26 September 2023

‘Enlighten’ light, sound and movement events

Start the conversation

By Rama Gaind.

Enlighten Festival’s stunning light projections will bring iconic buildings to life throughout Canberra.

Canberra will shine bright with culture and creativity as the Enlighten Festival brings together the best autumn events next month. The city will come alive with a range of free and ticketed events.

The festival, which will light-up Australia’s capital city from 3-19 March, will feature stunning architectural projections of light, sound and movement during the Enlighten Illuminations, a sky full of hot air balloons at the Canberra Balloon Spectacular and a program bursting with events for music, film and art fans. Then there’s the festival’s Pride weekend.

Feast on tasty treats at the foodie markets, enjoy live music and exclusive experiences at Canberra’s attractions as you explore the National Triangle. Here’s a guide to some popular events.

Canberra’s galleries and museums will become canvases for digital art during the Enlighten Illuminations (3-13 March). Australian Parliament House, National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Australia, Questacon, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House and National Library of Australia will be transformed by thought-provoking architectural projections and artistic installations.

Entry to the Illuminations is free, though some exclusive events are ticketed.

Wake up to surreal scenes as dozens of hot air balloons float across the capital each morning during the Canberra Balloon Spectacular (11-19 March, weather dependent). Grab breakfast from a local food truck or take to the lake to watch the balloons inflate and float into the sky. For a unique perspective of the spectacular hire a paddleboard, kayak or GoBoat and head out on to Lake Burley Griffin.

In 2023, in addition to the event’s popular programming, the middle weekend of the festival (10-12 March) will celebrate LGBTIQ+ pride. See the capital’s iconic buildings become canvases for a specially designed pride themed projection at the Enlighten Illuminations. See hot air balloons sporting pride flags float above the capital on the first day of the Canberra Balloon Spectacular (11 March).

Watching the hot air balloons take flight is a glorious start to the day.

Be part of the first Fresh Out Fair Day (11 March) — browse market stalls, taste local food and wine and cheer on great performances. Hear an epic musical collaboration when Electric Fields join the Canberra Symphony Orchestra on stage at Symphony in the Park (12 March).

While in Canberra, take the opportunity to also do other things, including enjoying activities designed for young families. Children will clamour to visit Questacon — The National Science and Technology Centre. This interactive wonderland will have kids learning about the power of the elements, feeling the force of an earthquake, watching lightning strike twice and meeting the friendly mechanical humanoid, Robo Q.

Go sightseeing

See animals big and small from red pandas to rhinos at the National Zoo & Aquarium, brush up on Muttaburrasaurus facts during a tour of the National Dinosaur Museum, and get an adrenaline rush as you race down a 1.2 kilometre alpine slide at Corin Forest.

Reconnect with nature and see Aussie animals. Canberra is renowned for being a 100 per cent renewable energy city with approximately 70 per cent of the ACT dedicated to nature parks.

Set yourself the challenge on a visit to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve to spot five famous native Australian animals that call the area home: the koala, platypus, kangaroo, emu and wombat. Walk-up Mount Ainslie, Mount Painter or Black Mountain to enjoy scenic views over the city.

From our ancient Indigenous past and colonial history to the modern multicultural country of today, unearth the treasures of our nation at the national attractions in Canberra. Explore one of the world’s most architecturally acclaimed buildings, Parliament House, and see the nation’s most popular and important objects – from the Holden Prototype No.1 to bark paintings and ochre used by Aboriginal artists more than 50,000 years ago – at the National Museum of Australia.

The Enlighten Festival returns in 2023, lighting the national capital in neon technicolour.

Uncover new knowledge from over 10 million items at the National Library of Australia or place a poppy on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial. Discover more history and heritage at Canberra’s other iconic museums and attractions, including the smallest gallery in Australia and world-class glassblowers.

Canberra’s three cool-climate wine regions offer a spectacular range of experiences, from wine-tasting and fine dining to truffle hunting. Traditionally, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Shiraz varieties have thrived here at the 140 vineyards and 40 wineries, within 35 minutes’ drive of the capital.

Yes, that means you’ll need at least three days to explore Murrumbateman and Yass, then Canberra and Hall, plus Bungendore, Wamboin, Gundaroo, Lake George and Collector.

Beer lovers can’t go past a cold brew from Braddon brewpub BentSpoke Brewing Co, who took out top spot in the GABS hottest 100 craft beers in 2020 and 2021. Alternatively, share a specialty brew in the spacious beer garden at Capital Brewing Co in Fyshwick.

This is just a small sprinkling of attractions. These is so much more to discover in the nation’s capital.



Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.