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Hit the road in Canberra

There’s no better way of discovering more about Australia than packing up a campervan and heading to Canberra. The capital is now a thriving cultural hub. Cafes are renowned for strong coffees, and with a student population you’ll find one on almost every corner. Canberra is a prime destination to pick up a motorhome rental for your next road trip. The population is nothing like that of Sydneyor Melbourne, but the small city has a lot going for it. 

The eclectic city - Canberra tourism

Tick off the politician box by visiting Parliament House and attending question time. It’s an interesting view into Australian politics.

Feel like a giant at Cockington Green Gardens. Meticulously crafted mini-buildings set into beautiful gardens, the tiny world is a fun way to spend an afternoon, and if you can’t get enough of the miniatures, try a round of mini golf. Hire a bike and take a ride around the lake. The paths are flat and help you orientate yourself around the city. Just watch out for the pesky magpies known to swoop at unsuspecting riders. Helmets with plastic spikes may look odd, but the locals are happy to avoid being a shiny object to the birds.

Canberra Accommodation - Where to stay

The fresh air and open spaces of Canberra make camping an idyllic experience. There are campgrounds within the city and also in Cotter, the forests, and at Namadgi National Park. Remember to book ahead wherever you’re staying.

  • Five minutes from the heart of the city is Alivio Tourist Park. They have an excellent café and bar, pool, heated spa and amenities.

  • Bush camping is available in the 106,000ha Namadgi National Park. Honeysuckle Campground has access to the walking track connecting Booroomba Rocks to Orroral Ridge.

  • Capital Country Holiday Park is 14km north of Canberra and makes a perfect base for exploring the capital. They have an ornamental lake, free BBQ areas and lots of space for the kids.

  • Queanbeyan Riverside Tourist Park is situated on the banks of the Queanbeyan River. The grassy sites have leafy surrounds and this park is a perfect getaway while being close to the city.

Quick skip out to the vineyards

To understand Canberra, you must taste it. This region creates distinct wines and many are known internationally. The district is home to 140 vineyards and more than 30 of these are within a 30-minute drive from Canberra. For the savvy wine drinker, Murrumbateman is the first stop to unearthing Riesling like no other. They also have some excellent Shiraz-based wines. It’s an easy drive to Murrumbateman. Head straight out onto Barton Highway for 30 minutes and you’ll spot it.

On the way there are wineries out near Hall. This pocket has dark-green scenery and winding river banks. Surveyors Hill Vineyard is a good stopping point, as is Pankhurst. Make sure you live fluidly though, and enjoy any vineyard that takes your fancy. There are some beautiful boutique stops along the way.

Dining out in the capital

At Gundaroo, on the road to Collector, is well-known restaurant Grazing. It’s a magic place offering sophisticated dining at its best. Lunch under bright blue skies or dine under the stars. Eightysix is a perfect restaurant to just relax and take suggestions from the well-versed waiters. They have a superb wine knowledge and the food is exquisite.

Mezzalira will satiate your Italian cravings. They have an extensive Italian wine collection and you’ll find yourself wanting to share plates to taste all of the dishes. For a fun, more casual dining experience, head to Honky Tonks. It has a great atmosphere and ever-changing artwork. The food comes secondary to the experience here, but for Mexican food, it’s pretty decent. For top-class Asian dining, the Chairman and Yip is outstanding. There are classic dishes and interesting fusion courses.

Cheap eats are easy to find around Canberra, mainly thanks to the student population. One of the best is Dickson Asian Noodle House. The Pad Thai is always delicious, as is the Duck Laksa. Ask for some coconut juice to wash it down. If you’re a whiskey connoisseur, make your way to Hippo Co. There’s always a cool lounge atmosphere, no matter how busy it gets.

Attractions in Canberra

Questacon is an Australian institution, as kids discover the wonders of science. Today it is still a highlight to take the family and is relatively inexpensive for the ultimate interactive experience. The National Portrait Gallery is worth half a day if you can spare it. You can see the real faces of Australia. The early works are mainly of aristocracy, but the more modern work is of everyday Aussies. The National Art Gallery sits on the banks of the lake and holds more than 100,000 artworks. Aboriginal art, didgeridoos and stories take pride of place at the entrance and works by Monet and Cezanne are must-sees. The Australian War Memorial is one of the country’s most visited tourist attractions, and widely regarded as one of the most significant in the world. It’s not hard to spot. Anzac Parade leads directly to the front of the memorial.

