10 ways to cool off in Canberra this summer

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Do you need a respite from a hot summer day?

From forest bathing to floating on a lilo down the Murrumbidgee River, we’ve put together the hottest list to keep your body temperature down – and the chill out factor high – this summer season.

Go for a forest bath

With more than 44,000 trees planted across its 250-acre grounds, the National Arboretum Canberra is the perfect place to enjoy the fresh air from the shady comforts of magnificent tree species.

Sit back and relax (or read your favorite book) under the oak, pine and more canopy while avoiding the heat and inhaling the wonderful scent of nature.

More than trees: There are also several designated barbecue areas with stunning views of Canberra, the famous POD children’s playground, Bonsai Garden and Conservatory Restaurant, Arboretum Cafe plus The Curatoreum gift shop where treasures await.

Take a dip in an art deco pool

The highly acclaimed Manuka Pool was Canberra’s first public swimming pool and offers shady places under trees on grassy areas where you can relax, as well as a children’s pool and a kiosk.

More than a dip: Manuka Pool features a selection of Canberra history that opened in 1931. Fans of art deco will love the aesthetics of the pool and its building, which has undergone significant renovation in recent years in keeping with its heritage, including tiles taken from

Breweries, crews and great tunes

Take some friends and head out to Capital Brewing Co for a naughty drink and a bite to eat at Brodburger. Choose to sit indoors in the air-con or outdoors in the covered area, listen to some good music and enjoy the fun atmosphere while the friendly staff takes care of you. It is popular especially on weekends, so be sure to book in advance.

More than craft beer: If craft beer is not for you, there are some great apple ciders and ginger beers on tap. And all drinks are best enjoyed with a famous Brodburger. And nearby are some great places for kids at heart, such as Vertical Indoor Snow Sports and the Bloc Haus Bouldering Center.

A foggy ride

Be sure to pack a camera as you stroll through the Rainforest Gully at the beautiful Australian National Botanic Garden. Let the soothing and rejuvenating atmosphere of Gully transport you into a world of peace and quiet while admiring the greenery and wildlife around you.

More than nature: The garden is just minutes away from the CBD, admission is free, and Hampton’s inspired Pollen Cafe is a must after exploring the rest of the gardens, which have just celebrated 50 years. Relax further with a Jindi Eco Spa visit for a little pampering.

Float along the Murrumbidgee River

Swimming in the Murrumbidgee River is a favorite with locals and one of the easiest and cheapest ways to cool off. Canberra is fortunate to have 66km of river for swimming, kayaking, fishing, camping, barbecuing and of course floating lilo. A blow-up flamingo is optional.

More than one swimming pool: There are plenty of designated places along Murrumbidgee that you can enjoy from the Cotter Recreation Area, to Uriarra Crossing, Kambah Pool, Pine Island and Angle Crossing.

If you are going for a walk, the Murrumbidgee Discovery Track is recommended.

Splish, plash, splash obstacle fun

Climb, glide, jump and splash your way through the giant inflatable obstacle course on Lake Burley Griffin. Canberra Aqua Park returns this summer with its slides and ladders so you can conquer … and plunge into the lake’s cool, refreshing waters.

Even better – Book with a group and take the challenge directly with friends and family for a healthy competition.

More than a slip and slide: While in the Black Mountain Peninsula area, you can enjoy the playground and barbecue facilities. Or take a sneaky jog around the opposite side of the lake to the Yarralumla Turkish Halal Pide House to get one of Canberra’s best kebabs.

Walk on the water

Try your balance with stand-up paddleboarding. Situated on the beautiful Lake Burley Griffin at Yarralumla Bay, enjoy the views and sounds of the heart of Canberra while basking in the sun (with a hat and SPF!).

With the current health restrictions, you’ll have to set up a group booking to rent from The Paddle Hub, so bring some friends and take a ride!

More than a paddle: A little too adventurous? Another way to glide on top of the lake is with a lake cruise. Lake Burley Griffin Cruises and Southern Cross Cruises both offer a more relaxed view of the lake while enjoying the sights.

Fun in water park

Canberra’s Big Splash Water Park is the place where you can burn off some energy. With a number of slides, a 50-meter pool and children’s pool, this is a great place to cool off. There are plenty of shady trees to relax under both by the pool, which was formerly known by the locals as the ‘Jammo Pool’.

More than a north side icon: Big Splash is not the only icon in the suburb of Jamison. Treat yourself nearby to Ricardo’s, which specializes in inventive, colorful sweet treats.

Movies and chill

Enjoy the cool hug from the air-conditioning system while sitting back, eating snacks and enjoying a good movie in the city center at either the Palace Electric Cinema (in NewActon) or Dendy Cinemas (Canberra Center).

In the suburbs, Limelight (Tuggeranong) and Hoyts (Woden, Belconnen) offer a respite from the heat. For a casual view of movies, the Australian National Botanic Gardens is hosting the Sunset Cinema over the summer.

More than one flick: The Palace’s Prosecco Bar serves local wine (hi Clonakilla Shiraz), cheese plates and more to take to the cinema, while Dendy Premium offers a range of food and beverage options that you can enjoy during your movie.

Sculpture garden at NGA

Take time to wander around the National Gallery of Australia’s sculpture garden at the National Gallery of Australia.

Fujiko Nakaya’s fog sculpture Foggy wake in a desert: An ecosphere is in operation 12.30 – 14.00 daily, with its misty eruption guaranteed for a cooling effect.

More than famous artists: See the artwork, remember the artist’s name. The unique Know My Name: Australian women artists 1900 to now exhibition takes over a large space inside the gallery.

Be sure to order!

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