Top things to do near Canberra Airport
Keep the kids busy, buy gadgets, or stock up on food
Majura Park Shopping Centre is within the grounds of Canberra Airport, so you don’t have far to travel to find a whole lot more on offer than you’ll find in the terminal’s two shops.
Inside the shopping centre, you’ll find an Aldi supermarket, so whether you’re returning home to Canberra or just in the city for a few days, Majura is the perfect place to stock up on food. There’s also a Toys ‘R’ Us, a Woolworths and a Big W on-site if you need to find something to keep yourself or the kids amused before, during or after a long flight.
Float high above Canberra's spectacular landscape
Canberra is one of only a few capital cities in the world to allow hot-air balloons within its airspace and this, combined with city’s breath-taking landscape, makes it a hotspot for hot-air balloonists from all over the globe. Balloons Aloft has been offering paid balloon flights over the city since 1986 and is a respected operator in the local area.
Half an hour before sunset, you can meet a member of Balloons Aloft staff at the Hyatt Hotel before being transported to your launch site a short drive away. As you float through the sky, you get to see landmarks such as Parliament House and Burley Griffin Lake from high above. You’ll also notice the graceful layout of the city as the sun sets.
For your safety and peace of mind, all Balloons Aloft pilots hold licenses from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). After your flight, the operators invite you to join them for champagne and you can even meet them the next morning for gourmet breakfast at the five-star Hyatt Hotel.
See outstanding portraits of prominent Australians
The National Portrait Gallery is packed with a diverse range of charming portrait photography. Take the free tour and listen to your guide reveal the stories behind the 500 portraits of famous Australians. Many online reviews agree that the portraits in the permanent exhibition (some of which are Archibald Prize winners) really bring their subjects to life.
The gallery building itself is also very pleasing to the eye. In fact, the building’s geometry is designed to mesh with the lines and vistas of the surrounding precinct. The Portrait Café also offers a good choice of food and drinks.
Enjoy award-winning food
The Farmhouse Restaurant was awarded ‘one hat’ following an excellent review by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide in 2016. The restaurant serves cuisine with a 'paddock to plate' ethos befitting of its rural moniker. It uses only fresh, local ingredients from the farm and its huge market garden, olive groves and vineyard.
For a taste of the Australian countryside, it takes just six minutes to travel the 2.1 miles (3.4 kilometres) to the Farmhouse Restaurant from CBR via Beltana Road.
Gain insight into Australia’s social history
The National Museum of Australia makes learning fun for people of all ages and backgrounds. Whether it’s your first time in the country or you’re coming back for more, you’re sure to learn something new when you take a journey through Australia’s history, discover its indigenous culture and hear about the people and the historic events that shaped the Land Down Under as it is today.
Walk through the corridors of power
Australian Parliament House is a must-see on any trip to Canberra. Take a tour of the modern complex and uncover a wealth of information on the short but illustrious history of the building. Learn about the formation of parliament and its customs and hear the stories of the statesmen and women who made their mark there.
You can even watch Australian MPs do battle during Question Time, either in the Senate or House of Representatives, and end your time there by taking an elevator to the roof, where you’ll enjoy stunning 360-degree views of Canberra and its surrounding areas.
Get closer to the stars of Aussie sports
Take a 90-minute guided tour of the Australian Institute of Sport to watch the country’s elite athletes being put through their paces as they train. You’ll find out what it takes to create champions, hear athletes tell anecdotes about their competitive experiences and gain insight into their everyday lives.
Sportex is a free interactive exhibit at the institute, where you’ll get the chance to try rock climbing, virtual downhill skiing, wheelchair basketball and more.
Discover Canberra’s funky side
The Old Bus Depot Market takes place every Sunday between 10am and 4pm. From delicious organic world foods to trendy clothes, there are plenty of things to eat, buy or sample here and, if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to knit or crochet, you can visit the ‘Maker’s Workshop’. This market is a great place to pick up a souvenir or just look around and soak up the vibrant, bohemian atmosphere.