Enlighten 2016 – Canberra all lit up on a very warm Autumn night…….

The Europe travel blogs have been briefly interrupted so I can post some photos from the last few days. I’ve actually cracked out the camera and put aside the trip photos momentarily so I could share some pictures from Enlighten. All pictures are in a gallery so just click on an individual picture to enlarge it.

We thought when we were gallivanting around Europe in the cold we were missing all the hot Summer weather in Canberra, but no, good old Canberra has saved us up a wonderful string of 35 degree days over the past couple of weeks, with more to come. You wouldn’t know it’s Autumn!

Normally the start of Autumn in Canberra is one of the best times to live here or visit. Warm (but not hot) days, cooler evenings and an abundance of wonderful events during the Canberra Festival.  I’ve posted our adventures at the Canberra Balloon Festival over the past few years, and last year we finally made it to ‘Enlighten’, albeit sans kiddies.  We enjoyed it so much that we thought we’d try to take the kids along this year.  You can check out all of my Enlighten 2015 photos here.

Enlighten runs for 10 nights, this year starting on March 4. The Capital’s most iconic buildings are lit up for a few hours a night with some amazing architectural projections, accompanied by live music, street performers and a noodle market.  It’s a fun (and free) activity.

A slight spanner was thrown in the works by Anto having to travel overseas for work, just when all the fun activities in Canberra are on! Luckily the first night of Enlighten was the night before he flew out.  After the kids swimming lesson on Friday, we all headed out to the Parliamentary Triangle and met up with the Canberra-based grandparents for a lovely picnic as the sun started to set. It was still well over 30 degrees, and a nice night to be outside. We were joined by some large inflatable white rabbits, that are scattered throughout the parliamentary triangle.  They are part of an exhibition called ‘Intrude’ and were popular with kids and adults alike.  We also checked out the noodle markets (although our self-catering picnic was an easier and quicker idea with the kids) and wandered down to the lake foreshore to see the sun set over the lake.

As the sunset, all the buildings lit up. Most of the projections change and move, so you can stand there watching each one for quite some time.  We all thought the projection from the National Portrait Gallery that included rabbits transposed into famous paintings was one of the most amusing and clever, but they were all fun and entertaining.

The kids were transfixed by the giant ‘bugs’ on stilts that were outside the National library. They provided quite a lot of entertainment and were a popular attraction. There was also live music and at 8.30pm a performance by ‘Back in Black’ which combined circus skills with comedy and kept a tiring Astrid entertained. Perhaps one of the weirdest exhibits was ‘Unuscornu’ the giant inflatable unicorn skull that kids could play in and was supposed to make you believe in magical creatures.  It was very colourful and also a popular attraction.

As the kids were rapidly tiring by 9pm, we didn’t make it around to every building (we missed New Parliament House and a few of the bunnies) but all the lights, colour and music were definitely worth keeping the kids up late for.  They had a ball, and went to bed happy that night.

Enlighten is running until 12 March, so pay it a visit if you are in Canberra.  If you aren’t local, try to make it here for Enlighten 2017.


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