A variety of temperatures and climates - Canberra weather

Each of the four seasons in Canberra offer beauty and charm. Spring has glorious days and millions of flowers bloom in the city. The mornings are fresh, but the days are bright and sunny. Summer is hot, dry and with little humidity. There are endless opportunities to explore the great outdoors and the nights are balmy and perfect for an Aussie BBQ. A golden hue falls over the city in autumn, and winter is the perfect time to snuggle up in front of a fire. Camping in winter could be a bit too chilly, depending on your camper’s facilities.


Canberra not where you want to begin your journey? Check out the other Australia campervan hire options on offer with Motorhome Republic and choose from locations like BrisbanePerth, Cairns or a motorhome rental from Tasmania.

Where to hire a camper

Road tripping and camping are brilliant ways of exploring the huge continent that is Australia, so there are many different companies offering campervan rental. Depending on the type of holiday you’re wanting, there are sizes to suit every need.
 
Energi Motorhomes Australia are located at 3 Park Street, Belconnen, which is 25km from Canberra International Airport, but only 15 minutes from the city. Energi are renowned for their strong customer service and impeccable knowledge of the Canberra region. A great place to start your motorhome adventure.
 
Calypso Campervan Rentals are Australian owned and operated. They have a fleet of modified vans and depots across Australia. One-way relocation options are also available. 
 

Tips to tackle the dangerous outback:

  • Be wary of snakes and spiders. Don’t run barefoot in long grass, or taunt the local fauna.

  • Take water. Canberra can reach extreme high temperatures in summer, and without a beach nearby it’s easy to overheat away from your van.

  • Get an air-conditioned camper. If you get the choice, pay the extra few bucks if you have to. 

  • Camping is inexpensive in Australia and freedom camping is allowed. Do make sure you adhere to the signage at designated areas and make sure you take your rubbish with you.

Plan your motorhome road trip from Canberra

Australia’s capital is a thriving Australian hub of culture, activity and community. Not as bustling as cities such as Sydney or Melbourne, Canberra’s inviting spaces, beautiful boulevards and natural attractions make it a fantastic place to start an amazing motorhome trip.

 

To help you make the most of your time and plan your route from Canberra, we’ve put together a few possible itineraires, compiled information on events and activities, and included links to recent news and blogs relevant to Canberra visitors.

 

For extra information on driving a motorhome in Australia, be sure to visit our ‘On The Road’ tab. Read up on the best places to park up for the night, find out where the nearest dump stations are located, and get tips on the most convenient places to rest and fuel up. You’ll be sorted and ready to hit the road in no time.

 

Canberra is Australia’s capital city, and an excellent place to discover the nation’s cultural history.

 

Motorhome road trip itineraries to and from Canberra

The joy of a good road trip itinerary is that you can make it your own. Chop and change our suggested itineraries to suit your travel needs, or pull out your favourite bits to make a new one. Here are two great routes to get you started.

 

Sydney to Adelaide - Down Under Wonders (or Adelaide to Sydney)

While the official first leg of this journey begins in Sydney and ends in Canberra, you can opt to rent an RV from the capital and start there. Kick it all off with a visit to Capital Hill for some insight on political Australia, or get away from it all with a hike on the Hume and Hovell Walking Track. Be sure to nip out to the wonderful wineries in the surrounding area to get a taste of the local delights. See incredible native wildlife, swim at beautiful beaches and enjoy city splendours on this popular route. You’ll drive through New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, and South Australia for the ultimate Down Under motorhome holiday.

 

Melbourne to Brisbane: City, Sand and Sea(or Brisbane to Melbourne)

Pick up your motorhome hire in Canberra and head south to Melbourne or north to Brisbane. A beautiful mix of long stretches of beach, bright city lights, and scenic drives, this itinerary will make all of your Australian road trip dreams comes true. You’ll visit five of Australia’s major cities, getting the chance to experience the culture, cuisine and entertainment of each one. This route will also introduce you to the surf life, giving you the salty, sunkissed version of this coastal country. We’re sure you’ll spot a kangaroo or two and will no doubt get a glimpse of a cuddly koala. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

 

Events and festivals in Canberra

Canberra sure knows how to throw a party. With events and festivals held all through the year, there’s bound to be something to celebrate while you’re there picking up your motorhome rental.

 

Festivals

The annual Floriade Festival began in 1988 and has only grown in popularity since then. Now one of the city’s most popular tourist events, Australians and International visitors alike flock to the capital for this spectacular 30-day Spring festival. Join in at workshops, gardening tutorials, demonstrations, and entertainment galore for an environmentally friendly festival you’ll never forget.

