Australia’s capital is a treasure trove of cultural attractions that are mostly within close reach of each other. One good way to get around the city’s main drawcards in either on a bicycle for lone explorers or a car for a group of travellers, just be sure to get a car hire in Canberra before you land to reserve your ride and avoid rush fees and unavailability.
Of course, beyond the historical and parliamentary locations are natural attractions, some of which will need a bit more effort than your late-afternoon leisurely walks down the street. Here are Canberra’s favourite outdoor destinations.
Namadgi National Park – Bushwalking. Found just 45 minutes out of the city centre by car, for fun bushwalks to accommodate all skill levels. You may camp overnight, or pay a day visit. Visiting the historic homestead from the Orroral campground is a highly sought experience. It will just take over an hour both ways, and you’ll be rewarded with birds, roos, pastures and a relic of colonial Australia.
Jerrabomberra Wetlands – Birdwatching. The man-made Jerrabomberra Wetlands is a prime example of the accessibility to Canberra’s attractions. Nestled on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, this paradise is a refuge for scores of waterbird and other native species. Take some repellent with you since the warmer months can cause insect problems.
Mt. Selwyn – Snow fun. There’s a myriad of snowy locations to explore when the weather’s chilly. Mt Selwyn is a well-built, tourist-friendly option, around 2.5 hours out of the city in NSW’s Kosciuszko National Park. A National Park vehicle fee applies. Once you’re in, the snowfields are as gratifying as some of Australia’s top skiing and snowboarding locations.
Lake Burley Griffin – Kayaking. This artificial lake cannot be missed – because it’s just that huge, covering up to 665ha. Various vents and festivals take place around its shores, and the lake itself serves as a playground for any watercraft. Kayak and canoe clubs offer boats for hire, and the vast 11km-long waterbody will give you a sense of freedom.
Wee Jasper Caves – Caving. Even the location of Wee Jasper Caves is an attraction in itself. Between the mesmerizing river and the foothills of the Brindabella Ranges, about an hour drive out of Canberra is this picturesque site for a one-of-a-kind underground exploration. Renowned The Carey’s Cave offers a gateway into what looks like a supernatural crystal palace. Abseil, horse-ride or take on a walking fossil tour.
Mt. Stromlo – Mountain Biking. Canberra boasts some of the best mountain biking places in the world. Events and blossoming tourism ensure that the area is nurtured by constant updates and maintenance. Bikes can be rented, and the observatory is also worth a look.
Googong Dam – Fishing. For fishing enthusiasts, the Googong Dam in the Queanbeyan region is a tourist-friendly destination that has enough to offer to occupy you for a whole week, including walks, museums, and the Bungendore Steam Train. The Dam is the largest in the region and a top-notch fishing spot. It’s also a great picnic spot with plenty of birdlife.
Googong Dam – Fishing. For fishing enthusiasts, the Googong Dam in the Queanbeyan region is a tourist-friendly destination that has enough on offer to occupy you for a whole week, including walks, museums, and the Bungendore Steam Train. The Dam is the largest in the region and a top-notch fishing spot. It’s also a great picnic spot with plenty of birdlife.
As added fun, challenge yourself to visit all of these locations within a week or two. Don’t forget to book a car hire Canberra in advance to get the advantage of low costs and selections. Enjoy your nature exploration in the city down under!