We decided to take a quick trip down to Canberra and spend 4 days there during the New Year. We drove down using our Renault KOLEOS and the drive took about 3 hours and 29 minutes (including stops).

We rented an apartment in Canberra City (The Metropolitan – London Tower) and was in walking distance to most places. The apartment is a 1 bedroom with a sofa bed in the lounge room so it was perfect for the 4 of us. It also has an indoor gym and a lap pool. I managed to actually do so exercise (including my 5KM runs) during this short trip. Here are a few photos of the place:

The Gym was well equipped and had most exercise machines you would find in a typical gym. This included rowing machines, running machines, bicycles and step machines as well as different weight machines.

Overall, the place was great, comfortable and highly recommended.

Since we had a kitchen, my wife VegoMama cooked some vegan home meals:

On the first day, we decided to visit the local park Lake Burley Griffin and the surrounding area. Here are a few photos we took:

Take note of how clear the sky was as this quickly changed over the next few days.

On the second day, we decided to visit other outdoor places since we knew the air quality was going to get worse.

I decided to go for a quick morning run to Parliament House and back – a total of around 5.1km. There wasn’t a sidewalk or running path to the actual Parliament House building, so I decided to take a photo near the entrance to the ramp.

I was quite sweaty and upon return to the apartment, I took a quick shower and had cereal for breakfast.

One of the main reason for the trip was to visit 3 main attractions:

  • Australian Institute of Sport
  • Cockington Green Gardens
  • Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre

We ended up purchasing the family 3infun Canberra tickets which allows the family to visit these 3 attractions. We paid $131.20 (which includes 2 adults and 3 children) for the 3 attractions. NOTE: If you purchase the tickets online you receive a further discount – $138.00 without the online discount and it also included a Bonus Return Tickets which entitles the family to visit one of the 3 attractions again but you need to do this within a 12 month period since visiting all the three attractions.

Cockington Green Gardens

I visited Cockington Green in my younger years when we first arrived in Australia back in 1987. I can’t recall if the place has changed or not since my last visit but the kids loved seeing the miniature buildings and statues. Here are a few photos of the buildings:

National Arboretum Canberra

The next stop was the National Arboretum Canberra which has a nice playground for the kids. It’s free to visit and when you drive around you will get to see rare, endangered and symbolic trees from around Australia and the world. There was also the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection and saw lots of bonsai trees. Here are a few photos of the place and the playground:

Telstra Tower

We had a quick stop at the Telstra Tower but because of the Bushfire smoke and haze buildup, we were told the view at the top of the Telstra Tower was going to be disappointing. So we decided not to go up and save the money from entry cost (family pass for 2 adults and 2 children is $17).

Australian Institute of Sport

The next stop was the Australian Institute of Sports. Luckily is was mainly indoors as the temperature outdoors was getting warmer. For this attraction, you don’t need to book but they have sessions you need to attend as the AIS staff takes you around to see the different stadiums and where the athletes’ train.

The first stop was the Interactive centre and the kids loved this session as it was all interactive – you get to play games, bounce and kick balls. They even had a pull up challenge where you have to hold (chin above the bar) at the top of the pull up bar to see how long you last. I managed to hold the pull up for 60 seconds but could have probably gone longer as the screen was flashing and I thought that was the end of the session. Another guy came up to me and said I should have held it longer and would surpassed his time – he did 62 seconds. Anyways here’s a few photos of the Interactive centre:

We spent about 30 minutes in the Interactive centre and then headed out to the Stadiums. We got to walk around to all the different stadiums (basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, gym, swimming, boxing) and here are a few pictures:

Au Lac Vegan Cuisine Woden

After a day of being out and about, we went back to the apartment and the kids went for a swim whilst I did a quick gym session using weights. For dinner, we visited a Vegan restaurant based in Woden called Au Lac. We have previously eaten at the Au Lac Vegan Cuisine Dixon but was told the Woden one is just as good so we had to visit and we weren’t disappointed. The food was great and the service was quick.

For more photos check out the directory listing on Veggie Meals.

Canberra New Years Eve Fireworks

On the way back to the apartment it started to rain – the country needs the rain due to all the bushfires.

Now, unlike many of the other states, ACT decided not to have fireworks for NYE due to the total fire ban and I highly commend the local government for making this difficult decision. We didn’t stay up to watch the Sydney NYE fireworks and decided to have an early night.


On the third day, the kids were really excited because we planned to visit Questacon. The air pollution was pretty bad and apparently it was the highest ever recorded in ACT – (AQI rating level was over 900 which was classified as hazardous). For the rest of the trip we planned to visit places that were indoors and Questacon was one of them. We had fun at Questacon until their air pollution was so bad that they had to close. We only spent less than an hour in the building but we totally understand why they needed to close for the safety of the staff and the members they had to. Unfortunately, they made the hard decision to evacuate everyone and close the building. Anyways, for the time we were there, here are some of the photos we took:

For the rest of the day, we spent it at the apartment watching movies, going to the gym and swimming.

National Museum of Australia

On the last day, before we left ACT we decided to try our luck and visit the National Museum of Australia since Questacon was also closed on this day. Luckily it was open and the kids still had a fabulous time even though the air quality was still bad. We had to use face masks:

Entry to the National Museum of Australia is free but they do have paid exhibition events such as DreamWorks Animation and the VR experience. You can probably spend a few hours there and we recommend visiting this museum if you’re around the area:

The last stop we did before heading back to Sydney was eating lunch at Au Lac in Dickson.

The family still enjoyed the trip even with the bad air quality but in these situations, you can’t control the weather and surroundings. All we can do is reflect, appreciate what we have and have the empathy to those that are experiencing more difficult situations.

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