Adventure

Only In ACT: 5 Experiences Unique To The Territory

Brought to you by Qantas

This feature is brought to you by Qantas, who are proud to play a part in bringing travellers together with the people they love from around Australia and across the globe.

Australians are renowned for our love of travel, but while we’re often busy thinking of our next exotic overseas jaunt, we easily forget all of the gems in our own backyard.

From waterfalls to walking tracks, mountains to museums, there’s almost too much to discover across this big old island of ours – as Qantas have been kind enough to remind us with their beautiful and wanderlust-inducing new inflight safety video.

So next time you get those itchy feet, why not consider staying on home soil instead and exploring the best of what ‘Straya has to offer? We’re bringing you some excellent experiences unique to each state, whether you’re looking for a day trip from home or a giant Aussie adventure (and yes, you need to get out of your car, but trust us – it’ll be worth it).

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Be a big kid again

Look, it’s not a waterfall or momentous rock sculpture or anything, but Canberra’s Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre, is well worth a visit for kids, adults and kidults alike. On the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in the nation’s capital, Questacon has more than 200 interactive exhibits to play with and is way more interesting than being dragged around the Royal Mint on school camp. They also host a number of 18+ ‘Sci-Nights’ that involve no kids, unlimited access to the exhibitions and drinks at the bar – just how science should be enjoyed.

Photo: Qantas

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Canberra has swimming holes too!

Bet you didn’t think there was room in Canberra for a set of waterfalls – much less one with an amazing swimming hole with a view on the top. Just a few minutes out of the city, in Namadgi National Park, is the picturesque Gibraltar Falls. You can camp in the park overnight or just head out for an afternoon picnic and barbecue. It’s the ideal place to escape the city without heading hours out of Canberra itself; in just over half an hour you’ll be lazin’ in that swimming hole, my friend.

Photo: Visit Canberra

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Australia’s best outdoor sculpture garden

The National Gallery of Australia certainly isn’t a hidden gem: in fact, it’s famed for its brilliant exhibitions or local and international art – but the secret is, some of the best stuff isn’t found inside the museum. The grounds that lie between the National Gallery of Australia and the shores of Lake Burley Griffin have been turned into a sculpture garden to house the Gallery’s extensive collection, and it’s a perfect place to while away a sunny afternoon on the lush grass, among sculptures from 26 Australian and international artists.

Photo: NGA

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Sleep with some bears

It seems to be the trendy ‘thing’ for zoos to host events where you can sleep near animals. Canberra Zoo and its onsite luxury hotel Jamala Wildlife Lodge, however, will always win in this category. It’s proper five-star accommodation that has clear-glass borders the animal enclosures, meaning you can take a bath beside a bear or see a giraffe eating leaves at your treehouse door. It’s a whole new way to explore the zoo and the perfect escape with a little twist. From the king-sized bed to the private pool, it’s all about the creature comforts (see what I did there?) at Jamala.

Photo: Jamala Wildlife Lodge

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Try the original (and the best) freakshake

When Canberra cafe Pâtissez started loading up their milkshakes with brownies, Nutella, marshmallows and pretzels, no one could have guessed the fire this spark would ignite. ‘Freakshakes’ all but took over the foodie world last year with imitations cropping up in virtually every Australian city, and even across the world. While the trend may have officially passed its peak, the shakes are still 100 percent delicious, and visiting our capital gives you an excuse to say you’ve tried the original and the best.

Photo: Pâtissez/Facebook

(Lead image: Jamala Wildlife Lodge)