The Best Gift Experiences in Canberra

A membership with the National Gallery of Australia is one of the best gift experiences you can give in Canberra. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Need a gift for someone who has everything? Why not give an experience gift they’ll never forget?

Gift giving can be a minefield but thankfully Canberra has heaps of quality experiences, for all types of personalities and interests and at a range of price points. Each is guaranteed to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Buying a gift experience is also easy and can usually be done online so it can save hours wandering from shop to shop trying to find something special to purchase.

In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a gift experience, and share where to find the best in Canberra.

What makes a great gift experience?

Choosing the perfect gift can be stressful and emotionally draining, but with an experience package you’re guaranteed to put a smile on the face of the person you care for.

It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing a great gift experience.

  • Interests. You’ll want to consider the personality of the person you’re buying an experience for. Are they adventurous? Romantic? A wine lover? Young at heart? Once you’ve nailed this down, you can zero in on the types of gift experiences to consider. And, remember, it’s not about what you like, but what they like.
  • Budget. Gift experiences vary a great deal in price, with some under $50 and some in the hundreds. Consider your budget when thinking about a gift experience and stick to it.
  • Timing. It’s best to explore if the gift experience has restrictions that might prevent usage. For example, are there time restrictions that might not suit the person your treating? An expiry date that won’t work for their schedule?
  • Past experience. Especially with experience gifts at the upper end of the market, you’ll want to ensure the person you’re giving the gift to hasn’t already done the same thing or something similar.
  • Limitations. You’ll want to consider how many people are included in the gift experience and what that means for the person you’re buying for. The last thing you may want is for them to have to experience the gift by their lonesome self or pressure someone else to pay to join them.

The best gift experiences in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

National Gallery of Australia

National Gallery of Australia

Art lovers can’t get enough of the National Gallery of Australia (NGA), the country’s leading arts institution. NGA experiences include special tours of the gallery itself and of individual exhibitions. Private group tours cover collections, exhibitions and special topics.

Since the NGA opened to the public in 1982, it has continued to develop new ways to engage audiences through its artistic, educational and public programs. The collection has almost 160,000 works of art, including the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and Australia’s pre-eminent collection of modern international art.

A perfect experience gift that lasts and lasts is an NGA membership, with various categories and lengths of memberships available. Being an NGA Member offers access to so many experiences – free exhibition tickets, discounted tickets, invitations to members’ exhibition opening parties, 10 per cent discount at the NGA’s shops and cafes, delivery of quarterly NGA printed magazine, Artonview, entry to the Members Lounge and much more.

Nicole Jayne wrote on Google, “I visited the NGA over the weekend and was thoroughly surprised by the size of their collection. They have a large range of artworks and I was impressed by their selection of Aboriginal art.”

Parkes Place
Parkes ACT 1000

National Zoo and Aquarium

The National Zoo and Aquarium has many day gift experiences, including guests getting up close and personal with some of the world’s most amazing creatures. With the “Encounter” series, guests experience feeding animals, including a tiger or white lion . “Meet a Cheetah”, being a zookeeper for a day and overnight packages at Jamala Wildlife Lodge are other experiences.

Aditya Kumar wrote on Google, “I have lived in seven different countries and visited plenty of zoos all over the world, but this is one of my favourite ones!”

GoBoat Canberra

With GoBoat Canberra, guests sail along Lake Burley Griffin and experience Canberra from a different perspective. Up to eight people can fit in the easy-to-navigate electric boats. Training for navigating the boats is provided (no license or experience required) and so too is safety equipment. Book a one-hour ride or stay on the lake for up to six hours. Sailing available until sunset.

Rhys Bailey wrote on Google, “Great fun! The staff were really friendly and explained everything very clearly.”

Lake George Winery

Wine tasting and vine-to-wine tours are great gift experiences for wine lovers. Lake George Winery offers both. Wine tasting is of the vineyard’s award-winning wines. With vine-to-wine, guests join owner Sara and journey through the vineyard, then to the winery to see where it all happens. They finish in the wine cellar with a wine tasting experience.

On Google, Amber Sinclair wrote, “Had a lovely wine tasting followed by a delicious platter by the fireplace. Highly recommend.”

Balloon Aloft Canberra

Award-winning Balloon Aloft has been taking guests on spectacular balloon rides over Canberra for more than 30 years. Fully qualified and certified pilots provide comprehensive training on the ground before the balloons rise and float across the capital’s amazing landscape. Breakfast flights are popular and so is the “Romantic Package for 2.”

On Google, Damien Gallagher wrote “Our group had a fantastic time on the balloon … Staff were incredibly friendly which really enhanced our overall experience.”

Jet Flight Simulator

Thrill seekers and aviation buffs will get their adrenaline pumping by being a pilot and flying a large commercial jet with Jet Flight Simulator Canberra. Escaping into the virtual world of flight is a fabulous experience gift. No previous flight experience needed. Jet Flight Simulator is operated by qualified instructors.

On Google, Rachelle Griffin wrote, “Such a unique gift! My partner absolutely loved it. Would definitely recommend, the owners are very personable and had great stories!”

Dendy Cinemas Canberra

Movie experiences are super special with Dendy Cinemas’ exclusive Premium Lounge experience. Movie goers collect their tickets at the lounge with the seasonal gourmet food bar. Once inside the theatre, guests enjoy in-cinema catering in luxurious recliners and indulge in a full-serviced, cinema experience.

William Joesfh wrote on Google, “One cannot go past this movie theatre, without having enjoyed their Premium Lounge Experience. Extra comfy seating to be totally immersed in being entertained with superb eating choices.”

If you’re looking for more information on gift giving in Canberra, you might like our articles on the best places to buy gifts, the best gift baskets and the best florists around town.

Your experience with gift experiences in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you bought or used any of the gift experiences listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.


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