Thanks to an abundance of family-friendly offerings located within a close geographical span, families are guaranteed to experience one good thing after another in Australia’s capital.
As an added bonus, most of the city’s world-class national attractions offer free entry, making Canberra an affordable destination that won’t break the budget.
To make planning your trip a little easier, VisitCanberra has put together a list of the top 10 family-friendly attractions that can be conquered one after the other, all located just a hop, skip and a jump away from the city’s centre.
Canberra’s wide range of activities will soon be just an eight hour flight away, with Singapore Airlines’ set to commence direct services between Singapore and Canberra on 20 September.
Questacon: Thinking chemistry equations and test tubes? Think again! Science equals fun for all ages at Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre, where families can spend a whole day exploring the 200-plus interactive exhibits. Freefall from a six metre-high slide, experience a simulated earthquake, challenge a robot to a game of air hockey or take your budding scientists (0-6 year olds) to Mini Q.
Play Up – The Right to Shelter, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House: Challenging the idea that museums are hands-off, Play Up allows children to stand up, dress up, make up, think up and step up. While having fun with planes, trains, trucks and giant building blocks, children are encouraged to think about their right to shelter and warmth and other children around the world.
Cycle, wander or segway along Lake Burley Griffin: With its stunning scenery and fully sealed bike paths, Lake Burley Griffin is a great place to burn off some energy. Check out some of Canberra’s iconic galleries and museums scattered along the shoreline, and cycle or walk the 5-kilometre loop between the Kings Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue bridges. For kids aged 12 years and older, discover the Lake and famous landmarks on a segway with the SegGlideRide company.
Boundless playground: Located on the north-east side of the Lake, just off Kings Avenue, Boundless showcases the benefits of inclusion and diversity, enabling children with a disability to explore, play and swing alongside their able-bodied peers. There are ramps, cubbies, swings, slides and a sandpit with diggers.
The Discovery Zone at the Australian War Memorial: Recently awarded the Best Landmark in TripAdvisor’s Australian and the South Pacific categories, the Australian War Memorial offers interactive, educational experiences for kids of all ages. The younger historians of the family can dodge sniper fire in a First World War trench, take control of an Iroquois helicopter and peer through the periscope of a Cold War submarine.
Power Kart Raceway: For the young adrenalin thrill seekers, Power Kart Raceway is an indoor racing experience featuring world-class electric go-karts on an F1-style circuit, not far from the Parliamentary Triangle. The latest-generation OTL Electrokarts are more powerful and consistent than conventional petrol-powered kart, providing beginners and experienced racers with a thrilling experience. There’s a heated spectator area, cafe and amusement arcade.
Just a short drive from Canberra’s CBD, the following attractions should also be on the family-friendly menu:
Australian Institute of Sport: For a truly motivating experience, visit the Australian Institute of Sport, the nation’s premier elite sports precinct. Get an insight into what goes into making a champion athlete on a behind-the-scenes AIS Tour, which includes Sportex, an educational and engaging sports experience where families can try wheelchair basketball, rock climbing and football penalty shoot-outs.
The National Zoo & Aquarium: Get up close and personal with some of the world’s most amazing creatures at the National Zoo & Aquarium. With a wide variety of native and exotic animals and the largest inland saltwater tank in Australia, there’s something for all the family. The Family Tour takes families behind the scenes to feed sun bears and fallow deer and meet monkeys, dingoes, kangaroos and emus.
National Arboretum Canberra – The Pod Playground: The National Arboretum offers panoramic views of the National Capital and 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from all around the world. And for the kids, you ask? The Pod Playground, perched high on top of Dairy Farmer’s Hill, will delight their little faces for hours. It features acorn cubbies staggered at various heights that are connected by rope tunnels and tube slides as well as climbing nets, banksia cubbies with music-making interactivity and sandpits.
Yarralumla Play Station: Surrounded by native flora and fauna, Yarralumla Play Station is the home of Weston Park Railway, Petite Park Petting Zoo and Lake Walter Mini Golf. The 36-hole Canberra-themed minigolf courses include a model Lake Burley Griffin and adaptations of the Parliamentary Triangle. Ride the miniature train, Bluebell, which runs every 30 minutes around the grounds, and look out for the herds of kangaroos that also enjoy the area.
National Dinosaur Museum: Dinosaur fans of all ages will completely ‘dig’ the National Dinosaur Museum, located in Canberra’s Gold Creek Village. With one of the largest permanent displays of dinosaurs and prehistoric life in Australia, children can discover how dinosaurs evolved and interacted amid skulls, skeletons, murals, models and fossils not on display anywhere else in the world. There are even robotic dinosaurs that move, roar, blink and breathe!
Wander through the lifelike models in the landscaped Dinosaur Garden, and browse Canberra’s largest display of minerals, fossils and crystals for sale.
To make it easier to plan your family-friendly trip to Canberra, be sure to download VisitCanberra’s new trip planner app, enabling the user to choose from a wide variety of Canberra experiences to piece together their own video itinerary. The app allows the user to create their own trailer, which can then be shared with family and friends online.
Canberra is an eight-hour flight away from Singapore. From September 20, Singapore Airlines will commence direct flights between Canberra and Singapore four times a week. Contact your travel agent for more details or visit www.singaporeair.com. For more information about Canberra, go to visitcanberra.com.au