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School Holiday Fun!

on 02 January 2019

Ultimate Guide to School Holidays in Canberra

If you’re planning a visit to the nation’s capital, you’ll find lots of fun activities for every member of the family. And if you’re visiting Gungahlin or you live there, you’re perfectly placed to check out Canberra’s school holiday attractions at any time of year.

Autumn School Holidays (March – April)

Autumn in Canberra is a beautiful time of year as the deciduous trees turn gold, heralding the approach of winter. And if you’re visiting Canberra or you live here and are looking for things to keep the kids occupied during the autumn break, here are some attractions they’ll love.

  • Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) - during the autumn holidays, the Australian Institute of Sport has a vacation program for kids between 5 and 13 years of age in sports such as soccer, netball and pool activities.

  • National Dinosaur Museum – take the kids to see one of Australia’s largest dinosaur displays including skeletons, models, fossils and robot dinosaurs that breathe, move and roar. With a giant 20 metre T-Rex just arrived, a monstrously good time is guaranteed.

  • Questacon – learn how to count like a computer, how your taste buds work and how to make a rocket blast off at The National Science & Technology Centre. Questacon has daily demonstrations and hands-on workshops during the school holidays on all kinds of seriously fun science topics for kids of all ages.  

  • Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex – if your kids are into all things space-related, take them to NASA’s Deep Space Complex in Tidbinbilla. Open every day of the school holidays with free entry, they can learn about the role Australia plays in space exploration, view the largest antenna complex in the southern hemisphere, see a piece of the moon that's more than 3.8 billion years old, check out foods that astronauts eat on the space station and much more.

  • Jerrabomberra Wetlands – take a nature break and take the family to one of the most valuable wetland habitat areas in the ACT that provides a refuge for migrating birds from the northern hemisphere and inland Australia. Take a stroll and discover the delights of wildlife watching as you explore an array of habitats and learn about the unique ecology of the area.

  • Lake Burley Griffin – hire some bikes and ride along the edges of Lake Burley Griffin or rent a paddle boat, kayak, rowboat or dragon boat and visit its two accessible islands. The lake is some 40 kilometres in area and is the perfect place to blow away the cobwebs on a beautiful autumn day.

For more ideas and inspiration, check out our Guide to Autumn School Holidays in Canberra.

Winter School Holidays (June – July)

Canberra is known for its cool, crisp winters and if you’re here during the winter school break, you’ll find plenty of warm indoor pursuits to keep the kids occupied and entertained including;

  • Kids Pantry – help them to explore their culinary talents by signing them up at Canberra's only cooking school and kitchen garden exclusively for kids, Winter is all about yummy food and it’s the perfect excuse to get them away from their screens and cooking up a storm, with a range of school holiday programs conducted in a fun and supportive environment.

  • Canberra Indoor Rock Climbing Centre – this awesome centre has two gyms and a wide variety of walls to climb, with something to suit every age and ability. You and the kids will have hours of fun perfecting your technique and there are two locations to choose from in Mitchell and Hume.

  • Flipout – with hundreds of trampolines and two locations (Mitchell and Hume), Flipout Indoor Trampolining Centre is a great place to have some family fun and blow off steam. It’s perfect entertainment on a cold winter’s day, with plenty of rules to keep young kids safe and enough fun and excitement to keep older kids happy.

  • Canberra Glassworks – a change of pace during the winter school holidays is a visit to the Canberra Glassworks, where you’ll find something for everyone from exhibitions to live glass blowing demonstrations. They also run frequent school holiday programs where kids can create their own masterpieces under the guidance of some of Australia’s most acclaimed glass artists.

  • Kambah Inflatable World – visit Australia’s largest inflatable playground, open weekends and school holidays in Kambah and enjoy hours of bouncy family fun. There’s an Under 5’s area for little ones and a kiosk for spectators and parents are encouraged to whip off their shoes and join in the fun with their kids.

  • Royal Australian Mint – explore the place where every single coin in Australia was made. The Mint is free to visit and while you’re there the kids can go on a free treasure hunt, see powerful coin lifting robots in action and even mint their own collectable one dollar coins.

For more ideas and inspiration, check out our Guide to Winter School Holidays in Canberra.

