Hike the National Arboretum
Canberra’s National Arboretum – a collection of 94 forests, plus gardens and other attractions – was established in the wake of the 2003 bushfires. It’s now home to more than 44,000 trees from all over the world, many of them rare, symbolic or internationally significant. More than 20 kilometres of walking tracks lead through the plantings, with lengths and gradients for all walking abilities. The Step Track is the quickest – a one-kilometre jaunt into the Southern Tablelands Ecosystems Park, where you’ll see specimens from the critically endangered yellow box and red gum grassy woodland ecosystem, as well as an indigenous bush tucker garden. The Mountain View Track (6.6 kilometres return) will get your blood pumping, and if you want a decent walk that doesn’t involve climbing any mountains, the Explorer Track could be for you – it’s a 7.2-kilometre ramble round the trees of the southern forests. Dogs and horses are welcome.

Mountain bike on the Centenary Trail
If adventures on two wheels get your juices flowing, Canberra’s 145-kilometre Centenary Trail could be for you. The trail runs through the city and loops around both the northern and southern outskirts and can be done in sections. Most of the surface is dirt or gravel, so make sure you’ve got the right bike for the job. Visit Canberra has a list of places where you can hire bikes if you don’t have your own. The trail is mostly flat, with just a few steeper sections. The scenery is spectacular – you’ll pass countless landmarks and lookouts, and ride through native forests and the National Arboretum. It’s a great way to see Canberra’s cultural and natural features while feeling the sun on your face and getting some exercise. Parliament House is the traditional starting point, but you can jump on and off wherever you like. The trail can also be walked; it will take about a week if you want to do the whole thing. Be sure to pack plenty of water.

Hire a GoBoat

During the warmer months, Lake Burley Griffin is sprinkled with kayaks, yachts and paddle boats. One of the best ways to ply the waters – especially if you’re a boating novice – is in an electric-powered picnic boat.
Seating up to eight people, GoBoats are Danish-designed and made from recycled materials. You don’t need a special licence to drive them, and it takes only a few seconds to learn the ropes. Spread your lunch on the picnic table, open a drink and get sailing. There are a variety of add-ons for hire, including bluetooth speakers, eskies, a grazing box, a cheese board and even a captain’s hat – the perfect prop for photos. And yes, you can take your dog.

See a flick at Sunset Cinema

The Eucalypt Lawn at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, with its majestic gum trees, plays host to regular Sunset Cinema sessions during the warmer months. Turn up with your own beanbag, lawn chair or rug, or you can upgrade your ticket to the Lawn Lounge, which will secure you a premium beanbag lounge, prime seating (or lounging) and bottomless popcorn. The events are fully licensed (so there’s no BYO alcohol – but definitely bring your own food and non-alcoholic drinks, if you like). The bar stocks local brewing heroes Bentspoke, plus a range of wines from Strathbogie’s Fowles Wine. Big Drop Brewing will also be serving top-notch non-alcoholic beers, while Boss Burgers is on-site for dinner.

This article was amended on February 20, 2023, to remove the location of Gibraltar Falls as a recommended location to visit, following several drownings at the waterfall. ACT Parks advises against swimming at Gibraltar Falls.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Visit Canberra.