As Canberra is at an elevation of 577 metres above sea level, we get every season in the extreme. Summer is hot, winter is cold, spring is colourful and autumn is a mountain of fallen leaves. This is why many people, including myself, love living here - the seasons are so distinct and they offer something different to do in every month of the year. Summer means we can hit the pools or swim in the Murrumbidgee River, autumn is the time to appreciate the change of colours around the city, winter means a visit to the snow or a curry festival and spring is a celebration of warmer days and floral displays. The following list highlights all the fun things to do each season in the Capital. Which is your favourite season?
Bright, isn't it? Get your sunglasses on for summer fun in Canberra!
Summer is a fun time in Canberra, as kids are on school holidays, tourists are in town and there is a huge array of family-friendly events held around the city. Firstly, the city is alive with Christmas celebrations, Santa appearances, Christmas carols, festivals and kids activities every weekend. January is then kicked off each year with Summernats street car event, which is 3 days of hot rods, burnouts and rock concerts. Another highlight of January are the Australia Day events and fireworks around Lake Burley Griffin, which are enjoyed by the whole community. Also look out for the National Multicultural Festival and the ActewAGL Royal Canberra Show held in February - both of which draw in the crowds.
As the temperatures in summer can stay in the high 30's for days on end, it is a good time to find things to do in icy-cold air conditioning - or the water! Check out the latest blockbuster exhibitions at our many museums, or visit Big Splash Waterpark or any of the eight indoor and outdoor swimming pools that are dotted around the city. Another option is to spend the day on the Murrumbidgee River, at one of the many river swimming holes along its length. Find the biggest, shadiest tree on the riverbank and spend the day in the cool.
The historical Manuka Pool - open in the summer months only
The cooler mornings of autumn are a welcome relief for most locals - a light blanket can be pulled up at night and sleep gets a little easier in the Capital. If you can pry yourself away from the blanket early in the morning in March, then watch the Canberra Balloon Spectacular - which starts at dawn from the lawns in front of Old Parliament House. Over 40 hot air balloons take the sky at once, like a slow-moving dance to a silent orchestra. Other big events in March are Canberra Day, Skyfire and the Enlighten Festival - which has artistic illuminations shone onto national buildings, the Night Noodle Markets, roving performers, dance parties and unique events in our national attractions. The cooler weather is also the ideal time to visit the Canberra Wine District and enjoy a tipple - without it being too hot or too cold to explore the region.
Autumn is also a beautiful time to watch the trees of Canberra change into their autumn glory, with a wide range of reds, oranges and yellows lining the streets throughout the Capital. Some suburbs of the inner city are awash with fallen leaves - which are fun to kick through as kids make their way to school.
If you speak to the locals of Canberra, they all seem to be split on how they feel about winter. Many people who I speak to love winter and look forward to it each year. Others, like myself, just get through each day and look forward to the warmer seasons ahead! There are however, some exciting events that happen every winter including a "pop up" ice skating rink in the city and the World Curry Festival, which has a wide range of international street stalls lining the centre of the city. Don't miss the entertaining Chilli Eating Contest - for hard-core chilli lovers only! There is also the Canberra Truffle Festival, which highlights the truffle farms in the region. If it's snow you're after, then the Snowy Mountains are just a 2 hour drive away, or a little closer to home is Corin Forest Mountain Resort, with a snow play area for kids, tobogganing and now a small ski area. If you don't want to go anywhere, simply relax with a hot chocolate by a cosy fireplace.
Although the temperatures may drop overnight and we have a few foggy mornings, most days brighten up to be clear, blue skies around the Capital. It may not get warm, but if you wear enough layers of clothes then you can still enjoy all your favourite things from the rest of the year. Just don't forget your beanie!
Spring is a stunning time in Canberra, as blossoms burst into colour, tulips shoot towards the sky, buds on trees start to unfurl and the city is alive with colour. A highlight of spring is the Floriade flower festival, which attracts approximately 400,000 people to the city over September and October each year. With so many tourists in the capital, there is a sense of excitement as the winter chill recedes and the weather starts to warm up in the middle of the day - you may even take off your beanie by 11am! Another floral celebration is held across the border in Sutton, called the Tulip Tops Flower Festival, which is a privately-owned garden and a spectacular show of tulips and colour. Spring is the ultimate season celebration, with the cool weather behind us and summer fun about to begin!
Canberra has many attractions to visit for tourists and things to do for locals, however the seasons play an important role in the day-to-day life of the city. Why not get out and about this weekend and make the most of today's season? It's a whole year before it comes around again!