Five cheap things to do in Canberra

Parliament House. Pic:

Parliament House. Pic:

Continuing in our series of “cheap things to do” in Australian cities (see Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Hobart, Adelaide and Brisbane entries), here’s five things to do in Canberra, ACT that won’t overwhelm the budget.

The halls of power of the Australian capital are not just a chance to gawk at the suits and skirts (yes Australia has a female Prime Minister), but a chance to admire some stunning architectural monuments, beautiful gardens, lakes and museums. Plus there’s a fine array of festivals on in Canberra throughout the year well worth checking out.

Parliament House
Most people come to Canberra to visit Parliament House and wonderfully entry and tours are free during set times (see the link above). It’s possible to view both chambers when they are sitting; most enjoy the colourful Question Time of the Australian Parliament where leaders of the day heckle and jibe at each other in a way only Aussies know how! You may find it’s not the way your own government interacts.

Australian War Memorial
This is a genuinely moving war memorial, so if you only go to one museum while you’re in Canberra let this be it. Admission is free. There’s also a lot of detail about how battles have helped forge the Aussie identity so if you’re trying to get to grips with things like Anzac Day you should head here. National Days like Australia Day and Anzac Day are incredibly emotive and meaningful at this memorial.

Lake Burley Griffin
It might be man made but the beauty of Lake Burley Griffin is worth seeing on foot, by bicycle or on the waters itself. There are 35 kilometres of lake shores to explore and some interesting items along the banks such as artwork, islands, galleries, gardens and the Parliament Houses.

National Gallery of Australia
Another museum where entry is also free, the National Gallery has an amazing collection of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Asian and contemporary Australian art.

Climb Australia’s tallest peak
Mt Kosciusko is a good 200km from Canberra and an excellent trip to do while in the vicinity of the capital. The 2,228m peak is the highest in Australia which isn’t saying much, but still it’s a good option for a day hike with the summit being either a 5km or 8km dash. You could also visit Australia’s highest public toilet while up there!

You can tour a lot of Canberra’s sights, including most of those listed above, on our Great Sights bus tour offer from Sydney (click here for accommodation in Sydney) detailed below:

75N – Canberra
Parliament House as seen from the Great Sights bus.

Parliament House as seen from the Great Sights bus.

Visit the historic township of Berrima for morning tea (own expense) · Tour through the Southern Highlands and Goulburn sheep district · See mysterious Lake George · Enter the Australian Capital Territory and the nation’s capital – Canberra · Panoramic views from the summit of Mt Ainslie · Visit the Australian War Memorial on a guided tour · Take a guided tour of the new hands on, state-of-the art National Museum or the National Gallery of Australia (subject to current exhibitions) · Visit the spectacular billion dollar New Parliament House for a guided inspection · Observe Parliament if in session · See the Senate, the House of Representative chambers and the Great Hall · See sweeping views of Canberra from the Queens Terrace · Tour Canberra and see Lake Burley Griffin · High Court of Australia · National Library · National Science and Technology Centre · “The Lodge” – residence of the Prime Minister · Embassies and Diplomatic residences including Thailand, USA, France, Malaysia, Great Britain, Indonesia and more · Captain Cook Memorial Fountain and The Carillon · An evening meal stop (own expense) will be made on our return to Sydney.


Hope you’re enjoying the VIP Backpacker’s Travel Blog. There’ll be an update added every other Friday, so keep tuning in to keep your travel dreams alive! If there are any travel topics you want covered feel free to contact me, Jo, at


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