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Canberra Travel Guide for Budget Trips

Canberra is a city with a rich cultural heritage, breathtaking natural scenery, and a thriving foodie scene. And if you’re looking to save money, you can enjoy it all on a budget. With affordable rates and a convenient location, budget accommodation at Pavilion on Northbourne Avenue is the perfect base to check out the following cheap and free things to do in Canberra.


Visit the National Gallery of Australia

Image via National Gallery of Australia


The National Gallery of Australia is a top budget-friendly activity to add to your Canberra itinerary. The gallery is home to an impressive Australian and international art collection, including pieces by Sidney Nolan, Jackson Pollock and Pablo Picasso. Best of all, admission to the permanent collection is free, and the gallery offers free guided tours daily. One notable upcoming exhibition is the Ngura Pulka - Epic Country collective which will be ​​conceived, created, directed, and determined by Aṉangu people. So, you can immerse yourself in the culture of the NGA without spending a dollar.


Picnic at Lake Burley Griffin

Image via Expedia


Pack a picnic basket, leave your wallet at your accommodation on Northbourne Avenue, Canberra, and explore beautiful Lake Burley Griffin. The lake serves as the centrepiece of Canberra, surrounded by lush parklands, walking tracks and free barbeque facilities. The only problem you’ll encounter is narrowing your search for the best picnic spot to eat your BYO or barbeque meal.


Check out the Australian War Memorial

Image via Structurae

The Australian War Memorial is a good option for budget-conscious travellers visiting Canberra. It offers free admission, showcasing Australia's military history through various galleries, exhibits and outdoor displays.Visitors can also attend daily commemorative ceremonies and take advantage of free guided tours to enhance their experience.


Explore the Australian National Botanic Gardens

Image via Culture Trip


When you prefer to keep your money in the bank, a trip to the Australian National Botanic Gardens is a must-do when staying at Pavilion on Northbourne. For starters, exploring the diverse collection of native plants, walking trails, picnic areas, and events of the gardens is completely free. And the gardens are easily accessible by public transport from your budget accommodation in Canberra, meaning you can visit without splurging on transport.


Hike nearby nature reserves

Image via Canberra Health Network


Canberra is home to many hiking trails that are free of charge, providing you with an opportunity to explore the city's natural beauty without digging deep into your back pocket. Unsure where to begin? Type these popular hiking trails in Canberra into your smartphone’s GPS - the Mount Majura Summit Walk, Mount Ainslie Summit Walk, Red Hill Nature Reserve, and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.


Discover Canberra’s street art scene

Image via The Canberra Times


Move over Melbourne; Canberra’s street art scene is a cool and free activity to enjoy. With a growing number of murals, installations, and public art pieces, a self-guided street art tour puts you in the driver’s seat to catch a glimpse of Canberra’s street culture and creative talent. Head toward the city’s Civic, Braddon and New Acton districts for a starting point.


Visit the Australian Parliament House

Image via TripAdvisor


A trip to Australia’s Parliament House makes the cut for budget-friendly things to do in Canberra. The free guided tours offer insights into the inner workings of the Australian Parliament, and if you time your visit well, you can witness live parliamentary debates in session. That aside, the building’s design, architecture and landscaping are worthy of a look and won’t cost you a cent.


Get thrifty at the Old Bus Depot Markets

Image via Old Bus Depot Market


If your trip to Canberra falls on a Sunday, wake up and head directly to the Old Bus Depot Markets. Located only a few minutes from the city centre, the markets are loaded with stalls selling fresh produce, hand-crafted wares, vintage clothing, and jewellery at reasonable prices. With a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, food stalls, live music and a sustainability focus, the Depot Markets are a great place to casually (and affordably) lose a few hours with family and friends on a Sunday.