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6 Best Outdoor Activities for Families in Canberra

Get outside and explore the nation’s capital with one of these fun family activities

The pod playground at The National Arboretum Image VisitCanberra
The pod playground at The National Arboretum. Image: VisitCanberra

1. Cycle around Lake Burley Griffin

Picnic at Lake Burley Griffin
Picnic at Lake Burley Griffin

Enjoy a leisurely bike ride around Lake Burley Griffin (or part thereof!), taking in many of the city’s iconic attractions en route. There are several cafes along the way — or pack some sandwiches and stop in one of the many beautiful parks that dot the shoreline for a picnic lunch. The circuit is divided into three easy rides. The most popular is the five kilometre-long Central Loop, also known as the ‘Bridge to Bridge’, which takes you between the lake’s two bridges. There’s also the 16-kilometre Western Loop or the nine kilometre-long Eastern Loop.

2. POD playground at the National Arboretum

the pod playground at the national arboretum. image visitcanberra
The pod playground at the National Arboretum. Image: VisitCanberra

Kids will love playing in the giant acorn cubbies, nest swings and banksia pods at the award-winning POD Playground at the National Arboretum, which was established by the ACT government after the devastating 2003 bushfires, which burnt a significant portion of the territory, including pine plantations. Based on the idea of the beginning of life in the forest, the playground also has music-making instruments, and there’s a café nearby where parents can grab a coffee.

3. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Kids on slippery dips at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in the ACT Image VisitCanberra
Kids on slippery dips at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in the ACT. Image: VisitCanberra

For a wonderful wilderness experience, head to this nature reserve, which is around an hour’s drive from the city. Walk through the Sanctuary wetlands, look for koalas in the eucalypt forest, or take a full day hike to the top of the Tidbinbilla Range. There’s also a Nature Discovery Playground, which takes inspiration from the natural beauty and form of the Tidbinbilla Valley with a flying fox, slide and climbing rope frame. There’s a water pump, bouncy toys and other activities for younger kids.

4. Floriade

Kids at Floriade in Canberra Image VisitCanberra
Kids at Floriade in Canberra. Image: VisitCanberra

With roving circus performers, a giant Ferris wheel and miniature train rides, Floriade is a fantastic time for families to visit Canberra. For 30 days across September and October, Commonwealth Park comes alive with this festival of flowers, which also includes live music performances and other entertainment and activities. Dogs’ Day Out is an annual highlight of the program — a special day when visitors can bring their furry friends along to frolic amongst the flowers.

5. Mountain biking at Stromlo Forest Park

Mountain biking in Stromlo Forest Park Image Lightbulb Visit Canberra
Mountain biking in Stromlo Forest Park. Image: Lightbulb Visit Canberra

An epic network of mountain bike trails awaits just 15 minutes’ drive from the city centre at Stromlo Forest Park in the heart of the Molonglo Valley. Surrounded by spectacular scenery, Stromlo’s unique blend of terrain, natural obstacles and hand-built features makes for a great day out.

6. Mini golf at Yarralumla Play Station

Play mini golf at Yarralumla Play Station Image VisitCanberra
Play mini golf at Yarralumla Play Station. Image: VisitCanberra

Test your skills at Lake Walter Miniature Golf at the Yarralumla Play Station, which includes light-hearted adaptations of some of the city’s landmarks. They include a mini-Lake Burley Griffin, the Parliamentary Triangle and the Commonwealth and Kings Avenue Bridges. While you’re there you can also take a ride on the Weston Park Railway and meet the farm animals, which include alpacas, ponies, sheep, pigs and goats.

Where to stay in Canberra

Kids love the rooms at East Hotel Canberra
Kids love the rooms at East Hotel Canberra

Get 10 per cent off the best available rate if you mention Out & About with Kids when booking a room at East Hotel Canberra. Located between the buzzing shopping and restaurant hubs of Kingston and Manuka, the family-owned and operated hotel has special family rooms. The two-bedroom apartments have bunk beds, Xbox One consoles, games, bean bags and dress-up clothes. There are also free lollies in the lobby and kids’ mini bars. Its Italian restaurant, Agostinis, has a kids’ menu including pizza or pasta, gelato and a soft drink for $20. It also offers free bike hire to explore the area.

In partnership with East Hotel Canberra

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