We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Autumn a bit dreary - go in Spring”
Review of National Arboretum

National Arboretum
Ranked #1 of 2 things to do in Weston
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The National Arboretum Canberra is a 250-hectare (618 acre) arboretum in Canberra, the national capital of Australia, created after the area was burned out as a result of the Christmas 2001[1] and 2003 Canberra bushfires:[2] The Himalayan Cedar forest lost about one third of its trees, and the commercial Radiata Pine plantation was burned out, allowing the arboretum to be created. In 2004, the Government of the Australian Capital Territory held a nationwide competition for an arboretum, which was to be part of the recovery from the 2003 bushfires. The winning design by landscape architects Taylor Cullity Lethlean and architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer proposed 100 forests and 100 gardens focussing on threatened, rare, and symbolic trees from around the world. The site has been planted since 2005, and includes ceremonial trees planted by visiting heads of government and ambassadors. It was officially opened in February 2013.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Food available for purchase, Lockers / storage, Stroller parking, Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children, Wheelchair access
Reviewed August 10, 2017

This "new" attraction has taken the site partly covered previously by Stromlo Forest, which was a major victim of the 2003 Firestorm which engulfed this area of Canberra. The view over the Aboretum is through floor to ceiling windows overlooking the city. Unfortunately, going in winter, the immediate view is of "dead" trees - but Spring is almost upon us and I'm sure the area will be beautified once the spring blossoms appear on the trees - (I hope!). There had been a brief glimpse of Autumn colours a few months ago but they quickly disappeared. It is possible to join a free guided tour, and there is a children's adventure playground (although I did notice on a visit in summer, there were warning signs to keep an eye out for snakes!)The restaurant/gift shop area is spacious but gifts expensive as is usual with this type of attraction. I've been here a couple of times for lunch and the range of food choices is wide. The restaurant has 2 areas - the expensive restaurant side and a cafeteria side. I've only eaten in the latter where there are lunch specials for $12. As is becoming the norm at attractions in Canberra, it is paid parking, $2.10 an hour with a maximum of $7.80. however the overflow carpark is free, but further to walk.
Personally, I would recommend the National Botanic Gardens a little further down the road, in preference to the Arboretum, unless you're a tree-hugger, of course.......

Thank eillamo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (1,106)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More languages
All reviews
"bonsai collection"
in 89 reviews
"trees grow"
in 39 reviews
"pod playground"
in 53 reviews
"children's playground"
in 43 reviews
"village centre"
in 30 reviews
"main building"
in 48 reviews
"great playground"
in 23 reviews
"cork oak"
in 12 reviews
"bush fires"
in 24 reviews
"gift shop"
in 53 reviews
"paid parking"
in 25 reviews
"information centre"
in 14 reviews
"walking trails"
in 13 reviews
"great coffee"
in 15 reviews
"coffee and cake"
in 11 reviews
"great views of canberra"
in 14 reviews
"great place to visit"
in 22 reviews

169 - 173 of 1,106 reviews

Reviewed August 10, 2017

Great panoramic views of Canberra. Give yourself a few hours to explore and make sure you see the various sculptures and bonsai. Close by are the cork plantations (really worth a visit particularly if the sun is shinning brightly) and the National Zoo and Aquarium. I you are a cyclist it is worth the effort and make sure you enjoy a ride around the lake and see the Governor General's house on your way back.

Thank 914peterjones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2017

The big trees are still small, but they are already looking great especially in spring and autumn. The hidden treasure is the wonderful display of bonsai trees located in the main centre building. The centre overlooks the new young forests and beyond to the lake and Canberra. Behind the centre is one of the best playgrounds that will thrill your younger children

Thank Bruce H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2017 via mobile

Unfortunately the day we decided to visit the National Arboretum it was cold & drizzley. Regardless we had a great couple of hours exploring the grounds, the amazing bonsai display & drinking hot chocolates in the gorgeous main building. They also have a really fabulous playground. Love the idea of creating a place for all people to enjoy the outdoors & a real symbol of healing for Canberra after all this land was burnt out pine forest in the terrible bushfires that swept through the city several years ago. Wish the weather was a bit more obliging but we still had a great time.

Thank AWTYblogger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
See more reviews
Reviewed August 9, 2017 via mobile

Took ourselves to Dairyman's Hill at the top of the Arboretum and walked the top circuit on a chilly bright day, and got an unexpected insight into west-facing Canberra. The path, maybe 3 -4k, is clear and easy to traverse, and surprising. The Brindabellas, always intense blue (though by now, after a v cold August bast) probably sporting a white beret), were superb, and one could see the workings of the Arboretum. Huge mounds of soil, water tanks, in the pit below. Impressive. The new development at Molonglo is also visible. Don't you love the systematic suburb-building in ACT. One at a time, please, and let's not disrupt the lives of anyone while we do it! We walked through the earliest new forest of eucalyptus and that was magic. Also numbers of pines and palms, dry climate plantings. Very clever plantings, the palms facing directly into the west which has to be punishing in summer with wind and sun exposure, but in winter they were doing well, too. The view from the top towards the city is stunning, but more familiar than the one to the west. Well worthwhile for a bracing short walk, and full of the pleasures of birds, exotic and familiar trees and wonder at the imagination of Burley-Griffin, master-architect, and landscapist, whose Arboretum was part of the original plan but not begun to be realised until the devastating pine plantation fires of 2002.

Thank Frances D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed National Arboretum also viewed

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Been to National Arboretum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing