There is so much on this weekend we had to make some tough calls to put this list together. You could spend a day of beautiful garden wandering at The Tuliptop Gardens Festival, learn about bonsai-keeping with the Canberra Bonsai Society, or kick back to Mental As Anything at the Gundaroo Music Festival. Other top picks include Sunday’s Tidbinbilla Extravaganza and Imaginarium Family Day at the National Library.
The annual Extravaganza at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is a day of free entertainment featuring live music, indigenous activities, a reptile display, pelican feeding, pioneer games and ranger-guided walks at the park just south of Canberra. The action takes place between 10am-4pm on Sunday. This video promoting the event will get you into the mood for hanging out with the kangaroos and koalas.
The Tuliptop Gardens Festival
The spectacular floral displays at Tuliptop Gardens include ten acres of tulips, daffodils and other spring flowers. The blossom trees provide a magical pathway to a picturesque waterfall and watercourse. The gardens are 15 minutes from Canberra on the Federal Highway. Pack a picnic and a bottle of Canberra region wine.
My Cubby House Rocks auction
My Cubby House Rocks is an annual charity event showcasing five designer cubby houses created by Canberra’s leading builders and developers. You can view the cubbies at Floriade anytime but if you want to buy one, you’ll need to register to bid at the auction on Saturday at 12.30pm. Four are available at auction, with the fifth up for grabs in a raffle to be drawn just before the auction.
Wetlands Discovery Tour
Join a ranger for a tour of the Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve to learn about this refuge for migrating birds from the northern hemisphere and inland Australia. The tour is suited to children 8 and over and runs on Saturday from 10am at the reserve near Fyshwick. You’ll need sturdy shoes, a hat and a water bottle. Book tickets through Eventbrite.
Imaginarium Family Day
The National Library of Australia is hosting this literary fun day in association with Libraries ACT and Scrabble ACT. Explore 3D printing and 3D pens; watch ACT Scrabble’s grand final with the capital’s wordsmiths; meet local children’s authors Pauline Deeves, Stephanie Owen Reeder and Tania McCartney. The event runs on Sunday from 1pm-4pm. Book your tickets through the NLA website.
Book launch: In Yer Face: The Bald Archy Prize
Head to Paperchain in Manuka this Sunday for the launch of In Yer Face: The Bald Archy Prize. Created in 1994 as a spoof of that more serious portrait competition, the Archibald, the Bald Archy provides artists of all styles and standards, from the hilarious to the bizarrely vulgar, with the chance to create portrait paintings of humour, dark satire, light comedy or caricature. In Yer Face describes the evolution of the Bald Archys and in an essay, ‘The Fine Art of Disrespect’, gives satirical portraiture its place in art. Arrive at Paperchain at 2.45pm for 3pm.
Festival Indonesia 2015 at the Indonesian Embassy is suitable for all ages. There are Indonesian food and craft stalls, music, dance, cultural exhibition and games for kids. Ring a picnic and settle in on the Embassy’s beautiful lawn while enjoying the festival between 11am and 4pm. The event is part of Windows on the World, a month-long festival of embassy and high commission open days that wraps up on Sunday. Other embassies open this weekend include those of Belgium, Greece, Korea and Bosnia. A full list and booking details are available at http://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/windows/
Canberra Bonsai Society Annual Show
Head to Canberra Grammar School in Red Hill this weekend to view some beautiful bonsai as cultivated by Canberra Bonsai Society members and artists represented at the National Arboretum. Both traditional exotic plant species and Australian species will be displayed. For a small entry fee, you can also see demonstration sessions and Bonsai Basics sessions. The show is on both Saturday and Sundayfrom 9am to 5pm.
Highland Gathering and Scottish Fair Day
Enjoy a day of traditional Scottish events and activities including pipe band competitions, massed bands displays, a highland dancing competition, Scottish food and market stalls, Scottish heavy athletics events such as caber tossing (in which in which competitors toss a large tapered pole called a caber), clan displays and performances by Scottish Country Dance groups. On Saturday, at Kambah Oval, from 10am until 5pm.
Perception Deception (Questacon)
Questacon’s yearlong exhibition Perception Deception comes to a close this weekend. This is a family-friendly exhibition that reveals how our brains process information from our senses to form our perceptions of the world around us. Open 9am – 5pm both Saturday and Sunday.
Scott 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championships
Head to Stromlo Forest Park to see adrenaline pumping as hundreds of mountain bikers from all over the country compete in teams or individually in this high-stamina event. If your little bikers are keen to be part of it, they can sign up for the 24 minute kids race in age categories from under-5s on balance bikes to under-14s.
Gundaroo Music Festival
Mental As Anything is the headline act for this year’s Gundaroo Music Festival, which runs from 10am on Saturday. There are a dozen musical acts scheduled to run for 12 hours straight, complemented by food, wine and handcrafts stalls and topped off with a fireworks show. Buses run from Epic to the festival every hour and a half.
The Big Draw: Portrait Puzzle Tale
This week’s The Big Draw event asks ‘What is your tale?’ It’s a giant puzzle-making activity in which your creation may be inspired by your favourite tale or an invention of your own. At the National Portrait Gallery on Sunday from 11am to 2pm.
Art of Nature exhibition at Floriade
This exhibition opened on Monday at the Inspiration Hub at Floriade and features over 90 original artworks inspired by nature. If you needed another reason to visit Floriade this season, this is it. Don’t forget that Floriade closes on Sunday.
Old Bus Depot Markets: Retro Depot
This Sunday the Old Bus Depot Markets transform into Retro Depot, a celebration of all things retro cool. Browse fashion, homewares, furniture, jewellery and accessories that are all designed to push your ‘groove button’.
Italian Film Festival
Palace Electric’s annual festival of Italian cinema finishes up on Sunday evening with a closing night screening of the digitally restored new release of The Conformist at 6.30pm. Nominated for the Best Film Oscar in 1970, the film was directed by the great Bernardo Bertolucci (The Last Emperor, Last Tango in Paris). The Village Voice described it as “an orgasm of coolness”. We like the look of Wondrous Boccacio (1.45pm Saturday) and A Fairytale Wedding (2.30pm Sunday) too.
That’s a wrap for this weekend’s events. Make it a good one.