 

Imagine 2,000 sparkling candles lighting up the spring evening sky. Now, add a mixture of Japanese and Australian culture and you have yourself a festival like no other. The Canberra Nara Candle Festival is held in celebration of the relationship the city shares with their sister city, Nara, Japan. In Nara they celebrate Tokae (from the Japanese word ‘to-ka’, which describes the petal-like shapes sometimes formed at the top of a candle’s wick), as the occurrence of the flower on the candle brings goodwill. For one day in October, Japan and Australia collide in a stunning array of markets, delicious cuisine, crafts such as calligraphy and lantern making, and beautiful fusion music. Held in Peace Park, it’s a festival not to be missed.

 

Canberra celebrates its beginnings in March every year with a birthday bash. Entertainers take to the stage in Commonwealth Park, and families turn up in their hundreds. With music, dance, face painting, amusement rides and bouncy castles (to name a few things!), pack your picnic basket for a day of celebration.

 

Other festivals:

 

The Australian War Memorial is an impressive yet sombre reminder of the price that Australians have paid for freedom.

 

Activities and attractions to visit

Get to know Australia a little better when you learn about the inner workings of government and the history of the country in energetic Canberra. The delicious eats and incredible coffee will keep you going from attraction to attraction.

 

Sports

Sport is big in Australia, and Canberra is no different. From Rugby Union to football, and cricket to motor racing, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) are responsible for leading Australia to international success across all sports. The Gungahlin Enclosed Oval is home to 4 major sports: Soccer, AFL, Rugby Union and Rugby League, while the McKellar Park hosts soccer matches. Need something a little more laid back? The Thoroughbred Park makes for a great day at the races.

 

Sports teams:

 

Food & Wine

Canberra is full of great places to wine and dine. Here are just a few options to get you started:

 

Art & History

Pursue the galleries and read up on the history of Canberra and Australia; the capital city has plenty of cultural venues to explore if you’re up for a leisurely day.

 

Nature

From animals to flora and fauna; experience nature at these fantastic Canberra sites.

 

Floriade is Canberra’s vibrant celebration of spring time.

 

Outdoor Activities & Sightseeing

Get out and about in the beautiful Australian outdoors. Whether you’re wandering around the markets or hiking up a mountain, there’s an exciting activity waiting for you in Canberra.

 

 

Motorhome camping blogs and articles

Learn more about road tripping in Australia with our latest selection of blogs and articles.

 

  • Winter Motorhome Road Trip in Australia

Winter can actually be a great time to take a road trip in Australia. Learn the ins and outs of taking an Australian motorhome holiday in the winter months.

 

  • Campground Etiquette for Motorhome Travellers

Camping usually requires sharing space with fellow travellers. Here’s how to make sure you’re a kind, considerate motorhome neighbour. Read more.

 

  • Find an RV Friendly Town for Your Next Australian Road Trip

Drive into town knowing that you and your motorhome are welcome. The RV Friendly Town initiative is being taken up with many cities and towns across Australia, making campervan travel a more pleasant experience.

Your Travel Guide to Canberra

National Zoo and Aquarium

Over 47 acres of gardens and enclosures make up the Canberra National Zoo, and with the Aquarium located right there on site, you can make your visit a varied experience. To make the most of your trip to the National Zoo and Aquarium, be sure to check out the daily activities and the Keeper Talks schedule so you can learn more about your favourite animals. If you’re up for even more adventure, the Jamala Wildlife Lodge is a luxury accommodation experience you won’t forget, with live animals just a glass-pane away. There’s plenty of parking at the zoo, so finding a spot for your Canberra motorhome rental should be easy.

Where: Scrivener Dam, Yarralumla, Canberra, 2611, Australia
Hours: Open 7 days from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Phone: +61 2 6287 8400

Parlour Wine Room

With superb meals, a delicious local and international wine selection, and stunning decor, Parlour Wine Room offers a lovely dining experience to visitors of Australia’s capital city. Located in Canberra’s historic New Acton suburb, the atmosphere will draw you in, but the food, drink and ambience will keep you there. Providing exceptional dishes for lunch and dinner and excellent finger food from the bar, Parlour Wine Room is a stylish stop for travellers of all sorts. Striving to cater for everyone’s needs, many of the delicious dishes on the menu are gluten free or vegan. The establishment also offers functions space for hire, and have hosted many the beautiful wedding. On-street parking is available around New Acton for your Canberra motorhome rental.

Where: 16 Kendall Lane, New Acton, Canberra, Australia
Hours: Open Monday to Sunday: 12:00 pm till late

Jamala Wildlife Lodge

Get up close and personal with some of the incredible animals at the National Zoo and Aquarium by booking a room at the Jamala Wildlife Lodge. These three types of interactive rooms are an experience like no other, with a few of the world’s most magnificent animals just a step away. The Ushaka Lodge will have you watching lemurs through your windows, while the Giraffe Treehouses will bring you to new heights, even hand-feeding these majestic creatures from your balcony. Opting for the Jungle Bungalow, you’ll experience cheetahs, lions, tigers, brown bears and the Malaysian sun bear right from your window (room dependant). Take a break from your Canberra motorhome rental and book a night or two in the Jamala Wildlife Lodge.

