The Best Things to do with Kids in Canberra for the Ultimate Family-Friendly Trip
Round up the troops for a trip to the capital city as we share the best things to do with kids in Canberra.
Surrounded by rugged mountains and bushland, Canberra is a cool city-meets-country destination. For families, it’s an easy weekend getaway and the perfect mix of culture and play, with incredible galleries and museums, kid-friendly restaurants, beautiful parks and plenty of open-air activities.
And since it’s so small, you can cover a lot of ground in just a couple of days. Where else can you spot a kangaroo hopping around in the bush and then stroll the city streets minutes later? So, if you're thinking of taking the family to our nation's capital for your next adventure, here are the best things to do with kids in Canberra.
Kid-Friendly Accomodation in Canberra
This hotel has a bunch of cool, contemporary rooms and suites, including the Kids Cubby option (from $429). Connected to the East Apartment, it’s decked out with bunk beds; kids' play and dining table, Lego, bean bags and an Xbox.
Book here, from $261 per night
69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston
Mantra on Northbourne
If you want to be able to whip up your own meals, the Mantra is made up of self-serviced apartments. It’s family-friendly and conveniently located in the CBD. Aside from the well-appointed family rooms, there's also an indoor swimming pool where you can take the little ones to burn some energy.
Book here, from $189 per night
84 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra
The Avenue Hotel
Travelling with older kids? Splash out on a stay at The Avenue, which has spacious rooms with all the trimmings. The two-bedroom apartment, which can sleep up to four, is our top pick, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and a private balcony; this is ideal for families.
Book here, from $319 per night
80 Northbourne Avenue, Braddon
Jamala Wildlife Lodge
One of the best things to do with kids in Canberra is a safari experience at the incredible Jamala Wildlife Lodge. Part of the National Zoo, you and the kids will learn all about the zoo’s animals, then retreat to your treehouse-style accommodation.
Book here, from $1650 per night
999 Lady Denman Drive, Weston Creek
A hop, skip and a jump from the Canberra Centre, The Novotel is super reasonable and boasts a central location with everything you need for a comfortable stay, including an indoor pool (and a bubbly spa for the parents!). Oh, and did we mention it also has an indoor play area for kids and babysitting services available for an extra charge? Genius.
Book here, from $180 per night
65 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra
A by Adina
Families love the fact that A by Adina is close to Questacon, plus how well-appointed the modern rooms are here. Complete with air conditioning, a microwave, a fridge, a kettle, a shower, a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom, your family will be very comfortable here.
Book here, from $215.10 per night
1 Constitution Avenue, Canberra
Kid-Friendly Places to Eat in Canberra
Charming café Little Oink has a great kids menu, which features all the kiddy classics like chicken nuggets, banana bread and French toast with maple syrup and ice cream. They also do a mean fruit juice or smoothie.
22 Cook Place, Cook
One of the best, most sugary things to do with kids in Canberra is a to visit Patissez cafe. The birthplace of the famous ‘Freakshake,’ the kids will love you for the indulgent desserts-in-a-glass (be warned, the sugar high will be intense!).
2/21 Bougainville Street, Griffith
A relaxed eatery located inside the Australian War Memorial. Poppy's has a solid kids' menu (think cheeseburgers, nuggets and pancakes) and sweeping views of the lake.
Australian War Memorial, 15 Treloar Crescent, Campbell
Casey Jones Pub
A warm and welcoming gastropub that is geared towards families. With plenty of options for the kids to choose from, like chicken schnitzel, chips, bangers and mash, parmi, slow-cooked brisket burgers and pizzas, everyone will be going home with a full belly.
15 Kingsland Parade, Casey
Canberra Southern Cross Club
There's always something happening for families at Canberra Southern Cross Club! They have an amusement arcade as well as an exciting schedule throughout the year of live entertainment and music acts for kids. Check out their What's On section on the website for more details.
Venues in Woden, Tuggeranong and Jamison
A bustling local haunt, the family-friendly spot whips up simple but delicious food and has a playground where parents can keep an eye on the kids. They also have a huge kids' menu that covers all bases - from waffles to toasties to classic spag boll.
Jamison Plaza, Bowman Street, Macquarie
CBD Dumpling House
The CBD Dumpling House has an open kitchen, so the kids can see how the chefs produce thousands of fresh, juicy dumplings just waiting to be enjoyed. It is a true sensory delight for little ones.
Scotts Crossing, Canberra
Fox & Bow
A buzzing local institution, the Fox & Bow is a hidden gem with two locations in Canberra that embrace a relaxed community vibe. This cosy eatery has healthy options and something to please even the fussiest kids. While they’re waiting for their order, the kids can amuse themselves in the outdoor play area.
