FAQs

Please see below answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

General Information

Enlighten Festival is back for 2024 and will light up the nation’s capital over 11 days between Friday 1 March – Monday 11 March. The Canberra Balloon Spectacular will also return from Saturday 9 March – Sunday 17 March.

Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages, and subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this page to be notified of the most up to date information on Enlighten Festival!

Most events at the Enlighten Festival are free to attend and do not require registration.

However, make the most of your visit to the Enlighten Illuminations with a ticket to our first onsite interactive VR experience. VOLO: Dreams of Flight is running each evening 1-11 March in the Enlighten Illuminations Festival Hub, 5pm – 11pm.

The Enlighten After Dark program also features a range of other events around Canberra, both ticketed and non-ticketed. Look out for ‘Ticketed Events’ specified on applicable event pages to reserve your place.

Tickets are also required for the Canberra Day Appeal Fun Run. For further details and to purchase tickets visit our Canberra Day Appeal Fun Run event page.

The Enlighten Festival will post information on the website if the weather affects event operations. Information will also be communicated through the Enlighten Festival social channels, and the Events ACT channels.

Yes you can bring dogs to our events, however please see further information below about dogs at the Canberra Balloon Spectacular. Please bear in mind, that the festival has large crowds full of unfamiliar faces and can be noisy at times, which some pets may find stressful.

We recommend you don’t bring dogs to the Canberra Balloon Spectacular as the burners that inflate the balloons are very noisy and may be distressing for dogs.

Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times, must be socialised and generally non-aggressive to people or other dogs. For the comfort, safety and enjoyment of patrons, Management reserves the right to refuse entry at their discretion to any dog deemed to be unsafe. In consideration of all attendees and as per ACT law, dogs must be picked up after and all waste disposed of responsibly.

Getting to Enlighten Festival

Yes, a free shuttle bus will operate between the City and the Enlighten Illuminations Festival Hub.

This shuttle will run every evening from 1-11 March on a 30 minute loop.

For detailed information including a route map and timings, visit our Getting to Enlighten Festival page.

Please note: Based on your feedback post the 2023 Enlighten Festival, we have amended the free shuttle service and route this year to provide a more efficient shuttle to get you to and from the event from various parking locations in and around the city.

Vision impaired customers can use hailing kit ID ‘E1’ to signal the Enlighten shuttle service.

Please note the free shuttle bus services Enlighten Illuminations only. For transport options to Symphony in the Park, Canberra Day and the Canberra Balloon Spectacular please visit transport.act.gov.au.

National Triangle

(Parking for Enlighten Illuminations, Canberra Balloon Spectacular, and Lights! Canberra! Action!)

Parking within the National Triangle is limited. A map displaying car park spaces within the National Triangle is available here.

Please ensure that where you have parked is a valid spot and you have checked if you need to purchase a ticket. The National Capital Authority will be enforcing parking regulations for the duration of this event, and attendees should ensure they park legally to avoid the risk of an infringement being issued to their vehicle.

After 5pm there are various free public car parks throughout the National Triangle. There is also parking at each of the participating National Attractions. On weekdays and weekends the public car parks within the National Triangle will operate under normal conditions.

Due to traffic congestion during the event it is recommended that patrons avoid parking in the National Library of Australia carparks. Please note the large car park at Questacon is reserved for Accessible Permit holders only and is subject to availability.

Commonwealth Park

(Parking for Symphony in the Park and Canberra Day)

There is limited parking available at Regatta Point and West Basin. We recommend parking at CIT Reid, National Convention Centre or City Hill (off London Circuit) car parks and then walking across the pedestrian bridge over Parkes Way.

A map displaying car park spaces surrounding Commonwealth Park is available here.

King Edward Terrace (between Parkes Place East and Mall Road West) will be closed to all traffic from 10:00am Thursday 29 February to 5:00pm Tuesday 12 March.

In addition, a traffic management plan will be in place each evening from 5:00pm – midnight on Friday 1 March till Monday 11 March 2024 and includes the below road closures:

  • Mall Road West (Questacon Bus Loop)
  • King George Terrace closed between Parkes Place East and Parkes Place West
  • National Library of Australia internal loop road (one-way section)
  • Queen Elizabeth Terrace between Parkes Place East and Parkes Place West
  • Parkes Place West is closed north of King Edward Terrace with access to National Library of Australia car park only. All other vehicles utilising this road to access the Questacon carpark will require a parking permit or an accessible parking pass and will go through a Traffic Marshall
  • Parliament Square at Queen Victoria Terrace

For a map of Enlighten Festival Road Closures, visit our Festival Maps page.

In addition to the festival specific road closures, please be aware that construction work around the city may impact how you get to Enlighten Festival. For more information view the latest updates on Travel Impacts.

During Enlighten Festival, there will be a No Ride Zone within the National Triangle. The No Ride Zone will take effect from 5pm on Friday 1 March and end at midnight Monday 11 March 2024. This is in the interest of public safety.

There will be four parking zones on each side of the Enlighten Illuminations Festival Hub.

Users will be notified of parking location changes via the Beam and Neuron App.

