New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published December 10th 2017
Ideas of where to go for the afternoon, or the whole day
If you're reading this on Christmas Day, you may be wondering where you can go, what you can do and what's open in Canberra. Perhaps you have spent the morning with family and have the afternoon to yourself, or maybe you're on your own and are wondering how you can spend the day. If you're a local, you may have guests staying at your house who want to go sight-seeing, or perhaps you're looking for details of church services around the Capital. If you have kids, you may just need a good playground to go to for an hour while Christmas lunch is getting prepared!
Whatever you're looking for, take a scroll down through this list to give you some ideas on what's open - and where to go - on Christmas Day in Canberra. In no particular order...
Pod Playground and the grounds of the National Arboretum will be open on Christmas Day - however the Visitors Centre and Bonsai Collection will be closed
The National Arboretum will be having their grounds and forests open on Christmas Day, so visitors can take a drive up and enjoy the view at Dairy Farmers Lookout, have a BBQ at the Himalayan Cedar Forest BBQ Area, walk through the Gallery of Gardens and hike along the forest trails. For families, the popular Pod Playground will also be open, so the kids can wear off some of that Christmas energy in arguably the best playground in Canberra. Although the Visitor Centre and National Bonsai Collection will be closed on Christmas Day, the grounds will be open between 6am to 8:30pm for everyone to enjoy. See here for details.
* For other parks and playgrounds in Canberra, see here.
Telstra Tower is located at the top of Black Mountain and has some of the best views over the entire region. It is open every day of the year, including Christmas Day, so that visitors can catch the lift up and enjoy the spectacular views from the indoor and outdoor viewing areas. If it is a windy day, prepare to be "blown away" by the view! See here for details. For a full article on Telstra Tower - Outdoor Viewing Platforms, see here.
Church Services will be held at every church in Canberra on Christmas Day - see here for a full listing of all faiths. For a beautiful, historical church close to the centre of Canberra, why not attend a service at the St Johns Anglican Church in Reid. This historical church was originally built for the early settlers to Canberra and Christmas has been celebrated there every year since 1841. If you are alone at Christmas, they will also be holding a Christmas Day Community Lunch. See here for details. For the background history and an article about this fascinating church, see here.
As life changes, sometimes we may find ourselves without plans on Christmas Day. St Mary in the Valley Church in Calwell will be holding a free Christmas Lunch at 12pm, so that people don't feel alone at Christmas. See here for details.
Snapper on the Lake Fish and Chips & Lake Burley Griffin
Lake Burley Griffin is a popular place to spend Christmas Day, with scenic BBQ areas and picnic spots all along the waterline. If you have a craving for fish and chips however, or perhaps cooking the turkey didn't quite go to plan, then why not head on down to the lake and enjoy fish and chips at Snapper on the Lake. This family-friendly area is licenced, so you can have a delicious fish and chip lunch with a glass or wine or beer, while you watch the boats on the water. Snapper will be open between 11am - 3pm on Christmas Day. See here for details. For a full article on Snapper, see here.
Cotter Avenue, Murrumbidgee River
Cotter Avenue recreation area is a popular place to visit on Christmas Day, located on the Murrumbidgee River. It is open every day and has free gas BBQs, a playground, campground, areas to have a splash in the river and plenty of grass to spread out and have a game of family cricket. This reserve is particularly popular on Christmas Day (especially if a hot day is forecast!), so you may want to get there early to grab a table. See here for a map. For an article on the Top 3 Things To Do in the Cotter - For Kids, see here.
These are just some ideas on what's open and what there is to do, on Christmas Day in Canberra. Wherever you end up, enjoy the day and Merry Christmas!
Relax by the water at Snapper on the Lake fish and chips, open 11am - 3pm