Venues in Farrer and Red Hill
Another must-visit for the sweet tooths in the family, Space Kitchen won Australia's best patisserie at the 2022 Restaurant and Catering Hostplus Awards, so you know their treats will be top-notch. Their range of celebration cakes is superb with flavours like apple cinnamon, Ferrero Rocher and mango coconut on the menu.
Best of all, if you fancy sampling the goods, you can pop by Space Kitchen for a bite to eat. They've got a swathe of sweet individual cakes to indulge in and breaky options, pastries and coffee.
3g/12 Furzer Street, Phillip
Kid-Friendly Activities in Canberra
Yarralumla Play Station
Located at Weston Park, Yarralumla Play Station has a 36-hole golf course that features the city’s iconic attractions in miniature form! Plus, there is a ride-on miniature train and farm animals.
9 Pescott Lane, Yarralumla
Bike Around Lake Burley Griffin
If the sun is shining, hire a bike and cruise the foreshore. It is an easy ride for the whole family, and the scenery is gorgeous.
Lake Burley Griffin, Acton
Picnic on the Lake
Thanks to Go Boat Canberra, you can skipper your own boat and enjoy a picturesque picnic (and maybe a cheeky glass of wine for the parents) on Lake Burley Griffin. No boat license is required.
Stroll the Cockington Green Gardens
An activity the whole family will enjoy (we’re looking at you, Dad!), Cockington Green Garden is one of the best things to do with kids in Canberra. Featuring a teeny-tiny model world with miniature buildings, people, animals, castles, and sports grounds, your little ones will have a blast playing here.
11 Gold Creek Road, Nicholls
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
These wetlands are amazing for wildlife watching. You might spot a platypus, possum, wombat, echidna, emu, or kangaroo as you move along the marked walking trails. There’s also a koala sanctuary.
Paddys River Road, Paddys River
Australian National Botanic Gardens
Enjoy a picnic lunch on the rainforest boardwalk, then make your way to the Children’s Discovery Walk, which teaches kids about the importance of plants and animal biodiversity through fun activities. The gardens host scavenger hunts from time to time, too.
Clunies Ross Street, Acton
Old Bus Depot Markets
If the kids are busting to spend their pocket money, let them pick something out at the Old Bus Depot Markets. Held every Sunday, expect lots of stalls selling food, sweets, toys, handmade jewellery and clothes.
21 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston
National Zoo & Aquarium
The zoo is quite intimate so you can conquer it in half a day. It’s home to exotic animals like lions, tigers, giraffes and penguins, and offers hands-on experiences for animal lovers.
999 Lady Denman Drive, Yarralumla
Take the Fun Indoors
Head to the Ice Skating Centre or test your skills at Canberra Indoor Rock Climbing. Older kids will love channelling a racecar driver at Power Kart Raceway’s indoor circuit. Flip Out trampoline is also another great energy-burn activity for little ones.
Kid-Friendly Museums & Tours in Canberra
There’s a lot geared towards children here. We love the Tim and Gina Fairfax Discovery Centre, which is an immersive play space for children of all abilities from baby to 6 years old. Enjoy free daily activities in the mini maker's corner and story time sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays during ACT term time.
Lawson Crescent, Acton
Tucked inside the National Science and Technology Centre, a trip to Questacon is an absolute must. It’s made up of seven science-themed rooms, each of which has hands-on experiences, experiments, and cool displays.
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Australian War Memorial
The Australian War Memorial brings Australia’s military history to life and is a great place for kids to learn via video, displays and plenty of authentic historical items.
Treloar Crescent, Campbell
Head to Canberra Glassworks and watch the pros turn panes of glass into works of art or sign the kids up to make their own masterpieces.
11 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston
Australian Institute of Sport
If your children are sporty types, they’ll love watching the country’s elite athletes do their thing. Along with tours, the AIS has Sportex, an interactive exhibit where you can test your skills against the world’s best.
Leverrier Street, Bruce
Royal Australian Mint
Does your little one always claim the banker in Monopoly? Treat them to a visit to the mint, which offers fun insights into the world of money-making.
62-114 Denison Street, Deakin
National Arboretum Canberra
The Pod Playground is the coolest playground in Canberra, hands down, with banksia cubby houses, wooden pods shaped like acorns, musical bridges, ropes and slides. Inside the Arboretum, there’s a gorgeous collection of bonsai.
Forest Drive, Molonglo Valley