Australia
Questacon has been THE place to take kids to learn about science since I was a kid myself and it’s amazing how over the years it’s changed but kept the same wonderful focus on engaging kids in science and technology.

Questacon, Canberra, Australia

Questacon is filled with more than 200 interactive exhibits relating to science and technology. There’s plenty of hands-on fun to be had, from robots to slides, simulated earthquakes and science experiments. If you have a kid who loves science, put Questacon top of your list for things to do in Canberra with kids.

Get more info on visiting Questacon here.

Questacon
King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT
Hours: Daily 9am – 5pm including holidays. Closed 25 December.
questacon.edu.au

Parliament House

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Parliament House is the meeting place of the Parliament of Australia. The building was opened on 9 May 1988 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia. The distinctive grass ramps on the sides recreate the shape of Capital Hill before Parliament House was constructed. They’re a lot of fun to run up and roll back down again!

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Of the 4,700 rooms in Parliament House, many are are open to the public. It’s incredibly easy to just turn up at any time and visit Parliament House – no booking or tours are required. There is a short queue to get through a brief security check, and then you’re on your own to discover the house. Be sure to take the elevator to the roof for an incredible view. If education is top of your list, then Parliament House is one of our top pics for things to do in Canberra with kids.

Get more info on visiting Parliament House here.

Parliament House
Parliament Drive, Canberra
Hours: Parliament House is open every day except Christmas Day.
Non-sitting days 9am-5pm, sitting days Monday-Thursday 9am-6pm
Prices: Free
aph.gov.au/Visit_Parliament

National Arboretum Canberra

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia

The National Arboretum Canberra is one of the world’s largest living collections of rare, endangered and significant trees. With over 44,000 trees from over 100 countries are growing across the huge 250 hectare (618 acre) site, it’s a place to visit to to feel at one with nature and enjoy discovering trees from around Australia and the world.

National Aboretum Canberra, ACT, Australia

Its easy to drive into the Aboretum and up to the visitor’s centre where there is a cafe, incredible Pod Playground (more on that on that HERE) and maps to the various sections and sculptures. You can walk around the Aboretum, from feature to feature, if you have the time and legs that enjoy walking. If you have a little one in tow you will find driving between the significant features much easier and quicker. Make sure to visit the ‘Nest III’ and ‘Wide Brown Land’ sculptures before you leave. A visit to the Pod Playground alone, which I consider to be the best designed playground I’ve ever seen, is a prime reason to put the Aboretum top of your list for things to do in Canberra with kids.

Get more info on visiting the National Arboretum Canberra here.

National Aboretum Canberra
Forest Dr, Canberra City
Hours: The Arboretum grounds and Pod Playground are open daily from 6am to 8:30pm during Daylight Savings Time and from 7am to 5:30pm during Eastern Standard Time (Non-daylight Savings Time).
Prices: Free entry
nationalarboretum.act.gov.au

Old Parliament House

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

A visit to Canberra is a journey through our nation’s past. It’s impossible to visit Australia’s Capital City without recognising where we’ve come from and, also, where we’re going. An important place to make a stop to learn about our past is Old Parliament House, the seat of the Parliament of Australia from 1927 to 1988.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House has incredible programs for families all-year round as they are is committed to engaging families and young people in conversations about democracy and their voices in it. From free Family Action Packs to the PLAY UP and DRESS UP sections designed specifically for kids, there is plenty to engage little ones at the House.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

We particularly loved the outdoor rose gardens, which are free to visit and a beautiful spot to scoot through or have a picnic.

Get more info on visiting Old Parliament House here.

Old Parliament House
18 King George Terrace, Parkes
Hours: Daily 9am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Entry to the gardens is free but a small fee is required to enter Old Parliament House.
https://moadoph.gov.au/

Australian War Memorial

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

The Australian War Memorial is Australia’s national memorial to the members of its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in wars involving Australia.

Australian War Memorial

The Memorial caters to children, aiming to educate and engage them in history through story time, museum theatre shows, family tours, holiday workshops and drop in craft. A Discovery Zone has been set up as an educational space for visiting school groups (and the public on certain days and times), featuring five environments inspired by Australia’s military history.

Get more info about visiting the Australian War Memorial here.

The Australian War Memorial
Treloar Cres, Campbell
Hours: Daily 10am-5pm daily. Closed Christmas Day.
Prices: Free
https://www.awm.gov.au
Additional image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

Lake Burley Griffin

Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra, ACT, Australia

This ornamental lake was built in the centre of Canberra and is the perfect spot to scoot or ride a bike around, stop for a picnic and meet the wild swans and ducks. In autumn the leaves around the lake are stunning.

