Driving in the Australian Capital Territory

Driving in the Australian Capital Territory

At just 2,358km2, you could do a lap of the Australian Capital Territory in one day, if the roads allowed it. But why would you? There’s plenty to discover, so take your time in driving around the ACT and enjoy the many treats on offer.

Your first stop on any driving holiday in the ACT should be Canberra. Here, you can pick from a groovy selection of hip hotels as your base, and then spend days exploring the nation’s capital. Parliament House is a must if you’re interested in democracy. Questacon if you love science. The National Gallery of Australia if art’s your thing. The Australian Institute of Sport if you love your sporting heroes. And the Australian War Memorial if you have an interest in the ANZACs.

If you l've a good drop, then a wine tour of the ACT is a great option. There are more than 30 cellar doors within the wine region—which is just 35 minutes from Canberra. A very relaxing weekend can be spent driving from cellar door to cellar door (with your designated driver, of course!) and sampling some exceptional wines.

Further afield, encounter spectacular wildlife at Namadgi National Park. A trip to this remote wilderness adds another layer to your driving holiday—bushwalking. There are extensive trails through the park that take you past swamp wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas, wombats, emus, pygmy possums and reptiles. You may also discover some Aboriginal rock art, a nod to the rich history of the Indigenous people here. 

There are other beautiful nature reserves to explore in the ACT, too. Tidbinbilla, Bimberi, the Corin Forest … pull out a map and start planning your adventure!

A driving holiday to Canberra is a great option if you live in Sydney or Melbourne. It’s only three hours from Sydney; seven from Melbourne. Once you’re there, you’ve got your own car and can explore at your leisure. Perfecto!

Checklist for driving in the ACT

Driving around the ACT is pretty easy. The trick is to pick your destinations and give yourself plenty of time to really enjoy them. Here are some tips to make your driving holiday as pleasant as can be:

  • Allow more time than you think you’ll need. You could easily spend a day at the National Gallery, for example.
  • Carry a current road map and check conditions. As you get into the High Country west of Canberra, snow can make an appearance in the colder months.
  • Driver reviver. If you’re coming from Sydney or Melbourne, give the driver a break every two hours.
  • Check your car before setting off. Make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip ahead—check tyres, water, oil and fuel. If you can, get your car serviced before you go.
  • Carry all the right gear. Spare tyres. Extra water. A compressor if you plan on 4WD-ing and letting air out of your tyres.
  • Carry a satellite phone or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) if you’re heading off on a big bushwalk at Namadgi.
  • Make sure your car insurance is up-to-date. Before you set off on an ACT road trip, check your car insurance policy. If you’re towing a caravan, you’ll want to make sure it’s insured too.

Then, hit the road and enjoy all the wonderful sights, tastes and treasures that the ACT has to offer.