The words "fun" and "Canberra" don't often go together in the same sentence, however that is often said by people who don't live in this vibrant city and haven't experienced all the fun things there are to do. Due to its inland location, Summer can get above average temperatures, however locals still get to enjoy the outdoors by heading out at the break of dawn or in the evening to avoid the hot midday sun.
If the heat gets too much, there is always the "aircon hop" - moving from air conditioned cars to air conditioned buildings and trying to avoid the heat in between. Fortunately with so many iconic museums in the city to visit, there is ample opportunity to get that 'whoosh" of ice cold air in your face as you walk in the door. Ahh....bliss.
On the coast, Summer would mean "Sun, Sand and Surf", however Canberra has it's own three "S's"...
STROMLO FOREST BIKE PARK
Early morning ride down Stromlo. Source: Stromlo Facebook.
Bike riding is a popular sport in Canberra, with the bike paths filling up at dawn with cyclists riding to work or squeezing in some exercise before it gets too hot.
Summernats is an annual event in Canberra, which draws every street car enthusiast and burn out fan from across the country to watch this four day car extravaganza. The event usually falls on some of the hottest days in Summer, so with heat from the sun combined with heat from the cars, it is literally the "hottest place to be" in Canberra.
With live bands, street machines, burnout competitions and fireworks, this adrenaline fuelled event is a highlight of the Summer event calendar. It has gained national recognition, with it being televised on the national news each night of the star studded event. Every year it gets bigger and better as they attempt to break world records, much to the delight of the thousands who attend. Check out their website for this January's details.
Lastly, although not in Canberra, heading to the South Coast is also a popular way to escape the inland heat in search of a coastal breeze. Batemans Bay is only a two hour drive from Canberra (via Bungadore) and Merimbula an hour longer (via Cooma). Both places are Canberra's Summer playground, so if you plan on getting to the coast this Summer it is important to book early. When you talk to locals in Canberra, most have a favourite place on the coast where they like to go, whether its a small beach that most people haven't heard of or a popular caravan park with activities for the kids. Batemans Bay is larger, with smaller coastal beaches to stay at further down the coast. Our family prefers Merimbula, although it is longer to drive, it is smaller and easier to get around. Although quiet and sleepy in the off season, these coastal areas get busy and booked out in the Summer school holidays.
With such beautiful south coast beaches to enjoy just a short drive from the capital, it is worth the drive for at least a night or two of seaside living before returning back to Canberra.
The beautiful Batemans Bay, Canberra's Summer refuge.
If you are still looking for Summertime ideas, why not enjoy a swim at the local pool, take a dip in the Murrumbidgee, have a fish and chips dinner by the lake, kayak on Lake Burley Griffin or sample an ice-cream or two at the many popular ice creameries around the city.
If you can fit in one more "S" this Summer, why not give the Speedcoaster a try at Big Splash Water Park in Macquarie - who said Canberra isn't fun?