As temperatures drop, frosty mornings start to settle in, and the snow-capped Brindabella ranges come into view, we can be sure that winter has well and truly arrived in the capital. While it might be easy to stay inside and hibernate for the season, the truth is you’ll be missing out on some of the best sights and attractions Canberra has to offer. From food festivals, museums, galleries and sporting games, to skiing and sunny days out in the snow, there really is something for everyone.
Here are our top picks of things to see and do across the Canberra region this winter:
Hit the slopes
The Australian ski season is officially open! A late autumn cold snap across the NSW and Victorian alpine regions saw one of the best snowfall deliveries in decades, welcoming an early open for the ski fields this year. Take advantage of crisp, sunny winter days and head to the NSW Snowy Mountains for some skiing, snowboarding and fun in the snow — and don’t forget the carrot for your snowman!. Only a two-hour drive from the city, the Kosciuszko National Park offers endless opportunities for a family day out or weekend away, including Thredbo, Mount Selwyn, Charlotte Pass, Perisher and Lake Crackenback Resort.
Located in the Tidbinbilla mountain ranges, Corin Forest offers a fun-filled alpine experience for the entire family. Only a 45-minute drive from the city centre, this outdoor adventure space has something for all ages and interests. Take a ski or snowboard lesson with one of their experienced instructors, ride on the 1.2km alpine slide through the forest, try some tobogganing or simply play in the snow. With the onsite lodge, you can have a bite to eat, relax by the fire with a warm drink and make a day of it.
Get your skates on
For nearly 40 years, the Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre has given locals a wintery indoor skating experience all year round. This Canberra institution boasts an Olympic size skating rink and is open to the public seven days a week. It offers a Friday night disco, birthday parties and skating lessons for all ages. Plus, you can watch the CBR Brave ice hockey team in action throughout June, July and August.
Indoor snow sports
If you can’t get to the ski slopes this season then look no further than Vertikal Indoor Snow Sports. Open 364 days a year, this indoor alpine experience lets you ski and snowboard to your heart’s content. Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned skier, there’s something for you, including lessons with certified instructors and coaches, and a Snow Cub Club for children between 4–7 years. Vertikal also has a bar and cafe onsite so you can take a well-earned break then go back for more.
Canberra is home to countless award-winning national attractions, galleries and museums, perfect for those days when you don’t want to brave the cold. This winter, the National Gallery of Australia hosts the Monet: Impression Sunrise exhibition and Bodies of Art: Human Form from the National Collection. Take a trip to the arctic at the The National Museum of Australia with The Antarctica Experience, or play with glass marbles at the Canberra Glassworks Marbellous Open Day on 15 June. For the young (and young at heart), visit the Mr Squiggle exhibition at the Royal Australian Mint, explore the Discovery Zone at the Australian War Memorial, or take a tour of the Dinosaur Museum. Plus, National Science Week, the Canberra Writers Festival and Gamma.con all come to the capital in August.
For the foodies
Winter is the perfect time to indulge in Canberra’s thriving food and wine scene, and with so many foodie activities on the winter calendar this year, you’ll be spoilt for choice. One go-to event this season is the Canberra Truffle Festival. Now in its 10th year, the festival is an annual celebration of the region’s black winter truffle, and showcases the produce of local growers, restaurants and wineries. The festival runs across the month of July offering cooking demonstrations, a truffle hunt, plus countless opportunities to taste our region’s fine wines and locally grown ‘black gold’.
This winter, Canberra’s sporting calendar is full to the brim. From cycling at Stromlo Forest Park, to the Brumbies and Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium, the Giants Netball team taking to the court at AIS Arena, or the AFL at the UNSW Canberra Oval. Whatever code you follow you are sure to be entertained, so get out and about and support your local sporting heroes.