Yes, this year the Enlighten Festival Hub is fully fenced and licenced, allowing patrons to move freely throughout our food, beverage and entertainment areas at Enlighten Illuminations. Sample food and drinks from our full range of vendors, or enjoy a beverage as you explore the installations within the Festival Hub.

Please take note of the new designated entry gates located around the precinct.

Explore everything at Enlighten Festival has to offer via our Festival Maps page, paying particular attention to new entry points introduced for the Enlighten Festival Hub in 2024.

Plan your route in advance, or download and save for when you arrive. Alternatively, speak to one of our Enlighten Festival volunteers onsite who can help you find your way around.

Accessibility

For detailed information on accessible services that will be available at the Enlighten Festival, visit our Accessibility page.

Accessible Parking for events commencing after 5pm:

If attending events after 5pm there is a dedicated accessible car park located behind Questacon. You will be required to show your valid Accessible Parking Permit to security to gain access through the road closure. Free accessible parking is also available in most public car parks and Enlighten Illuminations participating attractions car parks. Parking is limited and vehicles must display an authorised Accessible Parking Permit.

Please be aware that the Accessible Car Park can fill up on busy days, so plan to arrive early. There are limited additional Accessible Parking Bays around the National Triangle including at the National Library and Old Parliament House.

Accessible parking for the Canberra Balloon Spectacular:

If attending the Canberra Balloon Spectacular, there is a dedicated accessible car park located behind Questacon. You will be required to show your valid Accessible Parking Permit to security to gain access through the road closure.

Other free accessible parking is available in most public car parks and Enlighten Illuminations participating attractions car parks.

Car parks closest to Patrick White Lawns include the car parks at the National Library of Australia, Questacon: the National Science and Technology Centre and the Treasury Building. We recommend arriving early to secure a car park close to Patrick White Lawns.

View our Accessible Map for accessible parking locations.

Please be aware that the Accessible Car Park can fill up on busy days, so plan to arrive early. There are limited additional Accessible Parking Bays around the National Triangle including at the National Library and Old Parliament House. Parking is limited and vehicles must display an authorised Accessible Parking Permit.

To help you navigate the Enlighten Illuminations walking paths, a limited number of wheelchairs, walking frames, electric mobility scooters and strollers will be available for hire on site.

The Mobility Hire marquee will be open for walk ups and collections from 6:00pm each evening, and equipment is due back no later than 11:00pm.

Bookings will only be held for 15 minutes so please ensure you collect your hire on time.

To avoid disappointment, secure your booking in advance by emailing scooters@netspeed.com.au or sending a text message to 0403 242 584. Pre-bookings close the day prior to the event, and walk ups are subject to availability.

Cash or EFTPOS payments are required on collection.

For more details, including a pricelist and map of the collection point see our Accessibility page.

Ticketed Experiences

Most events at the Enlighten Festival are free to attend and do not require registration, however make the most of your visit with a range of ticketed experiences below.

Enlighten Festival are excited to present our first on site interactive VR Experience, Volo: Dreams of Flight.

Riders – wearing a VR headset as they swing- will be transported into one of four exhilarating dream experiences, each offering a different sensation of flight. Volo celebrates the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s creations, and is inspired by his fabulous flying contraptions, his studies of flight and his pioneering work on perspective.

Riders will groan in horror before squealing with delight as they pilot their swing-powered machines over cliff edges to flap over buildings, zoom along the water, soar in formation, spiral upwards through clouds and float back down to earth. But watch out – modern airspace is a little more crowded than da Vinci may have envisaged half a millennia ago!

Tickets are required to ride and can be purchased on the Volo: Dreams of Flight event page.

The Enlighten After Dark program features a range of other events around Canberra, both ticketed and non-ticketed. Look out for ‘Ticketed Events’ specified on applicable event pages to reserve your place.

Join us in partnership with Stromlo Running Festival for a rewarding and invigorating experience as we lace up our running shoes and embark on the Canberra Day Appeal Fun Run around picturesque Lake Burley Griffin on Canberra Day, 11 March.

For further details and to purchase tickets visit our Canberra Day Appeal Fun Run event page.

Food & Drink

Yes. Many of our food vendors provide gluten free, lactose free, vegetarian and vegan options on their menus. For more information visit our Food and Drinks page.

Enlighten is the perfect spot for a picnic. We have a variety of food and drink suppliers on-site but also allow visitors to bring their own picnics.

Please note that BYO alcohol is not permitted at any event throughout the Enlighten Festival. Alcohol is available for purchase from Bar Berra, BentSpoke Beer Garden, the Enlighten Food Park and pop-up bars located inside Lights! Canberra! Action!, Symphony in the Park and Canberra Day. Please note bag searches may be conducted upon arrival at Lights! Canberra! Action!, Symphony in the Park and Canberra Day and alcohol will be confiscated.

This year the Enlighten Illuminations Festival Hub is fully licenced, allowing patrons to move freely throughout our food, beverage and entertainment areas.

The areas immediately surrounding our bars are restricted to over 18’s only. In line with liquor licensing requirements, persons under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian aged over 25.

