ANU Heritage

Cultural and Theme Tours

The Australian National University (ANU) Acton campus is situated on 145 hectares in the heart of Australia’s ‘bush capital’. It is this inspiring setting which helps drive the creativity of ANU staff and students. Take a journey with ANU Heritage to discover the history, culture and natural beauty of the campus.

Due to current health advice on social distancing, please contact the business for the most up to date information regarding opening times and services.


Carpark Caters for hearing impairment Cultural and Theme Tours Disabled access available Family Friendly Land - Self Propelled Moderate Nature and wildlife Non Smoking Pet Friendly - Enquire Public Toilet Walking and Biking Tours


The self guided Australian National University (ANU) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Trail explores the rich historical significance of the campus area and its continuing culture and connection to Country.

The trail follows Sullivans Creek downstream towards the lake, just as Aboriginal people used it to navigate across the landscape. Sullivans Creek showed the path to the Molonglo, which in turn led the way to the larger Murrumbidgee River. The water also sustained abundant resources for Aboriginal people to eat, and attracted larger wildlife, such as kangaroos, that could be hunted.

Prior to European settlement, this was a landscape that had been deliberately made by Aboriginal people. Early survey maps of the region reveal an unnatural clearing near today’s South Oval. This clearing was maintained by Aboriginal people through periodic burning, to promote new growth that could be used to attract and trap kangaroos.

The trail also stops at schools and centres researching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, history, health, economics and education and demonstrates how ANU students influenced Aboriginal social history during the formation of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

Pick up a brochure from any of the ANU Libraries, or by contacting ANU Heritage.

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Australian National University (ANU) is built upon the roots of early Canberra and since 1946, has expanded to a campus of over 150 building. The architecture ranges from the early Federal Capital style to the modernist styles of the 1960s and 1970s, and more recently to building with a strong emphasis on sustainable design. The campus was once criticised as an ‘Architectural Disneyland’, however, the buildings constructed here over the last century are representative of many important ears in Australia’ architectural history.

The trail will focus on the six major phases of architecture at ANU. From the campus’ earliest buildings, dating from the founding of Canberra as the National Capital, to some of its most modern and sustainable sites. Learn about the architects, design, and disagreements which helped to create the spectacular University you see today.

Download the ANU Walks app to follow this self-guided tour.

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Since its founding in 1946, The Australian National University (ANU) has grown to become one of the finest centre of academic learning and research in the world. However, before its role as the main campus of ANU, the site had many other lives.

The Acton Campus of ANU has over thirty individual sites that are listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List and over twenty that are listed on the ACT Heritage Database. These sites represent the earliest phases of settlement in Canberra, exhibit links to Australia’s wartime history and show the development of the University from its earliest inception to the present day.

The Acton Heritage Trail gives users an opportunity to understand the relationship of the University to previous settlement of the Acton site. Whether your interest is the early administrative period of Canberra, the social history of the Acton area or the architecture of the University then this walk is for you.

Download the ANU Walks app to follow this trail.

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The park-like atmosphere of the Australian National University (ANU) Acton Campus reflects the initial design of Canberra, by Walter Burley Griffin and his wife Marion Mahony Griffin, who envisioned a garden city of geometric motifs, and a university at the foot of Black Mountain.

This Landscape Trail will guide you through the ANU Acton Campus highlighting the designed landscape around buildings as well as the native and exotic vegetation. The tour will feature historically important planning features, significant trees and Australia’s threatened grassy woodland.

Download the ANU Walks app to follow this trail.

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The Political History Trail will guide you through the Australian National University (ANU) campus on a journey highlighting the founding of the University, its historic relationship with Australia’s capital city, and its association with several of Australia’s most famous politicians. The trail will focus on specific building around the campus and introduce you to the protests, funding decisions, and drunk escapades that helped shape this university into the world-renowned institution it is today.

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The Ausralian National University (ANU) is privileged to be custodians of one of the nation’s finest art collections. This collection includes outdoor sculpture which is located throughout the University’s campus.

Since the University’s founding in 1946, the campus has evolved to become an integrated environment in which architecture, landscape design and sculpture all complement each other. Works of art attest to a culture that values creative thinking and enrich the intellectual atmosphere of the campus as a learning environment. Some of the sculptures on campus have become familiar landmarks to many generations of students and with new works being added to the collection, future generations will continue to benefit from the University’s commitment to art.

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The Australian National University (ANU) was established by an Act of Parliament in 1946 to house the University in the heart of Australia’s ‘bush capital’. Situated on 145 hectares, the campus is home to more than 10,000 trees and is filled with hidden ecological treasure and sustainability feature in the build environment. This tour exhibits some of the best examples of the natural environment on campus, as well as examples of impressive accomplishments in energy, water and waste efficiency and innovation for sustainability.

Many of the areas on this sustainability walk follow landscaped and paved paths. However, some of the stop visit natural, protected ecological communities.

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Free Entry

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