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 Sydney or Melbourne, but the small city has a lot going for it.
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Hit the road in Canberra
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 Brisbane, Perth, 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.
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.
Floriade Festival (October)
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.
Canberra Nara Candle Festival (October)
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.
Celebrate Canberra (March)
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.
Summernats car festival (January)
National Multicultural Festival (February)
Royal Canberra Show (February)
National Folk Festival (Easter)
Truffle Festival (June - August)
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.
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.
Canberra Raiders (Rugby League)
Brumbies (Rugby Union)
University of Canberra Capitals (Basketball)
Canberra Cannons (Basketball)
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.
From animals to flora and fauna; experience nature at these fantastic Canberra sites.
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.
Canberra Motorhome Facts
|Average rental length|
|Average 2 berth rental price|
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