Canberra, the capital city of Australia, may often be overlooked by travelers in favor of the more well-known destinations like Sydney or Melbourne. However, this modern and vibrant city has plenty to offer visitors, even if they only have 48 hours to explore. From its unique blend of natural beauty and iconic landmarks to its rich cultural scene and culinary delights, Canberra is a destination that truly deserves a spot on any traveler’s itinerary. In this article, we will highlight 10 cool things that you absolutely must do during your 48-hour adventure in Canberra.

1. Explore the Australian War Memorial

One of Canberra’s most iconic landmarks, the Australian War Memorial, is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and anyone looking to pay their respects to Australia’s military heritage. This impressive memorial serves as a tribute to the men and women who have served in the country’s armed forces. Visitors can explore the extensive museum, which is filled with interactive exhibits and artifacts dating back to various conflicts Australia has been involved in. Be sure to catch the moving Last Post Ceremony at sunset, a daily commemoration of those who have lost their lives in war.

Australian War Memorial Official Website

2. Take a Stroll through the National Arboretum

For a serene and enchanting experience, head to the National Arboretum Canberra, home to over 44,000 trees from around the world. The expansive grounds offer breathtaking views of Canberra and showcase the diverse beauty of different species of trees. Wander through themed gardens, such as the Himalayan Cedar Forest or the Bonsai and Penjing Collection, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Don’t miss the impressive ‘Gibraltar Peak’ lookout, where you can marvel at a panoramic vista of the city and surrounding landscapes.

National Arboretum Canberra Official Website

3. Discover the Parliament House

A visit to Canberra wouldn’t be complete without exploring the iconic Parliament House, the focal point of Australian politics. Join a guided tour to learn about the country’s political system, the history of this grand building, and witness the inner workings of democracy. Stand at the apex of the building and take in the magnificent views of the city. Don’t forget to snap a photo with the famous Australian flag atop the flagpole.

Parliament of Australia Official Website

4. Immerse Yourself in Art at the National Gallery of Australia

Art enthusiasts will find solace in the exceptional National Gallery of Australia. Home to a vast collection of both Australian and international artworks, this gallery showcases everything from Indigenous art to modern masterpieces. Marvel at renowned pieces like Jackson Pollock’s “Blue Poles” or Sidney Nolan’s “Ned Kelly” series. Make sure to check the gallery’s website for any special exhibitions taking place during your visit.

National Gallery of Australia Official Website

5. Indulge in Local Culinary Delights at the Canberra Glassworks

Experience the vibrant culture of Canberra by visiting the Canberra Glassworks, Australia’s only cultural institution dedicated to contemporary glass art. Not only will you have the opportunity to see artists in action, shaping and molding molten glass into mesmerizing creations, but you can also indulge in culinary delights at the onsite cafe. Enjoy a delicious meal or a cup of coffee amidst the stunning glass artwork and lively atmosphere.

Canberra Glassworks Official Website

6. Step Back in Time at the National Museum of Australia

Travel through time and discover the stories, cultures, and events that have shaped Australia at the National Museum of Australia. This fascinating museum offers a glimpse into the nation’s past through its extensive collection of artifacts and interactive exhibitions. From Aboriginal heritage to modern history, immerse yourself in the diverse narratives that make up Australia’s identity.

National Museum of Australia Official Website

7. Enjoy the Nature and Wildlife at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Escape the city’s hustle and bustle by venturing into the serene Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Located just a short drive from Canberra, this reserve boasts stunning natural landscapes, abundant wildlife, and opportunities for outdoor activities. Embark on a guided walk or hike along one of the many breathtaking trails, keeping an eye out for kangaroos, koalas, emus, and various bird species. Don’t miss the chance to explore the wetlands and view Mount Tennent, the reserve’s highest peak.

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Official Website

8. Wander Through the Australian National Botanic Gardens

For a delightful blend of botanical beauty and ecological significance, pay a visit to the Australian National Botanic Gardens. This 90-acre haven is home to over 6,300 species of native plants, including rare and endangered ones. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, learn about Australia’s diverse flora, and revel in the tranquility. Enjoy picnicking or grab a bite at the charming Pollen Café, which offers dishes inspired by native Australian ingredients.

Australian National Botanic Gardens Official Website

9. Experience the Nightlife at Braddon

When the sun sets, head to Braddon, one of Canberra’s trendiest neighborhoods, known for its vibrant nightlife and dining scene. The streets of Lonsdale and Mort combine a buzz of energy with an extensive selection of bars, restaurants, and eclectic shops. Sample craft beers, savor gourmet cuisine, or simply stroll around the colorful streets, soaking in the lively atmosphere. Braddon is the perfect place to unwind, socialize, and experience the local flavor after a day of exploration.

Explore Canberra – Braddon

10. Witness the Magnificence of Lake Burley Griffin

No trip to Canberra is complete without taking in the breathtaking views of Lake Burley Griffin. Named after the city’s designer, Walter Burley Griffin, this artificial lake is a central feature of Canberra’s landscape. Rent a bike or take a leisurely stroll along the lake’s shores, visit the iconic Captain Cook Memorial Jet, or simply relax in one of the lakeside parks. Marvel at the sunset reflecting on the water’s surface, casting a golden glow over the city, creating the perfect end to your 48-hour adventure in Canberra.

National Capital Authority Official Website

Canberra may not be the most buzzed-about Australian city, but it offers a wealth of attractions that cater to a variety of interests. From its historical sites and cultural institutions to its natural beauty and vibrant neighborhoods, Canberra will surprise and delight you at every turn. With only 48 hours to spare, you can still experience a taste of what makes this capital city truly cool and memorable. So, plan your visit and make the most of your time immersing yourself in the unique charm of Canberra, Australia.