Canberra lights up this autumn. From illuminations on iconic national attractions, new food and drink delights, world-class art exhibitions and fantastic festivals. Autumn is the perfect time to enjoy a short-break in the national capital, so come and discover more than you expect.
Eat + Drink
New bars to add to your foodie list
Corella Restaurant & Bar offers a bespoke menu, inspired by native ingredients, while Brunello serves as your European escape, making wine and dine dreams come true. Enjoy good vibes all ‘round with a glass of champagne at the superb House of Bubbles pop-up venue or head to The Alby, a pub with a games basement, home to Australia’s first duckpin bowling lanes.
Stock up on regional produce at our markets
Who doesn’t love a market for tasty treats and people watching? Canberra’s biggest produce market, the Capital Region Farmers Market, is a hive of activity at EPIC each Saturday morning — grab brunch and chat to the producers. Head to Haig Park Village Markets in Braddon on a Sunday for food and gifts, before exploring the Lonsdale Street dining and boutique shopping strip.
Cheers to a great break in Canberra
Taste award-winning craft beers at Braddon brewpub BentSpoke Brewing Co, which took out top place in the Great Australasian Beer Spectacular 2021. Gin lovers flock to The Canberra Distillery famed for its collaborations and unique flavours. For those who fancy both, head to the Dairy Road precinct where you’ll find Capital Brewing Co neighbouring Big River Distilling Co. Join Dave’s Tours to taste all the capital’s best drinks.
See + Do
See Canberra’s icons lit up by the Enlighten Illuminations
Canberra’s galleries and museums will become canvases for digital art during the Enlighten Illuminations (4-14 March). Feast on tasty treats, enjoy live music, and exclusive experiences as you explore the National Triangle, transformed by thought provoking architectural projections and artistic installations. Free entry.
Experience art that moves you
Throughout the Enlighten Illuminations, the Parkes Place Lawns will bring to life the masterpieces and world of Van Gogh Alive (5-27 March). Set to an evocative classical score, a thrilling display of over 3,000 inspirational images transform every surface that surrounds you. Step inside and explore. Book tickets now.
Start your day with the Canberra Balloon Spectacular
Wake up to surreal scenes as dozens of hot air balloons float across the capital each morning during the Canberra Balloon Spectacular (12-20 March, weather dependent). Grab breakfast from a local food truck or take to the lake to watch the balloons inflate and float into the sky. Free entry.
Be entertained as the National Folk Festival brings exceptional musicians and performers from across Australia to Canberra over the Easter long weekend (14-18 April) to celebrate traditional and contemporary folk culture. The program includes art installations, kids programs, music, dance, craft workshops and more.
Find hope and inspiration in art
At the National Gallery of Australia, step into the urban and uncanny world of Jeffrey Smart (until 15 May), celebrate Australian women artists in Know My Name(until 26 June) and learn about how Ceremony (26 March–31 July), for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, is at the centre of Country, culture and community.
Celebrate talented Australians
The National Film and Sound Archive has curated beloved cinema moments, rare behind-the-scenes footage, and costumes of Australia’s creatives in cinema. At Australians & Hollywood (until 17 July) learn the tales of craft, talent and ambition of beloved personalities including Eric Bana, Baz Luhrmann and Nicole Kidman.
See Churchill and Sheeran under one roof
What do the Beatles, Brontë sisters and Beckham all have in common? Their portraits will appear alongside Dickens’ and Malala’s at the National Portrait Gallery. See famous faces from the 16th century to today at Shakespeare to Winehouse: Icons from the National Portrait Gallery, London
(12 March–17 July).
Journey to Ancient Greece
This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition showcases the competitive spirit of the Ancient Greek world through sports, politics, drama, music and warfare, illuminated by more than 170 objects from the British Museum. Be sure to bring headphones to listen to the audio tour of Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes (until 1 May) at the National Museum of Australia.
Stroll through vistas of autumn colours
Autumn is an extraordinarily beautiful time to visit Canberra, when the stunning cityscape plunges into hues of red, gold, russet, ochre and crimson as the city’s exotic trees transform. Head to the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, the National Carillon, or the National Arboretum Canberra to take in the kaleidoscope of colours first-hand. Or check out the Autumn Leaves interactive map to find Canberra’s prettiest display of autumn locations.
Explore the great outdoors with the experts
Learn about native animals and the capital’s natural landscape with Canberra Guided Tours. Reconnect with the land and learn about First Nations’ culture with Dhawura Tours. For amazing views of major sights plus the surrounding mountains and rivers from up above jump into a chopper with Helicopter Corporation.
See the sights from a hot air balloon
Watch as the pink, purple and gold colour burst of sunrise gently lights up the surrounding mountains, as you float across the capital with Balloon Aloft. Depending on the way the wind takes you, sights include the iconic National Museum of Australia and its looping Uluru line sculpture and the impressive architecture of Australian Parliament House.