Are you ready to discover the Australian capital? Whether you want to learn more about the political history or just complete your tour of Australia, Canberra welcomes you. From its aboriginal name, Canberra means “meeting place” which describes the city well as many cultures live in harmony here. Designed in the nineteenth century by architects Walter Burley and Marion Mahony Griffin, the capital has merged with the times thanks to its contemporary infrastructure. In addition, it offers cultural and political wealth while combining serenity and joie de vivre. So, are you ready to travel for 2 days in the heart of Australia? If so, you’ll need this guide to plan the best 2 days in Canberra.
Visit Canberra – Day 1
Climb Mount Majura at sunrise
To truly capture Canberra, one of the best places to start is the highest point of the capital, at sunrise. Located north of the city, Mount Majura is easily accessible on foot. You can also admire wallabies along the sign-posted walking trail. Once conquering the 888m of altitude you will be rewarded with a splendid view of the valley. On a clear morning, you will discover the famous infrastructure and clean lines of the capital that lead to Parliament. Allowing the perfect photo opportunity to start your day.
Australian War Memorial
While going down the mountain, stop at the Australian War Memorial. This tall building is one of Canberra’s most famous landmarks. Here you will find exquisite white columns, striking architecture and a mirror of water. You will also find an exceptional museum retracing the military history of Australia. Admission to the museum is free and allow approximately 2 hours to visit and read all exhibits.
Discovering the CBD
For a change of scenery head for the CBD. Take time to stroll through the pedestrian streets of the city where colorful murals, statues and fountains mingle. The buzz of the CBD is unmissable as you will find many shops, restaurants, lively bars, parks and shaded terraces to relax and absorb the atmosphere. After your hike, enjoy a well deserved treat at Via Dolce, a deliciously tasty pastry shop offering the best baked goods in the city.
National Capital Exhibition: The Canberra Story
After your relaxing break, visit the National Capital Exhibition near Burley Griffin Lake. This free small museum explains the fascinating creation of Canberra and its evolution until today. It also provides an audio-visual room to broadcast the city’s archives. Ideal for understanding the political climate of the time. In addition, you will have the opportunity to admire the different architectural models proposed during the competition, before construction began in 1913. Must see on your 2 days in Canberra.
Australian National Botanic Garden
The Botanic Gardens in Canberra are one of the largest in Australia as there are 35 acres of gardens with an additional 50 hectares of bush. Fortunately, there are several thematic trails to guide you through its 1.2 million plant species. The main course is recommended, lasting 30 to 45 minutes. From there you are free to discover the various walks offered by the park. In addition, the more adventurous visitors will enjoy the 3.2 km walk leading to the height of the garden.
Night out: Welcome to MooseHeads
If you’re not ready to sleep yet, embrace the nightlife of Canberra at the local favourite – MooseHeads. Located in a vibrant neighborhood, this trendy pub is a favourite with students and locals alike, ready to enjoy meeting friends with great beer. After dark however, the MooseHeads turns into a nightclub with a very fun atmosphere. There are two rooms offering two different experiences. As a tip, it is advisable to arrive early to avoid the long queues ready to dance the night away. Don’t miss it on your 2 days in Canberra
Visit Canberra – Day 2
Walk along Lake Burley Griffin
After dancing until dusk, cure your hangover with a refreshing walk. Head to Parkes where a nice lakeside promenade awaits you. This district of Canberra is one of the greenest and most cultural in the city. Feel free to walk along the trails where cyclists and pedestrians enjoy the groves to relax. On occasion, you may have the chance to attend a street theater performance which take place throughout the parks. You may also notice the flag alley showing Canberra’s influence and political importance on the international scene.
National Gallery of Australia
Art enthusiasts will love the National Gallery of Australia as not only is admission to this free, but it is home to one of the biggest collections in Australia. Also situated in the Parkes district, this establishment is full of international masterpieces from the likes of Salvador Dali, Monet, Sydney Nolan and Andy Warhol, to name a few. It also features sculptures, engravings and paintings, ranging from Chinese dynasty to modern American art. As you can see, this museum is a must for art fans. Whilst here, also take the opportunity to visit the gardens where many other surprises await. Definitely something you should do on your 2 days in Canberra.
The old Parliament
Its real name “Museum of Australian Democracy ” hides the old Australian Parliament . A favourite with history and politics enthusiasts, as you have the opportunity to introduce yourself to the heart of the Senate and the Government in the same place. In addition, guided tours are offered upon your arrival in the site. To do this, simply show your entrance ticket to participate at no extra charge. At the end of your visit there are other exhibitions on the theme of democracy to continue your learning. Finally, complete your visit with a tour of the Prime Minister’s office.
Best of all, the price of the ticket is only $2 or $1 for students.
In addition, a little further on the lawn, you will also see the aboriginal embassy. In the form of an informal tent, it is a permanent protest where residing activists fight for equal rights and the recognition of Aboriginal Australians. First established in 1972, it is a historic site that recalls the birth of Australia.
Welcome to the Australian Parliament House
In the center of Canberra is the Federal Parliament of Australia. This is the building that you would have seen during the ascent of Mount Majura earlier. Indeed, it is easily recognizable by its 81 meters high shaft where the Australian flag can be seen. Inside, you will walk the corridors where many different political figures walked before you. You will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the current concerns that the country is going through.
Hot air balloon or cruise: your choice!
How about finishing these 2 days in Canberra in style? For those who dream of flying over Canberra, it is indeed possible. Head to the Hyatt lobby where you can climb inside a hot air balloon and enjoy a unique reminder of your stay on the Australian territory.
For those with a limited budget, enjoy the city from the water on a pleasant 1-hour evening cruise. Lake Burley Griffin Cruises offer the best prices from mid-September to May. The cruise will allow a final photo opportunity and a memorable conclusion to your time in the capital.
Tips for visiting Canberra:
Although the city is quite extensive, everything is within walking distance. So, to avoid getting blisters, here are some practical tips for visiting Canberra:
If you did not know it yet, the city offers many festivals over the months on https://visitcanberra.com.au/events. Failing to stay a year, here is a selection made for you:
Summer (December to February): The weather is ideal during this period with sunny days and terraces to relax. Enjoy the good weather to discover the capital on foot.
March: Enlighten Festival: The month of March is one of the most popular. Why? The capital celebrates the Canberra Balloon Spectacular. A hot air balloon festival just waiting for you to fly away. And that’s not all! Many illuminations illuminate the facades of monuments in a dynamic and colorful game.