Australian Institute of Sport

Australian Institute of Sport
Photo courtesy of http://havewheelchairwilltravel.net

A guided tour is the only way to go behind the scenes at Australia’s premier elite sports precinct. As well as getting an overview of what goes on at the Australian Institute of Sport (and possibly seeing some of Australia’s top athletes in training), all tours include a visit to Sportex, an interactive sports exhibit. Guided public tours depart daily from the AIS Visitor Centre at 10am, 11:30, 1pm and 2:30pm and go for 90 minutes. Bookings are not required.

Australian Institute of Sport

Leverrier Street, Bruce
Hours: Tours Desk is open Monday to Friday: 8:30am-5:00pm, Weekends and public holidays 10am-4pm.
http://www.experienceais.com/

Cockington Green Gardens

Cockington Green, Canberra, Australia

Cockington Green Gardens is a park of miniatures set in beautifully landscaped gardens. This family-owned and operated attraction has been running for over the past 35 years. Take a look at the highly detailed miniature versions of popular attractions around the world on a stroll through these delightful gardens.

Cockington Green Gardens
Photo courtesy of http://havewheelchairwilltravel.net

Cockington Green Gardens
11 Gold Creek Rd, Nicholls
Hours: Daily 9:30am-5pm
cockingtongreen.com.au

National Dinosaur Museum

National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia
The National Dinosaur Museum is home to the largest permanent display of dinosaur and prehistoric fossils in Australia. It’s a really small museum, with lots packed into it to see. The museum’s exhibition follows the evolution of life, with a particular focus on dinosaurs, so a visit gives a very comprehensive overview of the history of life on Earth, displayed in chronological order.

National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia

Read more about visiting the National Dinosaur Museum here.

National Dinosaur Museum
6 Gold Creek Rd, Nicholls
Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm
nationaldinosaurmuseum.com.au

Canberra Walk-in Aviary

Canberra Walk-In Aviary, Australia
The Aviary is a 1000 square metre, planted, privately owned walk-in aviary where free flying birds can be watched, photographed and even fed. As they are very used to humans, the birds are happy to fly and walk around their huge aviary paying very little attention to the visitors – unless they are keen for a bit of a feed.

Get more info on visiting the Canberra Walk-in Aviary here.

Canberra Walk-in Aviary
18 O’Hanlon Pl, Nicholls
canberrawalkinaviary.com.au

Royal Australian Mint

Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, Australia

The Royal Australian Mint makes all of Australia’s circulating coins. It opened in 1965 and, since then, has produced over fourteen billion coins, with the capacity to produce two million coins per day.

It’s free to drop by the Mint, and, since it’s only a small building, it’s the perfect add-on to a day with other activities on the agenda. Mint your own coin, wave to Titan, the Mint’s super-strong robot and take a free guided tour.

Get more info on visiting the Royal Australian Mint here.

Royal Australian Mint
Denison St, Deakin ACT
Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30am-5pm, Sat & Sun 10am-4pm
Tours: Mon-Fri 10am & 2pm, Weekends and Public Holidays 11am, 1pm & 2 pm.
Entry: Free
ramint.gov.au

Canberra Reptile Zoo

Canberra Reptile Zoo, Australia

With over 50 different species of reptiles and frogs on display, the Canberra Reptile Zoo is large enough to be impressive but still small enough to have a very strong hands on approach. Touch a python or dragon and have a chat with with the keepers.

Canberra Reptile Zoo, Australia
Canberra Reptile Zoo

O’Hanlon Pl, Nicholls
Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm
reptilesinc.com.au

3inFun Canberra Pass

If you’re planning to visit Cockington Green Gardens, Questacon and the Australian Institute of Sport, the 3inFun Canberra Pass offers a saving of 25% on the usual price plus a free return visit to one of the participating attractions.
http://www.3infun.com.au

Places To Eat in Canberra

Pâtissez

Patissez, Canberra, ACT, Australia
Home of the freak shake as well as delicious food, we highly recommend visiting Pâtissez for brekkie and a shake.

Patissez, Canberra, ACT, Australia
21 Bougainville St, Griffith

Agostini’s

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia
We discovered this new gem at the base of the East Hotel and loved it so much we ate there twice. An absolutely delicious family-friendly Italian restaurant.
6/4 Giles St, Griffith
http://www.agostinis.com.au

Guild

Guild, Canberra, Australia

A really fun restaurant where board games line the walls. There are plenty to choose from that will suit all ages and abilities. The food is a bit average – standard pub-type fare – but you’re really here to play the games while you eat. We ordered pizzas and salad.

Guild, Canberra, Australia

LG Baileys Corner, 150 London Circuit, Canberra
guild.house

Vapiano

Vapiano is fantastic when you have kids who are picky eaters. There is a huge range of pizza, pasta and salad to choose from. The pizza and pasta are handmade from scratch. Adults will enjoy the extensive cocktail menu.

