Take Your Pick from Canberra's Summer Selection

  • Written by Joni Wanless

The season is right for a short break to the capital! Canberra dishes up food and wine events, plenty of seasonal festivities and fun for all the family. Soak up the sunshine, blue sky and indulgent treats before taking in blockbuster exhibitions and a spot of shopping.

Marvel at more than 130 works of the much-loved Australian artist Tom Roberts from his early days studying at London's Royal Academy in 1883 until 1931 at the National Gallery of Australia. The summer exhibition Tom Roberts runs until 28 March 2016 and includes the magnificent Big Picture painting of the 1901 Federation of Australia ceremony.

Another must-see exhibition is Encounters at the National Museum of Australia, until 28 March 2016. Drawn from the British Museum's collection, rare Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander objects will be displayed.Meanwhile, Sideshow Alley: Infamy, The Macabre & The Portrait at the National Portrait Gallery features a selection of death masks, post-mortem drawings and other spooky and disquieting portraits of Australian convicts throughout the 19th Century until 28 February 2016.

View the greatest treasures from the National Library of China in a joint exhibition at the National Library of Australia from 2 January.  Celestial Empire: Life in China, 1644-1911 explores the richness of Chinese culture and tradition through the prism of two of the world's great library collections.

As well as blockbuster exhibitions, summer in Canberra is a season for festivals and celebrations. Australia's ultimate car show, Summernats Car Festival is a spectator's paradise. Catch street machines, show cars, traders' pavilions, live bands, the Kids' Zone and more from 7-20 January. Experience a taste of the world as Canberra's multicultural communities showcase their cultures through food and performance at the National Multicultural Festival from 12-14 February. Discover Canberra's hidden food and wine secrets throughout weekends in February as part of the regional alfresco Summerside Festival with master classes, twilight garden concerts and art exhibitions.

Canberra also has your Christmas shopping sorted. More than 200 stalls selling everything from freshly-brewed coffee and ground spices to designer fashion and vintage home wares make the Old Bus Depot Markets a sensory experience on Saturdays and Sundays in December in the lead up to Christmas. Find the perfect Christmas present at the Handmade Market, which brings together talented artists, designers, stylists, craftspeople and gourmets at Exhibition Park on 12 and 13 December. 

The IMB Sunset Cinema Canberra returns to the Australian National Botanic Gardens from 9-12 and 16-19 December with a fantastic range of films. Enjoy your favourite latest release, classic and art-house films under the stars on the Eucalypt Lawn. The Ben & Jerry's Openair Cinemas is also a crowd favourite, taking over the Patrick White Lawns by the National Library of Australia from 21 January to 28 February with a stellar line-up and the popular Sundae Sessions.

The lawns of Parliament House is the place to be on 25 January, with the Australia Celebrates Live concertfeaturing some of the hottest names in Australian music and the announcement of the Australian of the Year awards. On 26 January Australia Day in the Park starts early with the Great Aussie Day Breakfast and loads of fun for the whole family, as well as the National Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony. Don't miss the Australia Day Fireworks Spectacular finale on Lake Burley Griffin.

Lovers of cricket are in for a treat this summer with plenty of cricket action. Cheer on Australia as they battle India on the cricket pitch at historic Manuka Oval. India is out to atone for its ICC Cricket World Cup loss against Australia in this one day international on 20 January. On the back of success at the Ashes, the world champion Aussie women's cricket team will also take on India in Canberra on 2 February.

Kick back and enjoy a mini break in Canberra this summer and experience our flourishing arts scene, thriving food and wine industry, outdoor activities and array of national and family friendly attractions sure to entertain and excite.

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