29 December 2022

Things to do and see these holidays

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Questacon’s Australia in Space exhibition is now showing. Photo: Questacon.

Staying in Canberra and looking to find the best places to take your family these holidays?

Look no further – here’s your guide with some of our favourite places to visit around the capital this holiday season.


WHO ARE YOU features 130 works exploring inner worlds, outer selves, intimacy and more. Maria, 1986 (printed 2013). Photo: Michael Riley.

WHO ARE YOU: Australian Portraiture

When: Daily, until Sunday 29 January 2023
Where: National Portrait Gallery, King Edward Terrace, Parkes
How much: Free entry.

Merging the traditional and unconventional, WHO ARE YOU: Australian Portraiture is a co-curated combination of collections from the National Gallery of Victoria and the National Portrait Gallery. Featuring 130 works across painting, film, photography, screen printing, sculpture and then some – it explores our inner worlds, outer selves, intimacy, isolation, celebrity and more.

You’ll see artists such as Patricia Piccinini, Atong Atem, Howard Arkley, Vincent Namatjira, John Nixon and Tracey Moffatt. Think superstar sitters like Albert Namatjira, Cate Blanchett, Queen Elizabeth II, David Gulpilil and Jeff the Wiggle.

From head and shoulders to shape and text, this exhibition will have you thinking about the ever-evolving and ever-expanding idea of portraiture.

Click here to see what other collections are on display at the National Portrait Gallery.

Paintings in gallery

The Mabo v Queensland (No. 2). Photo: National Library of Australia.

National Library of Australia

When: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm
Where: Parkes Place, Canberra
How much: Free.

If you’re in the mood to check out some great and free exhibitions and galleries, there’s the Mabo v Queensland (No. 2): 30th Anniversary exhibition, the Kenneth Rowell: Designer for the Stage exhibition, the Treasures Gallery as well as the Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now exhibition.

Elvis movie costumes

Pieces from the Elvis collection. Photo: Evelyn Karatzas.

Australians and Hollywood Exhibition

When: Sunday to Thursday, 10 am to 4 pm. Fridays, 10 am to 8 pm (closed New Year’s Day)
Where: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, McCoy Cct, Acton
How much: Tickets are from $11.50 and can be purchased here.

Come and explore the unseen treasures of Australian cinema right here in the capital.

At the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, you’ll get to discover how home-grown talents have re-defined the big screen and have been embraced all around the globe.

One of their latest and greatest exhibitions now on display is Australians & Hollywood. The Canberra-exclusive exhibition celebrates iconic moments in contemporary Australian film and the people and stories that brought them to life.

Some of the highlights worth visiting include seeing the spectacular costumes from Elvis, Moulin Rouge! and The Sapphires.

Moon Gallery at Questacon

Come and check out the moon gallery at Questacon. Photo: Questacon.

Under the Moon at Questacon

When: Daily, 9 am to 5 pm
Where: Gallery 8, Questacon, King Edward Terrace, Parkes
How much: Adult $24.50, concession and child (four to 16 years) $18.90, family (two adults, up to three children) $73.40, under 4s free. Book here (special ticketed events sold separately).

Questacon’s Under the Moon gallery is now open daily for all visitors.

A large, suspended moon sculpture is the centrepiece of a room where you can discover how First Nations peoples have used the Moon for keeping time and forecasting weather, see the earliest Moon maps and delve into Moon stories from around the world.

There’s also Questacon’s latest Cyber Castle Challenge game, which is now available to play, the Awesome Earth exhibit, the Australia in Space exhibit, the Born or Built? Our Robotic Future exhibit, the Science Garden display and more are waiting to be explored at Questacon. Click here to see all the latest exhibitions.

woman standing in art gallery

Cressida Campbell with works at the National Gallery. Photo: Supplied.

National Gallery of Australia

When: Daily, 10 am to 5 pm
Where: National Gallery of Australia
How much: Free entry, ticketed events from $6 per person, and can be purchased here.

The National Gallery of Australia is the perfect place to take your family over the Christmas/ New Year’s break for fun and free exhibitions.

Now showing at the Gallery are exhibitions including Cressida Campbell, Rauschenberg & Johns: significant others, The Aboriginal Memorial, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Worldwide and Australian Art.

Some exhibits are ticketed. To view all exhibitions and projects on offer at the Gallery, see What’s On.

Queen of the Night relief

Queen of the Night relief from Iraq. Photo: National Museum of Australia.

Feared and Revered: Feminine Power through the Ages

When: Daily, 9 am to 5 pm
Where: National Museum of Australia, Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula
How much: $25 adult, $20 concession, $12.50 child (5–16 years), $62.50 family, museum friend, $17.50. Book here.

The National Museums’ latest exhibit, Feared and Revered: Feminine Power through the Ages, is now open to the public to come and visit.

This exhibit features more than 160 pieces from the British Museum, spanning six continents and 5,000 years, from 2800 BCE to the present day.

It further explores how goddesses, demons, witches, spirits and saints have shaped our understanding of the world, highlighting the many faces of feminine power – ferocious, beautiful and creative, and its influence throughout the ages.

If you want to check out some other great exhibits while visiting, check out the National Museum of Australia.

New Year's Eve fireworks along Lake Burley Griffin

New Year’s Eve fireworks along Lake Burley Griffin. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

New Year’s Eve by the Lake

When: Saturday 31 December, from 6 pm to 12 am
Where: Civic Square

There’s no better way to welcome the new year than to watch the fireworks as the clock strikes 12.

The fireworks are back at Lake Burley Griffin, and in the lead-up, there will be DJs playing music, food trucks and various entertainment happening all around the city.

There will also be two fireworks locations, in the central and east basins, and a firework show at 9 pm for kids and younger families to enjoy.

To find out what else is on this New Year in the capital, click here.

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