Canberra has a reputation as a working city, where life tends to revolve around the office and cultural activites. As any local will tell you, that reputation isn't exactly deserved. There's plenty going on in Australia's capital, from the Floriade flower festival to the constant stream of exhibitions at the National Gallery and the bohemian vibe in New Action.
Then again, with so much natural beauty in the nearby area, even the most ardent Canberra partisan feels the need to get out of the city every now and then. Here are some ideas for outdoor activities around the Canberra area that can recharge your batteries.
Lace Up Your Hiking Boots
There are plenty of easy trails around the lakes in town, but for the best views and more demanding routes, it's best to take a short drive to Bullen Range Nature Reserve. The fire trail from Tidbinbilla to Stromlo is a great path to follow, with the added bonus of being able to visit the koalas, platypuses and kangaroos at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve before you set out.
Soar Over the ACT by Trying Hang Gliding
You don't need to stay rooted on the ground to enjoy the outdoors. In fact, Canberra is seen as one of Australia's best locations for wind sports like hang gliding and paragliding. You can catch a range of different wind directions at sites like Lake George or Spring Hill, both of which are less than 30 minutes from the city centre.
Go Underground at Carey's Cave
If heights aren't your thing, what about descending underneath the Canberra region? Wee Jasper in nearby NSW has one of the most accessible and beautiful cave systems anywhere in Australia. Recently, the caves have also capitalised on their amazing acoustics, hosting classical music concerts, while geology geeks can take part in fossil hunting workshops as well.
Kayaking on Lake Burrinjuck
Then there are water sports. Canberra is one of those rare cities with large lakes within the city limits. However, while renting a boat or paddling a canoe on Lake Burley Griffin is fine, it's much more rewarding to purchase a kayak in Canberra, strap it to a trailer or the roof of your car and head to Lake Burrinjuck. Created by the Burrinjuck Dam, the lake is absolutely stunning. You can kayak, fish, play volleyball or even try the frisbee golf course, and be back in Canberra within an hour.
Whatever your passions, the area around Canberra offers a huge range of activities for outdoor recreation. Whether you choose to purchase a kayak from a place like Wetspot Water Sports, descend into caverns, soar over the region or just take a stroll in the hills, there's never an excuse to be stuck in the city if you feel the need for some fresh air.