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Outdoor Activities around Canberra

Your guide to an action-packed Canberra holiday.

Whether you are visiting with mates for a weekend away, taking the family on a holiday somewhere new, or just looking for a dose of the great outdoors, Canberra has it all. Mountain biking and downhill cycling, bushwalks through National Parks and waterways waiting to be explored all feature within driving distance of Australia’s capital territory. There is something for every thrill-seeker, no matter what adventure outdoor activity in Canberra you are after.

Sunset at Namadgi National Park near Canberra.
Discover hidden treasures deep within Namadgi National Park. Image Credit: Tourism Australia


Only 45 minutes from the centre of Canberra lies the Namadgi National Park – an outdoor playground suitable for all abilities. Most venture here for the great bushwalks which wind you through forests, past local wildlife and to hidden sights such as the historic Orroral Homestead. 
Plan a day trip and enjoy a Saturday stroll or organise a weeklong trip and camp overnight along the way. Some of the most popular walks include Gilbrator Falls (2.3kms), Mount Aggie (3kms), Rendezvous Creek (2.8 kms) and Honeysuckle Creek to Booroomba Rocks (11.6 kms). If you’re still unsure which hike is right for you, the local Information Centre can help you book the right route for your ability and time available.
Family taking a photo and cycling around Canberra.
Explore Canberra's cycling tracks, ranging from beginner to expert you can find your pace.

Mountain Biking

For those looking to pick up the pace, Canberra is surrounded by plenty of great cycling and mountain biking routes. Offering over 50kms of cross-country bike trails and dirt jumps, Mt Stromlo is a downhill cycling enthusiasts dream. With plenty of signage and dedicated zones for different ability levels, Mt Stromlo is the perfect day out for friends looking to explore a new route. On the weekends there is even a shuttle service offered by Dynamic Motivation which will take you and your bike up the mountain so that you can spend more time enjoying the downhill descent.
Another great cycling route is Canberra’s Centenary Trail which provides one long loop around the outskirts of Canberra allowing cyclists to pass through both urban and natural landscape. An impressive 145kms long, this cycle route should be taken in sections as to enjoy the areas and local attractions which you pass through. It’s worth noting that this path is also shared with runners, walkers and horse riders so peak time on the path can get quite busy.
Another long-time cyclist favourite is Majura Pines. Here, riders can enjoy 20 kms of sign-posted trails for mountain bikers of all abilities – beginners can enjoy shorter loops while pros can make the most of cross-country paths.
Sunrise kayaking around Canberra.
Pick up a paddle and enjoy Canberra's water sports. Image credit: Tourism Australia

Water Sports

While Canberra may not be the first city that comes to mind when thinking about great water sport adventures, it should be. With plenty of dams, rivers and lakes running through and around the city, there are endless opportunities to get out on the water. 
Fishing – The Googong Dam is the ideal spot to try your hand at fishing. While fuel-powered boats are not allowed on the river, you are permitted to venture out on a kayak or sailboat, making for a relaxing day cruising down the river and fishing along the way. Skilled (or lucky) fishermen may catch a rainbow trout, Murray cod, or golden perch. 
White Water Rafting – The mighty Murrumbidgee River whose waters are sourced from up in the Snowy Mountains make for great white-water rafting conditions. Offering Grade 2 to Grade 4 rapids, the Murrumbidgee can be tackled by both thrill-seekers looking for something new, and families seeking a fun day out. There are a few tour companies you can choose from for your white water rafting experience such as Alpine River Adventures who offer one day to 24-day long kayaking and white water rafting adventures.
Stand Up Paddle boarding & Kayaking – Located in the centre of Canberra is Lake Burley Griffin. This peaceful inner-city lake is the ideal place to try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding & kayaking. Cruise along the lake either independently or with an instructor-led class. You’re bound to see some great wildlife along the way including black swans, water dragons, galahs and cockatoos– and maybe even an elusive platypus.
Hot air balloons over Canberra at Sunrise.
Make a memory of a lifetime with Canberra's hot air ballooning. Image credit: Visit Canberra

Views from above

For those who love the adrenaline rush that comes from being off the ground, Canberra is the right place to be. One of the most loved attractions in Australia’s capital city is hot air ballooning. Providing the best vantage over the city – and one of the only opportunities in the world to fly over a parliament house. What could be better than floating over the city at dawn as the sun starts to rise, with a glass of bubbles? 
Visit during the Enlighten Festival to see the Canberra Balloon Spectacular, where you can fly among dozens of other hot air balloons, or take in the views from the ground as the bigger than life balloons soar high above.
Looking for accommodation to pair with your Canberra adventure? Accor has a range of hotels in Canberra for you to choose from. From luxury apartments to budget-friendly hotels, there is no shortage of choice. Book your Canberra accommodation now!

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