Summer activity guide


Hanging around Canberra this summer? Look no further than here for your guide to what’s going on about town.

The National Museum of Australia’s Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition is on display until 2 February. Photo Jason McCarthy.

1 Be a hero!

This January, the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) is showcasing the heroic power of kids on the big screen.

Screenings are at 10.30am and the program features: Coco – 6 January; Brave – 7 January; Happy Feet – 8 January; Up! – 9 January; The Incredibles – 10 January; The Neverending Story – 13 January; E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – 14 January; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – 15 January; Matilda – 16 January; and Where the Wild Things Are – 17 January.

All screenings are at Arc cinema, NFSA; tickets $10 at

bush trail for walking with trees lined either side
One of the many options to get out and stretch your legs is Mulligan’s Flat Nature Reserve, which has a number of trails, guided tours and activities. Photo Denholm Samaras.

2 Go for a walk

Just like swimming, if you want to get out and stretch your legs there’s an abundance of choice around Canberra. At opposite ends of town, Mulligan’s Flat Nature Reserve and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve both offer a number of trails, guided tours and activities.

But one of the beauties of our bush capital is that no matter where you are, you’re only moments away from a trail that within minutes you’ll feel as though you’ve left the city behind.

3 National Museum of Australia

Explore the variety of summer exhibitions, including: Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition, 2020 Australian of the Year and Ngulla Wellamunagaa; along with all of the classic installations that cover the rich history of our nation.

Visit for more information.

4 MoAD

For the perfect family day out this summer; get along and see PlayUp, open air PlayUP, Behind the Lines, drawing workshops and more on throughout January.

Visit for details.

5 Outdoor cinemas

Sunset Cinema is screening new releases, classics and family favourites at the Australian National Botanic Gardens until 12 January


Openair Cinemas will post up at a gorgeous locale on the Patrick White Terrace, Parkes, 8 January-16 February.


6 The National Library of Australia

The NLA hosts Story Time, a nostalgic exhibition looking at the works of great Australian children’s authors and illustrators until 9 February.


7 Take a dip

Between the abundance of local pools and natural swimming spots, there are plenty of places to cool off at this summer.

Pack a picnic basket, swimmers and towels and go for a day out at a popular spot on the river, such as the Cotter, Kambah Pool or Pine Island.

8 National Archives of Australia

The NAA is showing Spy: espionage in Australia, which chronicles the curious history of spy craft down under. Developed in partnership with ASIO, the free exhibition continues to 27 April, open 9am-5pm.

More information:

9 Cricket

This summer, Canberra’s hosting a cornucopia of cricket, with women’s internationals and domestic Big Bash matches gracing the turf of Manuka Oval throughout January and February. Visit or for more.

10 Summernats 33

Revheads assemble at EPIC for four days of flying rubber, crazy cars and high octane fun, running 2-5 January.

two paintings hanging around Canberra at the National Gallery
The National Gallery of Australia’s summer blockbuster, Matisse/Picasso, continues until 13 April. Photo: Kerrie Brewer.


11 NGA

Hosts Matisse/Picasso, exploring the relationship between two of the world’s greatest artists and rivals with major works sourced from collections around the world. Find these paintings hanging around Canberra at the National Gallery until 13 April.

More information:

12 Day tripper

Take a note from The Beatles and road trip out from Canberra for the day. Grab a map, close your eyes and pick one of our neighbouring NSW townships at random.

A great time can be had exploring the likes of Murrumbateman, Yass, Goulburn, Gundaroo, Bungendore, Braidwood, Bowral or Bundanoon.

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