Canberra - Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve - Namadgi National Park - Canberra District Wine Region - Murrumbidgee River Corridor
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is home to Australia’s capital Canberra. Canberra itself is a vibrant place with many of the country’s major museums and institutions. Beyond Canberra discover wineries, national parks and nature reserves.
At a glance:
- 6 nights Canberra (optional 2 nights in Canberra District Wine region)
- Final day drive Canberra to Batemans Bay (2 hours) or
- Drive Canberra to Jindabyne in the Australian Alps (2 hours)
Canberra is a compact city; the best ways to get around are on a bicycle using the extensive bicycle-path network or by using the hop-on, hop-off Explorer Bus.
This morning head to the Telstra Tower, at the summit of Black Mountain. Standing 195-metres (640-feet) it offers panoramic views across Canberra and the surrounding countryside.
Next, visit the National Museum of Australia, where you can learn about all aspects of Australian history, including Aboriginal culture.
Another option is a visit to the Australian War Memorial. A monument to Australian troops, it also serves as a museum, with interactive displays, including a re-created World War One trench.
After lunch, take a stroll beside Lake Burley Griffin, before heading to the National Gallery of Australia. There are more than 100,000 pieces of art here, including major international and Australian artworks, such as Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles and Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly series.
- Take in panoramic views of Canberra and the surrounding countryside from Telstra Tower.
- Learn about Australian history and Aboriginal culture at the National Museum of Australia.
- Hear the stories of the people and events that shaped Australia at the Australian War Memorial.
- Discover international and Australian artworks at the National Gallery of Australia.
It’s an early start today for a balloon flight over the city.
From here make your way to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. There are several walking trails and prolific wildlife, including grey kangaroos, red-necked wallabies, swamp wallabies, koalas, cockatoos and emus.
Other highlights include a walkway across a waterbird wetland, and the Birrigai Rock Shelter – an ancient Aboriginal camping place that was used for 21,000 years.
On the way back to the city, stop off at the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex. The centre’s four giant dish antennas track various spacecraft. It’s only one of three such facilities in the world.
In the visitor centre you can find a piece of the moon, check out the latest images from Mars, and look at spacecraft models, space hardware, and various astronaut displays.
- Admire Canberra’s lakes and valleys as the sunrises, on a hot air balloon flight.
- See Australian native animals including grey kangaroos, koalas and emus in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
- Explore one of the world's leading space facilities, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex.
Explore Namadgi National Park today either alone or on a tour. The park makes up more than half the ACT. You can climb or abseil on the granite rock outcrops, go fishing for trout, mountain bike along the fire trails, or bushwalk in the wilderness.
There are Aboriginal campsites, ceremonial stone arrangements, rock art sites, an ancient Aboriginal stone quarry, and places where Aboriginal people harvested bogong moths for food.
Kangaroos and wallabies are common, and plenty of other creatures make their homes in the snow-gum woodlands, fern gullies, wetlands, and wildflower plains.
- Climb or abseil granite rock outcrops, fish for trout, mountain bike fire trails or bushwalk.
- Discover Aboriginal sites including rock art sites.
- Explore snow-gum woodlands, fern gullies and wildflower plains meeting kangaroos and wallabies along the way.
Days Four & Five
It’s a more relaxed day today with a wine tour of the ACT. You’ll find more than 30 boutique cellar doors within 35 minutes of Canberra’s city centre, including several that rank alongside Australia’s best. The Canberra District Wine Region is best known for its Shiraz and Riesling, but many other varieties are also available.
Enjoy wine tasting and meet the wine-maker at boutique cellar doors, and if you are hungry there are plenty of gourmet eateries to choose from too. You could veer off along the Poachers Way for charming bed-and-breakfast options, day spas, top-notch restaurants, wineries, and local artisan products.
- Sample cool climate wines at over 30 cellar doors.
- Meet the wine-maker and learn more about the wine making process.
- Discover local artisan products, wineries, day spas and regional eateries along the Poachers Way.
Today, explore the Murrumbidgee River Corridor, just a 20 minute drive from Canberra (Uriarra Crossing).
The Murrumbidgee River rises in the Snowy Mountains and joins the mighty Murray River. The corridor is made up of the river and a narrow strip of land on either side. These have been set-aside as nature and recreation reserves.
The area is ideal for swimming off sandy beaches, fishing for trout, canoeing, bushwalking, picnicking, bird watching and wildlife spotting.
The Murrumbidgee Discovery Track is an iconic river walk that follows the Murrumbidgee for 27 kilometres (17 miles). You can walk the track in sections.
- Meet a colourful array of birds on the Woodstock Nature Reserve Walk (2 hours).
- Swim, kayak and fish at Casuarina Sands.
- Hike part of the Murrumbidgee Discovery Track river walk.
There are two major touring options today, both taking you into areas where you could easily stay for some time.
The first is a scenic journey to the nearby Australian Alps. Australia’s alpine national parks system covers an area extending from the ACT into New South Wales and Victoria.
Come here in spring and walk through wildflower meadows, go trekking and horse riding in the warmer months, and skiing in winter.
Otherwise, you could head towards the coast. It’s a pleasant drive from Canberra to Batemans Bay. From here you can explore a series of beautiful coves and beaches, historic fishing towns, and extensive national parks.
- Climb Mount Kosciuszko, Australia's tallest peak, explore wildflower meadows in spring or try skiing in winter in the Australian Alps.
- Discover New South Wales scenic South Coast from Batemans Bay, sample fresh Australian seafood, visit beautiful beaches and coves, pristine national parks and historic fishing towns.