Winter School Holidays in Canberra
To borrow the words of every Game of Thrones character, winter is coming. So are the school holidays. Keep the kids warm and entertained and read our tips on what to do.
12 July - 31 July
According to a 2016 Wotif survey of more than 1800 people, more than a third of Australians chase the summer sun to places like India, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Bali. One in every ten Australians do the opposite and embrace the cooler weather to enjoy a holiday in the snow at Perisher, Thredbo or New Zealand.
But what if you didn’t go anywhere? What if you stayed perfectly put in Canberra and enjoyed everything winter has to offer right here on your doorstep. There might be more to do in Canberra than you think…
Activities your kids will love
Between 30 June and 22 July at Garema Place, families can enjoy the SkatingAT Festival. Here you’ll find all your carnival favourites (whether you’re a classic carousel fan or a thrill-seeker) as well as an ice rink complete with Kanga skate aids. If bouncing is more your kid’s style, the Cloud Castle will provide plenty of excitement. If you don’t make it to the Festival, you can also slip some skates on at the Phillip Ice Skating Centre, conveniently located in the heart of Canberra. With over 1500 square metres of ice, the rink caters for up to 250 skaters per session.
2. Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
Nasa has three bases for their Deep Space Complex; one in California, one in Spain, and one in Canberra. An international network of antennas that support space missions and radio astronomy, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex is crucial for NASA to collect information from space. See a piece of the moon that’s more than 3.8 billion years old, check out the latest images from across the Solar System, and discover the foods that astronauts eat on the space station.
3. Bendora Arboretum
The Bendora Arboretum is the sole surviving arboretum in the Brindabella Ranges after others were destroyed in the 2003 bushfires. Located about an hour from the centre of Canberra, it seems a million miles from Australia’s planned city. Home to diverse wilderness and the biggest pine cones you could imagine, it really is hard to believe this is Canberra’s backyard. The site is now home to some of the best examples of mature conifer trees anywhere in the world, making it a popular bushwalking track.
4. Kids Pantry
Winter is all about yummy food and great seasonal produce. It’s the perfect time to get the kids away from the screens and cooking up a storm at Kids Pantry. This amazing cooking school uses the freshest ingredients so that even the fussiest of eaters will fall in love with food. The Kids Pantry is growing the next generation of cooks and is specifically designed to teach children how to grow and cook their own food. There’s something for everyone aged 1-18 and there are packages to suit every budget.
5. Indoor Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is a great way to warm up in winter, as well as let your inner monkey out. The Canberra Indoor Rock Climbing Centre has two gyms, a huge range of walls, and a ton of ropes to suit every ability. Whether you like to stick close to the ground or head straight for the ceiling, you and the kids will have fun perfecting your technique in the warmth of the indoors.
Another great way to keep warm is to jump on the hundreds of trampolines at Flipout Indoor Trampolining Centre. Try out your skills and tricks and let the kids go crazy in the bouncy arenas of dance music mayhem. There are plenty of rules to keep young kids safe but enough laughter and excitement to keep the older kids happy.
7. Canberra Glassworks
During the school holidays, Canberra Glassworks lets you and your kids take part in a tile-fusing experience where you can design your own piece of glassware to take home. Christmas presents anyone? You can also try your hand at the Message in a Bottle experience, where you hunt for the hidden blue light bulbs around the historical building to try and win a paperweight. On top of this, you can watch the experts create some truly stunning pieces of work.
8. Kambah Inflatable World
Kambah Inflatable World is Australia’s biggest inflatable playground. It’s only open on weekends and during school holidays, which keeps the excitement alive no matter how many times you’ve visited. Pay the low entry fee and get two hours of fun - plenty of time to go crazy with friends. There’s an Under 5’s area for the little ones and a kiosk with coffee and snacks for the spectators.
Finally, no school holiday would be complete without a trip to Canberra’s well-loved Questacon. The National Science and Technology Centre offers over 200 educational and interactive exhibits, making science fun for all. No two visits are ever the same, with new and exciting events and activities arriving all the time. For science fans aged 10-15, a hands-on holiday workshop is a must, the perfect opportunity to unleash the inner inventor, designer or maker.
Making the most of winter
Many parents foolishly believe that winter is Canberra offers a narrower set of options, but there’s so much fun to be had. Don’t forget too that Marketplace Gungahlin offers FREE school holiday entertainment, so come down, shop up a storm, dine on delicious food, and check out what’s on.