Where: 999 Lady Denman Drive, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, 2611, Australia
Phone: +61 2 6287 8444

Cockington Green Gardens

Stunningly crafted miniature buildings wind their way through the beautiful Cockington Green Gardens in Australia’s capital city. Explore this family-owned-and-operated garden at your pace, marvelling at the work and creativity that has gone into creating one of the most delightful spots in Canberra. The on-site Parsons Nose Garden Cafe serves high-quality meals and drinks, while the free BBQ area is perfect for those summer lunches. Let the kids ride on the miniature train, or buy a souvenir or two from the gift store - there’s so much to do and see at the Cockington Green Gardens, you’ll want to return for another day. There’s plenty of parking at the gardens for your Canberra motorhome rental.

Where: 11 Gold Creek Road, Nicholls, Australian Capital Territory, 2913, Australia
Opening times: Open 7 days from 9.00 am - 5:00 pm.

Artworld Aboriginal Dreamings Gallery

You don’t have to be an art buff to appreciate the talent, commitment and passion gone into the pieces at the Aboriginal Dreamings Gallery in Canberra. Established in 1989, the gallery has been specialising in Aboriginal art for over two decades and continues to showcase an extensive range of artists and collections. From huge wall hangings to paintings, hand crafted artefacts to pottery, there’s a fantastic variety of art to be discovered at the Aboriginal Dreamings Gallery. Learn about the history of the Aboriginal people in Australia and experience their stories firsthand when you visit this fantastic spot in the nation’s capital city. There’s a free car park at the front of the gallery for your Canberra motorhome rental.

Where: 19 O’Hanlon Place, Gold Creek Village, Canberra, 2615, Australia
Hours: Open 7 days from 10:00 am till 5:00 pm

Canberra Indoor Rock Climbing

Get ready for Canberra with some adrenaline-inducing adventure. How high can you go? Head to Canberra Indoor Rock Climbing to find out! With two handy Canberra locations (Mitchell and Hume), no matter where you end up, there’s a gym near you. The team is passionate about rock climbing, and when they’re not helping you reach the top, they’re in the outdoors reaching new heights of their own. Whether you’re an old-hand at rock climbing or a complete novice, you’re in safe hands when you visit Canberra Indoor Rocking Climbing. They also offer an outdoor lead course for those wanting to climb in the fresh air. Book in early though - it’s a popular one!

Mitchell - Address: 38-40 Essington Street, Mitchell, Canberra, 2911, Australia.
Phone: + 61 02 6262 4863
Hume - Address: 26 Raws Crescent, Hume, Canberra, 2620, Australia
Phone: +61 02 6260 1101

White Rabbit Cocktail Room

Curiouser and curiouser, would you follow a white rabbit to one of the most unique bars in Canberra? We certainly would. The White Rabbit Cocktail Room is everything you would expect from an Alice in Wonderland themed bar, and so much more. The decor at the White Rabbit is both rustic and cosy, creating an atmosphere that gives off that other-worldly feel. As well as a fabulous selection of tasty beverages on the Drink Me menu, guests can also book in a cocktail making class to learn how the experts do it. On Saturdays, join Alice for Tipsy Tea and indulge in a platter of sweet treats and desserts, or simply drop by throughout the week to enjoy one of the themed drinks over a plate of finger-licking-good nibbles. Street parking is available all around the White Rabbit; pull up in your Australian campervan hire and enjoy the evening. Just make sure you’ve chosen a designated driver.

Where: 65 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, 2601, Australia
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 5:00 pm until late

Food Co-op

Unpackaged and organic - that’s the kind of wholefood goodness you’ll get when you visit Canberra’s Food Co-op. With a passion for sustainable living, the Food Co-op works hard to make available affordable, fresh, natural, ethical and locally grown products. Shopping at the Food Co-op is just like any other: packaged food can be bought straight from the shelf, or you can opt for unpackaged goods and bring your own containers to fill up from the bulk bins. This is a great way to go about buying some food for your campervan hire road trip! Food Coop Cafe serves delicious Fair Trade coffee as well, along with homemade bread and other tasty treats. There’s parking available outside for your campervan. 

Where: 3 Kingsley Street, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, 2601, Australia
Shop hours: 
Monday to Friday: 10:00am - 7:00pm
Weekends: 10:00am - 4:00pm