What’s on in Canberra? A Year-Round Guide to Events and Attractions – Insider Guides

As a growing city buzzing with local, interstate and international students,  Canberra is alive with activity. With more than 30 galleries, nationally significant museums, and an incredible roster of annual festivals, there is a lasting stream of popular events and major exhibitions to explore throughout the year.  

We have developed a year-round guide to our top 10 must-see attractions for students in Canberra. 

Floriade Festival

Every year, the blooming Floriade Festival brings the city to life with colour and art. As Australia’s biggest celebration of spring, Floriade runs annually from September to October and attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the city’s Commonwealth Park. This epic celebration of flowers is packed with gardening and horticultural workshops, live entertainment, market stalls and incredible food. An unmissable activity loved by both locals and visitors, it’s completely free to attend – making it perfect for any budget. 

National Dinosaur Museum

Established in 1993, The National Dinosaur Museum Canberra is open year-round to visitors, letting them explore prehistoric fossils and uncover artifacts from Australia’s deep past. The fossils in its collection include 700-million-year-old marine animals, reptiles, birds and mammals. Their Upper Gallery is home to skulls, skeletons, and fossils that cannot be found on display anywhere else in the world. 

The museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm and offers discounted entry for students. 

Enlighten Illuminations

The Enlighten Illuminations, a key part of the Enlighten Festival in Canberra, transforms the city into a dazzling display of light and colour. Iconic buildings and spaces become canvases for stunning light projections and installations, creating an immersive visual experience. This event is a must-see for anyone interested in experiencing the city in a new, illuminated way. It’s especially appealing for those who enjoy artistic and creative displays.

For more details, you can visit the Enlighten Festival’s official website.

Canberra Balloon Spectacular

Another component of Enlighten Festival, the Canberra Balloon Spectacular is a stunning event where balloons from across Australia adorn the sky. A week-long event in March, it features a daily launch from the Parliamentary Triangle, offering an incredible sight for spectators. The event is free to watch, but there’s also the option to book a balloon flight for a stunning view of Canberra.

Visit the Enlighten Festival website for updates.

Canberra Arboretum

The National Arboretum Canberra showcases the world’s largest collection of rare and endangered trees. This unique attraction is celebrated for its conservation, science research, education, award-winning architecture and spectacular views. 

There is an incredible range of global plant life that includes more than 44,000 trees from over 100 countries for you to explore along a network of multi-use trails. 

The Canberra Arboretum hosts several special events during the calendar year, including art installations, cultural ceremonies, and educational exhibitions. Plus, spanning over 250 hectares, this is a place you will be sure to visit time and time again. 

National Folk Festival

The National Folk Festival in Canberra is a vibrant celebration of folk traditions, perfect for international students exploring Australian culture. Originating in 1967, it has grown into a diverse event featuring music, dance, spoken word and crafts. It’s a great opportunity to experience the rich tapestry of Australia’s folk heritage, including indigenous and immigrant traditions. Held every Easter, this event offers an exciting environment for learning and engaging in cultural exchanges.

For more information, visit the National Folk Festival website.

The National Multicultural Festival

Held annually in February, the National Multicultural Festival spans three days and is a feast of colours, flavours and sounds. It features a variety of cultural performances, workshops and food stalls, representing over 170 multicultural communities. This event is a fantastic way for students to connect with different cultures, learn about global traditions, and enjoy a lively and inclusive atmosphere. For more details, you can visit the official website.

Canberra Nara Candle Festival

The Canberra Nara Candle Festival features a stunning display of 2,000 candles, highlighting the 30-year sister city relationship between Canberra and Nara, Japan. It includes Japanese cultural activities such as Taiko drumming, martial arts, origami, calligraphy, and a cosplay competition. A significant attraction is the lantern procession, including students from Nara University High School, and the lighting of large Kasuga and Yukimi lanterns. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of Japanese foods from local restaurants, making the festival a rich cultural experience.

Uncharted Territory

Explore artwork from more than 30 galleries

With over 30 impressive galleries, Canberra showcases both international masterpieces and talented local artists. Enjoy the largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in the world at the National Gallery of Australia, and learn more about the people, faces and identities of Australia at the National Portrait Gallery.

Smaller galleries are spread across the city, such as the Gallery of Small Things and the world-class Canberra Glassworks. With so much to choose from, you’ll feel immersed in Australian visual art. 

The Gallery of Small Things.

Visit the Study Canberra website for more information on life in Canberra as an international student.

Source: insiderguides.com.au

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