BYO alcohol is not permitted at any event throughout the Enlighten Festival. Alcohol is available for purchase from Bar Berra, the BentSpoke Beer Garden, Enlighten Food Park and pop-up bars located inside Lights! Canberra! Action!, Symphony in the Park and Canberra Day. Please note bag searches may be conducted upon arrival at Lights! Canberra! Action!, Symphony in the Park and Canberra Day and alcohol will be confiscated.

Amenities

All lost property enquiries are handled by the friendly staff at the Information Marquee, located on the North Lawns in the Enlighten Illuminations Festival Hub. If you find something, please hand it to the nearest staff member or visit the Information Marquee.

For enquiries outside of event hours, please contact events@act.gov.au.

Yes, first aid stations are located at all event sites and available during event hours. Please refer to the Festival Maps or advise your nearest staff member on site who will arrange medical assistance.

Illuminations

The Illuminations projections run each night from Friday 1st March to Monday 11th March. The projections will switch on each night at 8:00pm and run on a continuous loop until 11:00pm.

Food, drinks and entertainment will be available in the Enlighten Illuminations Festival Hub from 5:00pm each afternoon.

Canberra Balloon Spectacular

Daily announcements detailing flight times or cancellations are made around 6:00am each day of the Canberra Balloon Spectacular (9-17 March). Look for our updates on enlightencanberra.com, our Facebook and Instagram, and Events ACT Facebook, or call Access Canberra on 13 22 81. Key local radio stations are also notified.

If the balloons do not fly, some will stay on site, inflate and tether, providing it is safe to do so. If the balloons are unable to inflate and tether, patrons are still welcome to come and enjoy a hot breakfast.

The safety of pilots, crew and passengers is paramount and the whole Enlighten Festival team would like to thank you for your understanding on days which experience cancellations.

On days where flights are cancelled visitors with flights booked should contact their booking agency directly.

Set your alarms early! An announcement about the balloons launching will be made at around 6:00am each day. If the weather is good and the balloons are launching, they will begin inflating from 6:15am.

Inflation typically takes between 15 and 30 minutes depending on the size of the balloon. The majority of balloons will have launched by 7:00am. If conditions are unfavourable and the balloons are unable to launch, they may still be able to inflate and tether on the lawns, which is still a great spectacle.

Make sure you bring your phone or camera to capture all the stunning balloons, and comfortable footwear for standing on the lawn. We also recommend you wear warm clothing – March mornings in Canberra can be chilly.

Experience the thrill of hot air ballooning over Canberra at sunrise with Canberra’s most experienced hot air balloon operators. This unforgettable experience will leave you with a lifetime of memories to share with family and friends.

To book a balloon flight and get the best view in town of the Canberra Balloon Spectacular, please contact:

Balloon Aloft
Phone: 02 6249 8660
Email: info@balloonaloftcanberra.com.au
Online: balloonaloftcanberra.com.au

Dawn Drifters
Phone: 02 6248 8200
Email: sales@dawndrifters.com.au

Please note that commercial flights are not part of the Canberra Balloon Spectacular and launch from alternate locations. Please contact your hot air balloon ride provider to confirm launch location and details.

Please note that commercial flights are not part of the Canberra Balloon Spectacular and launch from alternate locations. Please contact your hot air balloon ride provider to confirm launch location and details.

The noise from the balloons inflating can be distressing for dogs so we recommend that dogs are not brought to the balloon launch site.

We want everyone to have a great time at the Canberra Balloon Spectacular so here are a few tips to make your visit safe and enjoyable:

  • If a balloon is launching or landing near you, stand clear and not in the path of the balloon.
  • Walk around, not over, ropes.
  • Ensure young children are supervised at all times.
  • Follow instructions issued by pilots, crew and any ground event staff.
  • Smoking is strictly prohibited around the launch site. Highly flammable propane gas is used in the inflation process.
  • If you are driving while balloons are overhead, please watch the road and not the balloons. Alternatively, please pull over and stop in a safe place.
  • The Canberra Balloon Spectacular is a drone free event. Drones are not permitted to be used anywhere near the balloons or over the crowds. Drones pose a significant safety hazard and any breaches will be treated seriously.

Lights! Canberra! Action!

Yes, please feel free to bring a chair, there are areas set aside for those who are sitting on the ground so please leave those free to ensure the patrons sitting there have an unobstructed view.

Symphony In The Park

There is limited parking available at Regatta Point and West Basin. We recommend parking at CIT Reid, National Convention Centre or City Hill (off London Circuit) carparks and then walking across the pedestrian bridge over Parkes Way.

A map displaying car park spaces surrounding Commonwealth Park is available here.

Please note the Enlighten Festival shuttle bus does not stop at Commonwealth Park, however there are Transport Canberra Rapid Services that service the Commonwealth Avenue stop on a regular basis. Plan your journey by visiting transport.act.gov.au.

Yes, please feel free to bring a chair, there are areas closer to the stage set aside for those who are sitting on the ground so please leave those free to ensure the patrons sitting there have an unobstructed view.