Vapiano Canberra Australia Vapiano Canberra Australia Vapiano Canberra Australia

Canberra Centre, Monaro Mall, 148 Bunda St, Canberra
vapiano.com.au

Gelato Messina

Gelato Messina Canberra Australia

Our fave gelato shop is a must visit regardless of the season. Gelato Messina has 40 flavours and weekly specials. Dairy-free sorbet is also available.

Gelato Messina Canberra Australia

Shop 4/21 Lonsdale St, Braddon
gelatomessina.com

Space Kitchen

Space Kitchen Canberra Australia

The menu at Space Kitchen is fun, playful and experimental. Some dishes are incredibly instagrammable but aren’t the tastiest when eaten (such as the cloud waffles shown), however the simple dishes like eggs on toast are divine. 

Space Kitchen Canberra Australia Space Kitchen Canberra Australia Space Kitchen Canberra Australia Space Kitchen Canberra Australia

3g/12 Furzer St, Phillip
space-kitchen.com.au

How To Get Around

Canberra Australia

I would advise driving in Canberra if you can either drive to the city in your own car, or hire one when you arrive. The attractions are far apart and the hotels are not within walking distance. If you don’t drive, there is a local bus service you can use. For more info: http://www.transport.act.gov.au

Where To Stay in Canberra

East Hotel

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant AustraliaThis boutique hotel is 2.3 km from Parliament House and 2.9 km from the National Gallery of Australia. The East Hotel is vibrant, contemporary, and very artsy, offering free bicycle rentals and dishing out lollies in reception.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

A big draw of the East Hotel, beyond the contemporary aesthetic, are the bright rooms that feature either kitchens or kitchenettes, balconies, free limited Wi-Fi and Nespresso machines. There are one and two-bedroom apartments that have full kitchens, and fantastic rooms for kids with bunk beds, bean bags and Xbox 360 video game consoles.

Get more info on staying at the East Hotel here.

East Hotel
69 Canberra Ave, Kingston ACT
Book your stay at the East Hotel

Novotel Canberra

Novotel Canberra, ACT AustraliaThe Novotel Canberra is a 4 ½ star hotel with 286 rooms. It’s located 0.2km from the city centre, entertainment and retail precincts and 8km from the airport, making it a very central base for a Canberra stay.

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

Bring your swimmers to make the most out of their newly renovated indoor swimming pool. Kids will love the play space in the lobby and the awesome Angry Birds welcome pack.

Get more info on staying at the Novotel Canberra here.

Novotel Canberra
65 Northbourne Ave, Canberra
Book your stay at the Novotel Canberra

Crowne Plaza CBD Canberra

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel AustraliaThe Crowne Plaza CBD Canberra is a top choice for a stay in Canberra. The location is incredible – right in the centre of the CBD close to restaurants, shops and supermarkets. It’s also close to all of the main attractions.

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel Australia

The Crowne Plaza Hotel has family-sized rooms and suites, making it perfect for larger families. It also has a great pool and excellent breakfast buffet.

Get more info on staying at the Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel here.

Crowne Plaza Canberra CBD Hotel
1 Binara St, Canberra ACT
Book your stay at the Crowne Plaza CBD Canberra

The Best Things To Do In Canberra ACT Australia With Kids | Family Travel | Travel With Kids

The Best Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

This post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you book using my links. It will not cost you any extra. Thanks for supporting Adventure, baby!

Canberra Travel Guide: Australian War Memorial

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

A must-visit in Canberra, the Australian War Memorial is Australia’s national memorial to the members of its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in wars involving Australia.

It’s a sobering visit that requires attention and time, and I would advise leaving aside the majority of a day to adequately explore its shrine, museum and garden.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

The Memorial’s purpose is to commemorate the sacrifice of those Australians who have died in war and to help visitors interpret and understand the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact on Australian society.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

Covered in detail are Colonial Conflicts, the First World War, the Second World War and
Conflicts 1945 to today, with halls dedicated to the Anzacs, aircraft and valour (distinguished service people). The stories are told through dioramas, artefacts, photographs and videos. It’s a confronting, emotional experience to walk through the halls and learn about the sacrifices made for future generations to live in peace.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

The Hall of Memory, set above the Pool of Reflection, is the heart of the Australian War Memorial. The walls surrounding the pool is the Cloisters, where the walls have been created as a Roll of Honour, inscribed with the names of 102,000 people who have given their lives in the service of this country. Inside hall lies the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier, a place to stand still and contemplate all that’s past in the hopes of future peace.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

For a place of quiet contemplation, I suggest visiting The Memorial Sculpture Garden, located to the west of the main building.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

