A few weeks ago, the Wallace folk spent a lovely weekend in Canberra. We headed down the highway to play tourists while our floor was being sanded and polished.
Canberra is a fabulous place and there is plenty to do with kids. We were only in Canberra for a weekend, and we have multiple nap times to work around. There’s so much more we could do with more time. Here’s what the Wallace folk got up to in Canberra.
I lived in Canberra for four years and never went to Questacon. I never really had a reason to I suppose. While it’s a cliche, it really is THE thing to do in Canberra with kids. We all had a fabulous time. Our biggest boys (almost 5 and almost 3) found something to do in every ‘room’. Some of the highlights were the Whoosh exhibit in Excite@Q, its a network of wind tubes, you insert fabric scarves and see them whiz around. The boys were very excited to see where the scarves would come out. The biggest lad also loved the heart rate machine, which is a drum that beats in response to your heart rate. He adorably looked up at Mr Wallace and said, as the drum was beating ‘can you hear it? It’s my love’!
We spent the most time at ‘mini-Q’, a Custom-built area for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers up to 6 years old. The boys favourites were the mock building site, water play, and space play. Even the littlest lad got involved in the water play. The aprons provided were very helpful!
The middle lad and I had great fun mucking around with various poses on the Frozen Shadow display in Wonderworks. The boys were mesmerised by the machine that spun coffee cups up in the air. We visited Questacon on a Friday and spent about 3 hours there. We could easily have stayed longer and there were plenty of exhibits that we didn’t see. The parking was a breeze and cheap.
The War Memorial
Again, rather embarrassingly, prior to this visit to Canberra I had never been to the Australian War memorial. Turns out that it’s a fabulous place to visit with kids and it’s free! The boys were fascinated by the guns, the planes, the soldiers, all that war stuff really. I was surprised at their level of interest in the ‘traditional’ exhibits. The highlight was absolutely the Discovery Zone. The boys had a great time in the helicopter from the Vietnam War. The submarine from the Cold War era also kept them entertained, the draw with the ‘submarine smell’ was disgusting!
I’ll be frank, I had zero interest in visiting the War Memorial, it’s just not my thing. I was however pleasantly surprised, it’s really well laid out, plenty to interest kids and some of the stories along the way were fascinating.
We rugged the boys up and headed to Boundless Canberra, Canberra’s first all-abilities playground. They had such a great time gallivanting around the place they were stripping their coats off in minutes. It’s a great park located near the Carillion. It’s fully fenced, excellent if your child likes to bolt off.
We didn’t have a chance but the Canberra locals tell me that the playground at the National Arboretum is well worth a visit. Next time. As an aside, Canberra is known for its cold weather which might deter you from considering outdoor activities, but don’t be put off. While the days are crisp, they are clear and it rarely seems to rain. Layer up the family and you’ll all be absolutely fine in the great outdoors. When you are finished, you’ll really appreciate the warmth of a post-park coffee!
Where to stay
This trip we stayed at East Hotel. While it’s a little fancy, it is actually a fabulous hotel to stay with kids. It was our second stay at East and both trips we’ve found the staff to be very accommodating of our needs. We asked for a high chair in the room and within minutes it arrived. We ate breakfast at the hotel each morning and the boys loved it. The middle lad had a ‘thing’ for the pancakes and one morning ate four and then was very confused about where they had all gone. He refused to believe he’d eaten them all.
The location of East is great, very close to Kingston which is handy for takeaway dinner and a trip to Silo Bakery. Each room as a Nespresso coffee machine and our apartment had a kitchen meaning we could whip up dinner for the boys in our room, bonus!
That about captures our weekend in Canberra. There’s plenty more to do and see in Canberra with kids. We like to take a slower pace these days and work around naps where we can. If we had less need for naps we’d be able to cram a lot more into the weekend!
Mr Wallace and I do have a soft spot for Canberra and we were definitely day dreaming about returning!