Canberra Photo Spots
Built halfway between Sydney and Melbourne and inaugurated in 1913, the planned city of Canberra was designed to be the capital of Australia, but it’s much more than that. “The Bush City,” as it’s affectionately called, sits in the Australian Capital Territory within New South Wales (NSW) and is surrounded by stunning nature reserves populated by exuberant wildlife, including, of course, kangaroos. Its city centre is bathed by Lake Burley Griffin and surprises visitors by being dynamic, multicultural and very artsy. From the insta-worthy central business district to the rolling hills that cradle the city, there are countless wonderful places to take photos in Canberra.
Here at Flytographer, we easily connect people with trusted photographers for fun photo shoots, and we have captured over three million memories worldwide. Today, we asked our local photographers in Canberra to show us around all the best spots for pictures. Here are the top five places to take photos in Canberra. 🇦🇺
- Queen Elizabeth Terrace: this short road with beautiful lake views is near many of Canberra’s best attractions.
- Garema Place: Canberra’s beating heart and a favorite meeting point for all crowds.
- Canberra City Street Art: the capital’s colorful street art murals are an ever-changing public gallery.
- The National Arboretum: head to nature in what’s considered Canberra’s best tourist attraction.
- Commonwealth Park: an outdoor playground that’s a feast for the eyes and the stage of a giant flower festival.
1. Queen Elizabeth Terrace
Running alongside the main foreshore of the much-loved Lake Burley Griffin, Queen Elizabeth Terrace is a short road surrounded by beautiful attractions. Stroll at your own pace and admire the dazzling lake views framed by beautiful trees. Look to the other side and you’ll get to name some of the flags of the nations that maintain a good relationship with Australia. There are 96 of them lined up in the International Flag Display.
A few steps from Queen Elizabeth Terrace is Commonwealth Place, a grassy area with a stunning view of the very solemn Australian War Memorial. Aussies love to flock to the lawn for picnics on weekends and holidays. Follow the central walkway toward the open tunnel that cuts through the hill for more photo ops and some stunning open vistas of the Parliament House. While in the area, pay a visit to the National Gallery of Australia and check the social media hit, Skyspace, a permanent art installation by American artist, James Turrell. The work comprises a chamber sitting in the gallery’s atmospheric garden and makes for an unusually romantic spot, particularly during dawn and dusk when the natural light uniquely penetrates the structure, creating a true spectacle. That’s when you can nail the perfect shot. 📸
2. Garema Place
If you want to know where the locals mingle and gather, head to Garema Place in the city’s Civic District. Known as “Canberra’s living room,” this bustling outdoor area is filled with charming cafes, restaurants and boutiques. Look around for the famous silver sculpture of a pillow to snag a selfie with it. It should be pretty easy to find; this is one of the most renowned gathering points in town for all crowds, from sports buffs to punk rockers. 🤘
From Garema Place, explore the nearby City Walk, a pedestrian street lined with shops. That’s where you’ll find the Canberra Carousel, a photogenic sight and a bit of good old nostalgia right in the city centre. The street is also home to the legendary Monaro Mall, Australia’s first fully enclosed, air-conditioned shopping mall. Built in the 1960s, Monaro Mall remains a beloved retail destination. Its facade and beautiful arcade still contain traces of the original architecture and are lovely backdrops for pics.
While in the area, don’t miss the Sydney and Melbourne buildings, two historical houses built in the early days of Canberra’s history. Both buildings display charming architecture and colonnades influenced by the Renaissance style common in Italian cities which makes some of the best places to take photos in Canberra. Around the corner sits the chic Verity Lane Market, a great place to end your day in style with a delicious drink in your hand. 🍸
3. Canberra City Street Art
Besides remarkable art installations, Canberra boasts an extra splash of colour through the fantastic street art that covers the once-forgotten walls of the city. Following a progressive policy toward graffiti art, the local government designated approximately 30 spots scattered around town for street artists and collectives to create large and mesmerizing murals. 🎨 You know what that means: a plethora of unique backdrops for your photos. No two murals are the same; each is unique, reflecting the signature styles of artists from all around the world. The best part? They change all the time, so you get to see something new each time you visit.
One of the best spots for street art in town is Tocumwal Lane, a narrow alley covered with incredible murals. Walk all the way toward the car park for the best spot, where you’ll be surrounded by murals on all sides. Elsewhere in town, at Woden Town Square, an ultra-colourful mural by the Happy Decay takes over another vast wall and has become one of the city’s most Instagrammable places. Around Woden Town Square, you’ll find even more street art, so be sure to explore every bit of the area to find some hidden treasures. 😉
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4. The National Arboretum
Often listed as the best attraction in Canberra, the National Arboretum spans an area of about 250 hectares and is home to a whopping 40 thousand species of rare and endangered trees. This enormous park offers many activities and plenty of photogenic spots. One of them is the beautiful visitor centre, with impressive architecture and breathtaking views. This should be the starting point for your visit. From there, you can further explore the park’s many trails, scenic picnic areas and panoramic lookouts.
At the Dairy Farmers Hill Lookout, for instance, you’ll get the most glorious views of Canberra with a bonus: the iconic Telstra Tower composing the picture. The Himalayan Cedar Lookout is another must-see spot offering dazzling nature views and one of the best places to take photos in Canberra. The path leading to it continues winding through the majestic trees of the Himalayan Cedar Forest. That’s where you’ll find the Wide Brown Land Sculpture, a 35-meter-long artwork formed of words in cursive style. The challenge is to decipher what it says. Around the area, you’ll also find picnic tables and free electric barbeques. Can you think of a better place for a proper Australian “barbie”? 🥓
There is much more to do in the National Arboretum, like admiring the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia, a pavilion displaying a wide variety of native and traditional bonsai. Another fun activity is to explore the Forest Sculpture Gallery, a collection of sculptures set among the trees and gardens. You can look for them while exploring other spectacular trails, an experience that’s both soul-soothing and scenic.
For more of the same natural bliss, visit the National Botanic Gardens in the suburb of Acton, another unmissable park with spectacular flora and chill-out vibes. 😌
5. Commonwealth Park
On the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra’s Commonwealth Park is known for being the city’s central outdoor playground. The park’s pristine lawns are ideal for picnics and enjoying a day out. Among the trees, a few ponds add to the place’s beauty. Walking around the park, you’ll get some of the best views of Lake Burley Griffin, and since this is the arty Canberra, there are more public sculptures and art installations here and there.
Everything gets even more lively during the spring when Commonwealth Park serves as a stage for the Floriade, a flower festival that is a total feast for the eyes. The tulips are by far the biggest hit among visitors, but the natural display includes a mind-boggling variety of flowers, painting the park in every hue you can think of. The festival also has performances, concerts and food stalls, which makes for a fantastic celebration of springtime. 🌷
From Commonwealth Park, you can head to the National Museum of Australia, which is just a stone’s throw away and one of the best places to take photos in Canberra. In addition to the stunning architecture, there’s no better place to learn about the rich and diverse history of Australia. Also near the park is the National Carillon, another architectural marvel, a brutalist bell tower rising just beside the lake that makes for a great photo background. 🔔
Capturing memories in Canberra
There are plenty of other things to do and see in Canberra. For more architecture and enriching experiences, stop by the Old Parliament House, a National Heritage-listed building that once served as the seat of the Australian Parliament and today houses the Museum of Australian Democracy. For the more adventurous, the Namadgi National Park and Gibraltar Falls are excellent off-the-beaten-path sites that are just a short drive from the city.
To make the most of your visit to the Australian capital, book one of our local Flytographers and let them show you around the city while capturing all the magic it has to offer. ✨
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