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Must-Do Canberra Activities for Every Budget

This article is sponsored by Study Canberra

Just arrived in Canberra? Australia’s capital has a lot to offer, so we’ve put together a list of the top activities. Whether you are looking for something special, hoping to spend as little as possible or have no money to spare, there are great things to do in Canberra to suit every budget!

Treating yourself

Hot Air Ballooning

For the best views of Canberra’s breathtaking beauty, take a hot air balloon ride over the capital and marvel at its national icons. The rides are scheduled for sunrise departures, so you’ll enjoy the crisp early-morning climate while getting a bird’s-eye view of the city. Rides also typically conclude with a champagne celebration (like all good things should!).

Only have a few dollars?

Parliament House

When you think of Canberra, Parliament House is usually one of the first things that come to mind. It has been Australia’s hub of political action since opening in 1988.

Parliament House offers guided tours to familiarise guests with its history and the Australian political system. There is also plenty of Australian art on display throughout the building.

National Zoo & Aquarium

Did you know that Canberra is home to Australia’s only combined zoo and aquarium? Here you can see an incredible array of Australian and international wildlife, including lions, tigers, giraffes, dingoes, galahs and much more. Student cardholders are also eligible for concession tickets, making the experience even more affordable.

Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre

Questacon is easily one of Canberra’s best local attractions. Featuring innovative and interactive exhibitions, augmented reality and cutting-edge technology, Questacon makes science fun for everyone. 

Adult tickets cost AU$25.50, while concession tickets are available for AU$18.90 – however, you’ll need to check to see if you are eligible for concession tickets as an international student.


For a delicious breakfast or lunch, you can’t go wrong with the very trendy café Patissez. This popular café opened in 2016 and shot to fame with the invention of the ‘FreakShake’. Check out their Instagram for the latest menu items and trust us when we say that the food is just as delicious as it looks!

Have no extra cash?

Museum of Australian Democracy

The Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) is housed in Australia’s Old Parliament House. Here you’ll find preserved historic spaces and contemporary exhibitions that provide a fascinating insight into Australia’s democratic history. Best of all, tickets are totally free!

Mount Ainslie Lookout

For picturesque views of Canberra, you can’t skip a visit to Mount Ainslie. This free activity has great photo opportunities with the iconic city backdrop in the distance. From the top of the mountain, you can spot Parliament House, the War Memorial or even Lake Burley Griffin’s fountain. It’s also a great spot for a picnic; you can grab coffees, cold drinks and ice creams at one of the lookout kiosks.

Australian National Botanic Gardens

In search of another free activity in Canberra? Check out the Australian National Botanic Gardens. With an array of Australian native plants, exhibitions and scenic walking trails, this makes for a great day out. Pack yourself a picnic and stretch out on the lawn for a relaxing afternoon amongst Australia’s most unique plants.

Lake Burley Griffin

Lake Burley Griffin is a peaceful spot nestled in the heart of the city. Many of the city’s best-known landmarks are either on the shores of the lake or easily visible from it. A sunset walk around the central basin is an easy way to see the city in a calm and relaxed setting. You can choose to take the well-trodden path or walk through the wetlands.

The National Museum of Australia and the National Gallery of Australia

Canberra is renowned for its high-quality museum exhibitions and galleries, many of which aren’t shown elsewhere in Australia. Offering free general admission and self-guided tours, the National Museum of Australia is the perfect spot to get exposure to the history and culture of Australia.

Art lovers certainly shouldn’t miss the National Gallery of Australia, a world-class facility with a particularly excellent collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. Remember that, while general entry tickets are free, certain exhibitions may require a paid ticket.