Spring School Holidays (September – October)

During spring in Canberra, the flowers are in full bloom, the weather is warming and there’s plenty of family fun to be had including;

  • Floriade – an annual flower and entertainment festival held in Commonwealth Park, Floriade is Australia’s largest celebration of spring and features extensive flower displays integrated with sculptures and other artistic features. And there’s plenty to keep the kids entertained, including Nightfest, with spectacular lighting designs and installations, pop up roving entertainment and live comedy and music acts.

  • Parliament House – no trip to Canberra is complete without a visit to Parliament House and during spring you can see a whole different side to it, with a tour of the private gardens. The Spring Glory Courtyard tour is a rare chance to take in the beauty and serenity of the many courtyards dotted throughout the building.

  • Cockington Green – this is a unique Canberra attraction the whole family will love; a delightful display of handcrafted miniature buildings from around the world set in beautifully landscaped gardens. There’s something for everyone including miniature steam train rides, a 34-room dolls house, a licensed garden café, free BBQs, a picnic area and playground.

  • National Arboretum - home to 94 forests of trees from Australia and around the world, there’s a whole day of activities to be had at the National Arboretum. There’s free guided and self-guided tours, interactive displays and a unique nature-themed Pod Playground for the kids. There’s also a café and shop, outdoor sculptures and picnic areas boasting some spectacular views of Canberra.

  • Kids Biz – located in Pearce and Gungahlin, Kids Biz offers a wide range of sports clinics, dance programs and other activities for primary school kids during the school holidays. Whatever they’re interests are, from dancing and arts & crafts to basketball, soccer, tennis, cricket or golf, Kids Biz has a school holiday program to suit.

  • National War Memorial – just like Parliament House, everyone should visit our National War Memorial and the Discovery Zone is particularly interesting for kids. A purpose built educational space, it gives them a variety of experiences such as taking control of an Iroquois helicopter and peering through the periscope of a Cold War submarine. They can climb, jump, crawl, touch and explore and the Discovery Zone is open every day of the school holidays.

For more ideas and inspiration, check out our Guide to Spring School Holidays in Canberra.

Summer School Holidays (December – January)

Summer can be hot in Canberra, so staying cool is the name of the game and these holiday activities and attractions will help the whole family cool off while having fun;

  • Canberra Yacht Club – every summer on Lake Burley Griffin, the Canberra Yacht Club holds family, adult and children's three, four and five-day sailing courses. So if you’re a family that likes the water, this is a great way to escape the heat and get some wind in your sails. These are popular courses though, so you’ll need to book early.

  • Botanic Gardens – situated on the lower slopes of Black Mountain, these gardens are a great place to cool off, with a range of different walking trails, a wide variety of plants and animals, lots of educational activities, a Botanical Resource Centre and a café and picnic tables to feed hungry mouths. And entry is free.

  • National Zoo & Aquarium – with a zoo and an aquarium, two animal encounter experiences come together to provide a great day out for the kids. There’s a wide variety of native and exotic animals and during the school holidays, Zoocation provides a fun-filled day getting up close with them, playing games and learning about them along the way.

  • Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve - the Sanctuary at Tidbinbilla is a great day out for the whole family. A large wetlands ecosystem surrounded by bushland, it’s home to a range of native animals in a natural setting. There are pathways and boardwalks to explore each habitat and the chance to spot all sorts of wildlife from migratory birds to platypus and reptiles. And there are self-guided and organised activities throughout the school holidays, with something for every age and interest.

  • Gungahlin Leisure Centre – on those really hot days, the best way to cool off is to head for the nearest public swimming pool and in Gungahlin, it’s the Gungahlin Leisure Centre. With 3 pools, a creche, a gym and a café, it’s open right across the school holidays from 5.30am to 9.30pm on weekdays and 7am to 7.30pm on weekends.  

For more ideas and inspiration, check out our Guide to Summer School Holidays in Canberra.

Discover FREE entertainment at Marketplace Gungahlin

And while you’re in Gungahlin, don’t forget that the Marketplace Gungahlin offers FREE school holiday entertainment. So come down, shop up a storm, dine on delicious food, and check out what’s on in air conditioned comfort.

The Hub > January 2019 > School Holiday Fun!