Whats on Canberra long weekend 6-8 March enlighten
Old Parliament House is one of Canberra’s many iconic institutions that will be lit up over the Canberra Day long weekend, 6-8 March, as part of Enlighten. Image supplied.

With Canberra turning a ripe 108 on Monday and locals taking the day off to celebrate, there’s plenty on across town this long weekend from 6 to 8 March.

Canberra’s Enlighten Festival is in full swing this weekend, and many of the National Attractions still have places available to experience something special.

Australian Parliament House is offering High Tea at the Queen’s Terrace Café, Tours of the Architecture of Parliament House, The Art and Furniture Collection, and Yeribee Indigenous Experiences.

For those who need a stretch after the working week, head to Wild Yoga at the National Zoo and Aquarium before enjoying the Enlighten Street Party at the National Gallery of Australia on Friday.

The illuminations on the Sydney and Melbourne buildings in the city and Late Night Treats will continue on Friday and Saturday night in Braddon, Kingston, Belconnen and the City.

For families, the Discover Canberra Treasure Hunt will be held this weekend, with clues to lead participants on an adventure around Canberra. To participate, people need to register online here and their Treasure Hunt will be emailed to them on Saturday morning for the adventure to begin.

Participants who post a photo of themselves on the treasure hunt on social using the #cbrday hashtag will go into the draw for some amazing prizes.

As a part of discovering Canberra over the long weekend, some of our local attractions and historical sites are open for tours, including Lanyon Homestead, Calthorpe’s House and Mugga Mugga Cottage.

Get along to the NGA to see new autumn blockbuster Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London, the first major international exhibition in Australia since COVID-19, open now until 14 June. Pre-bookings required; nga.gov.au

The Canberra-based Australian Dance Party presents their newest work, Symbiosis, at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, from 5-7 March; australiandance.party

At the NFSA this weekend is a performance celebrating classic Australian album Polyserena by george with a live event featuring Katie Noonan and Tyrone Noonan at the Arc cinema, 6 March 7pm.

Additionally the Archive just opened new exhibition Mervyn Bishop, featuring the work of the award-winning Indigenous photographer until 1 August; nfsa.gov.au

On Sunday, get your hoedown on at the March Walk Up dance hosted by Country Music Association of Canberra, 7 March 1.30-4.30pm at Canberra Irish Club, Weston; trybooking.com/BOXKS

Canberra Day, 8 March

Whats on Canberra long weekend 6-8 March hot air balloons
While official hot air balloon launch events for both the NGA and Balloon Spectacular booked out, the balloons can be viewed from many vantage points around the city, including the lake foreshores, Mount Ainslie and the Arboretum.

Canberrans can celebrate the city’s 108th birthday on Monday in style as the Canberra Balloon Spectacular takes to the sky from Patrick White Lawns.

At the same time, the famous Skywhale and Skywhalepapa will launch at a second inflation zone at John Dunmore Lang Place during a special Canberra Day event, Breakfast at Balloons. 

Taking to the stage as a part of the Breakfast at Balloons event, Canberra musician Jess Green (aka Pheno) who was commissioned by Patricia Piccinini (the artist who created Skywhale and Skywhalepapa) in 2020 to compose ‘We are the Skywhales’, will perform the song with her band and the Luminescence Children’s Choir.

While the official launch events for both the NGA and Balloon Spectacular are booked out, the balloons can be viewed from many vantage points around the city, including the lake foreshores, Mount Ainslie and the Arboretum.

The balloon flights are of course weather dependent, look for our updates here, Enlighten Festival Facebook or the Events ACT Twitter from 6.15am for flight information.

Canberra Day also marks the final night of the spectacular Enlighten Illuminations that have lit up our National Attractions with stunning architectural projections throughout the festival.

The Canberra Day afternoon is sorted from 2.30pm at the Bentspoke Beer Garden. Come and meet Patricia Piccinini, as well as BentSpoke brewers and founders Tracy Margrain and Richard Watkins and learn about the inspiration behind Skywhale, Skywhalepapa and the Skywhale Ale.

Enlighten Alley and BentSpoke Beer Garden attendees will be entertained by talented local performers including Maxo, The Cherry Pickers, Ryan David and more. 

During the day, people are encouraged to visit some of the iconic Canberra attractions hosting Canberra Day activities, including Cockington Green, which is hosting a Canberra Day Charity Fundraiser, and the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House where the kids can join in the fun at PlayUP.

For something a bit different, the Canberra Brass Band will give a recorded concert performance for the 2021 Australian National Online Festival of Bands, 8 March 2.30pm at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Forrest; canberrabrass.org.au

For more entertainment: