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10 must-do outdoor adventures

Updated 11 Jul 2022

Locals love getting out into nature in Canberra which is a 100% renewable energy city.

Enjoy the wilderness close to city comforts

Natural beauty is right on your doorstep in Canberra with popular lookouts, challenging hikes, and mountain bike trails in the inner suburbs. Discover waterfalls, gorges, forests, and snow-capped mountains just 45-minutes’ drive from the city at national parks and nature reserves. Stay in town and head to the glistening centrepiece of the capital, Lake Burley Griffin, that has been dubbed a water playground. 

Use this guide to tick off the Top Ten iconic outdoor experiences that no trip to Canberra would be complete without.

A person riding a commuter bike through a leafy park.

Classic bridge to bridge loop

'The Lake', as it’s affectionately known, is loved by locals and visitors alike.  Lined with parks and paths, walking, running, scooting or cycling Lake Burley Griffin’s popular five-kilometre bridge-to-bridge loop is a must for some of the best views in the inner-city. Take in the stunning vistas or stop into the lakeside galleries and iconic attractions. 

Koala at Tidbinbilla Nature Sanctuary

Koalas in the sanctuary

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve lives just 40-minutes drive from the city centre, and is home to many native Australian animals. Venture along the Koala Path to see these snuggly marsupial, wander the Sanctuary Loop for a fresh breath of the eucalypt forest, or walk the Camels Hump trail for scenic views over Canberra. Tidbinbilla has facilities for kids, challenging hikes for adults, and plenty of rest areas for family BBQs.

People admiring the view from Booroomba Rocks

Booroomba Rocks at Namadgi National Park

Nestled on the northern edge of the Australian Alps, Namadgi National Park is criss-crossed with trails just waiting to be hiked. The panoramic view over the valley from Honeysuckle Campground to Booroomba Rocks, a 10.5 kilometre return walk, shows how the park is recovering from the devastating 2020 fires.

Mountain bike riders admiring the view form One Tree Hill

Centenary Trail around Canberra

The Centenary Trail loops around Canberra, taking in the many highlights from Parliament House through to secluded natural pools. The 145-kilometre marked path is broken into seven manageable sections, although experienced hikers and cyclists may be able to complete multiple legs at a time. Choose from multiple lengths of the trail, and go as big or as small as you'd like to never miss out on its incredible views.

A woman walking across a hill overlooking Lake Burley Griffin and the National Arboretum.

National Arboretum views

Just six kilometres from the city centre you are able to wander through 44,000 rare and culturally significant trees, in Canberra's own aboretum. Your hardest choice will be deciding whether to walk, cycle, ride a horse, or take a bus tour through the varied forests to take in the views. The National Arboretum Canberra is also home to a collection of beautiful bonsais and a great café

A group of friends enjoying their time in a hot air balloon.

Hot air balloon at sunrise

Float into the sky as the sun rises and see the whole city from above, before enjoying a champagne celebration at Hyatt Hotel Canberra with experiences brought to you by Balloon Aloft. A one of a kind experience to see some of the most breathtaking views of the area and create lifelong memories you will never forget.

A couple looking out across Canberra as the sun sets.

Mount Ainslie summit walk

You will be rewarded with sweeping views across the city after completing the short but steep walk up this urban mountain. Look out for kangaroos on your way down and leave plenty of time to explore the Australian War Memorial, which stands tall at the foot of Mount Ainslie.

Three friends enjoying a beverage on a boat.

GoBoat Canberra jaunts

Hire an electric GoBoat to explore the glittering jewel in Canberra’s crown, Lake Burley Griffin. Don a captain’s hat and pack a picnic to feast on as you see the sights from the water. You don’t need a boating licence, but bookings are essential for you and up to seven of your mates.

An aerial view of Telstra Tower and Black Mountain.

Black Mountain trails

Choose from the many routes that lead to Black Mountain’s summit to be rewarded with panoramic views over the lake and city. Keen adventurers can explore the Australian National Botanic Gardens at the base of Black Mountain and Telstra Tower at the top. Finish it off with a family BBQ on Black Mountain Pensinsula down below.

A boat sailing on the lake with a view of Parliament House in the background.

Cruises of Lake Burley Griffin

Many distinctly Canberran landmarks are best seen from the water. Time your guided boat trip with sunset to be surrounded by colourful skies and the dramatic silhouette of the Brindabellas. MV Southern Cross and Lake Burley Griffin Cruises both run regularly in Canberra’s warm months. 

Outdoors and nature experience guide cover

Discover more with the Nature Lovers Guide

Want to know the local's recommendations on the best lookouts, hikes, cycling trails and native animal spotting opportunities? This guide to the capital's great outdoors has you covered. 

Download the Nature Lovers Guide