I would suggest timing your visit to co-incide with the closing of the Memorial to witness the beautiful farewell ceremony that is carried out daily. At the end of each day, at 4:55pm AEST, the Memorial farewells visitors with its moving Last Post Ceremony.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

The ceremony begins with the singing of the Australian National Anthem, followed by the poignant strains of a lament, played by a piper. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names etched on the Roll of Honour is told. The Ode is then recited, and the ceremony ends with the sounding of the Last Post. It is an incredibly moving experience.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

Visiting the Australian War Memorial with Kids

The Memorial caters to children, aiming to educate and engage them in history through story time, museum theatre shows, family tours, holiday workshops and drop in craft. A Discovery Zone has been set up as an educational space for visiting school groups, featuring five environments inspired by Australia’s military history: a trench on the Western Front in France from the First World War, the Australian home front during the Second World War,
an Iroquois helicopter hovering in a field in Vietnam, an Oberon Class submarine, searching for enemy targets and a peacekeeping mission in a war-ravaged community.

Australian War Memorial
Kids Story Time, Hands on History and Craft Public Programs, 7/10/2016

Children can climb, jump, crawl, touch and explore in all areas of the Discovery Zone. It’s open to the public from 12.30pm to 1.30pm on weekdays and all day during weekends, public holidays and ACT school holidays.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

The Australian War Memorial
Treloar Cres, Campbell
Hours: Daily 10am-5pm daily. Closed Christmas Day.
Prices: Free
https://www.awm.gov.au
Additional image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

Canberra Travel Guide: Old Parliament House

Old Parliament House, ACT, Canberra

A visit to Canberra is a journey through our nation’s past. It’s impossible to visit Australia’s Capital City without recognising where we’ve come from and, also, where we’re going. It’s one of the best things about visiting IMHO. An important place to make a stop to learn about our past is Old Parliament House, known formerly as the Provisional Parliament House, was the seat of the Parliament of Australia from 1927 to 1988.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Old Parliament House is now a Museum of Australian Democracy, and an exciting place to visit to really get a feeling what life was like in politics during this period.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

The house itself is a fine example of 1920s architecture and design, and the museum offer  a range of exhibitions and engaging activities which explain how the building, its spaces and objects connect us with Australian democracy.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

We visited on Easter Sunday when they were running a free Easter Egg hunt that involved an educational scavenger hunt through the house to find answers to clues, finishing up in the gardens with an Easter treat and free games. Such a fun way to spend a day.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House has incredible programs for families all-year round as they are is committed to engaging families and young people in conversations about democracy and their voices in it.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

If you’re bringing kids to Old Parliament House you needn’t worry they’ll be bored – there’s plenty for kids to keep them occupied.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

My favourite were the free Family Action Packs, available to borrow at the information desk. There are two packs to choose from: Stanley Action Pack and Press Gang Action Pack.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Stanley Action Pack takes kids outdoors and into the grounds of Old Parliament House in search of Stanley, the Superb Blue Wren, and his feathered friends. Kids receive a safari hat, binoculars, magnifying glasses, a notebook to observations of Stanley and his friends in the collaborative bird-watching journal, and modelling clay to make their own Stanley.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

 

Press Gang Action Pack sends kids hot on the heels of a breaking news story throughout the inside of Old parliament House. Step back in time to a world of typewriters and shorthand and catch a glimpse of what it was like to be a reporter inside at Old Parliament House.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Littlies will enjoy the PLAY UP section of the house, which is a hands-on space for kids to dress up, get creative and play. It’s an evolving space curated for, with and by children.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

 

Next door to PLAY UP is the DRESS UP space, where kids can discover the changing fashions of Democracy.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Outside, the Old Parliament House Gardens are a gorgeous spot for a picnic lunch, a wander among the roses or a scoot along the wide, flat paths. The gardens are located in the heart of the Parliamentary Zone on either side of Old Parliament House. They feature seating pavilions, pergolas, rose arbours, pathways, gateways, tennis courts and a bowling green.

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

The Old Parliament House Gardens are comprised of two separate gardens: The House of Representatives Garden, which features the Ladies Rose Garden (Hybrid Tea and Floribunda roses)and Macarthur Rose Garden (China, Tea and Noisette roses), and the Senate Garden, which is home to the Broinowski Rose Garden (Shrub roses) and Rex Hazlewood Rose Garden (Asian and European history of the rose, includes roses by Australian rose breeder Alister Clarke). 

Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Old Parliament House
18 King George Terrace, Parkes
Hours: Daily 9am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Prices: $2 adults, $1 children (free for children under 5 years old) and concessions, $5 family
The Old Parliament House Gardens are open to the public year round: Summer hours (during daylight savings): 7am to 8pm, Winter hours: 7am to 5pm. Entry to the gardens is free.
https://moadoph.gov.au/