Canberra is a young and vibrant city with four distinct seasons centred around the picturesque Lake Burley Griffin, where much of the local action takes place.
Australia’s capital is only a short three hour drive from Sydney or a quick one hour flight from Sydney or Melbourne and offers a wide range of aquatic activities right in the heart of the city and further afield.
Float peacefully in a hot air balloon over Lake Burley Griffin or check out Canberra’s Kingston Foreshore, a funky new dining precinct with scenic views. If feeling adventurous, venture out to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve to feed a pelican or spot a platypus in their natural habitat. Nearby, Namadgi National Park is home to Gibraltar Falls and a number of marked walking tracks, plus leave time to explore the Murrumbidgee River – Australia’s second longest river.
With no road tolls and minimal traffic, Canberra is the perfect self-drive destination and part of the Capital, Coast and Country Touring Route, boasting breathtaking scenery with stunning coastlines and national parks.
Lake Burley Griffin
Lake Burley Griffin covers 664 hectares and over 40.5 km (25 miles) of shoreline, with many activities suitable for the whole family. Take a leisurely cruise to learn more about the city’s history, flora and native wildlife on the lake, or sail close to the Captain Cook Memorial Water Jet and hear the Carillon (bell tower), when passing Aspen Island. Sailing and stand up paddle boarding is also available on the lake or venture slightly downstream to the edge of the Molonglo River, to find Australia’s best bacon and award winning dining at Pialligo Estate Farmhouse.
The shore of Lake Burley Griffin is lined with scenic pathways perfect for walking, cycling or riding a segway. Tackle the bridge to bridge walk which passes iconic national attractions. Alternatively, pack a picnic and relax in the many parks and gardens surrounding the lake. Proximity to Canberra’s world class attractions from the lake (only a short five minute stroll), and free entry to most, means the chance to do more with less. End the day feasting on the freshest fish and chips at the Canberra Yacht Club overlooking the lake.
- Take a cruise on Lake Burley Griffin
- Hop over to one of the many world class national attractions along the shores Lake Burley Griffin
- Soar over Lake Burley Griffin in a hot air balloon.
The Capital, Coast and Country Touring Route offers an unforgettable self-drive experience through spectacular coastlines, picturesque townships, pristine national parks, world-class national attractions and a plethora of gourmet trails.
Distance: 717 km (446 miles)
Challenge Level: Easy
Recommended duration: 6 days, 5 nights.
Capital Drive (Southern Highlands – Inland New South Wales)
Enjoy the scenic views and dramatic waterfalls in national park wilderness, or uncover treasures at the local country markets and specialty shops. Explore quaint villages, learn about the region’s history or discover a part of Australian sporting history.
Country Drive (Bungendore – Braidwood-Batemans Bay)
Journey through historic Bungendore and Braidwood on the way to the beautiful South Coast, boasting spectacular coastal views and nature experiences. Discover untouched beaches and beautiful rivers that are perfect for year-round aquatic activities. Top it all off with great regional food and wine.
Coastal Drive (Jervis Bay – Kiama-Wollongong)
With breathtaking scenery and spectacular coastline, this drive features some of the most beautiful beaches and rock pools in Australia. Explore pristine national parks, historic villages and unforgettable gourmet experiences through Jervis Bay, Kiama and Wollongong.
The Great Outdoors
With Canberra surrounded by unspoiled national parks, the opportunity to view native wildlife in their natural habitats is aplenty. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is just a short 40 minute drive, set within a beautiful valley framed by rocky-topped mountains. Go on a ranger guided tour to spot a platypus, feed the pelicans and learn about other remarkable wetland inhabitants. Tidbinbilla is home to a wide range of Australian animals including koalas, kangaroos, possums and wombats.
Take in the majestic Gibraltar Falls, a cascade waterfall with a 50m drop, or choose from over 160 km (99 miles) of marked walking trails in Namadgi National Park, only a short 7 minute drive from Tidbinbilla.
Or, explore the Murrumbidgee River, the second longest river in Australia. Go rafting on the river or stop at Cotter Reserve, where picnic grounds, barbeques and peaceful swimming spots abounds. Walking tracks along Kambah Pool and Pine Island provide many bushwalking and wildlife spotting options.
Australian Capital Territory
- Kingston Foreshore
- Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
- Namadgi National Park and Gibraltar Falls
- Murrumbidgee River
Lake Burley Griffin
- Lake Burley Griffin
- Cruise, stand up paddle boarding, hot air balloon or Segway
- Canberra Yacht Club
- Captain Cook Memorial Water Jet
- Aspen Island
- Molonglo River
- Pialligo Estate Farmhouse
The Great Outoors