Car festival rolls into Canberra


By Renee Bogatko, Image Credit –

It’s that time of year when revheads unite to share their passion for all things cars.

Summernats kicks off in Canberra today, with a record number of entrants.

What a way to mark the festival’s 30th Birthday, with over 2,500 cars expected, smashing the previous car attendance record of 1,950.

Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez said it’s not just an event for car lovers.

“We’ve got lots of great activities. A great concert line-up and heaps of free stuff for kids to do,” he said.

“It really has evolved into a great family festival that celebrates a lot of things about Aussie culture.”

The introduction of direct flights between Canberra and Wellington has also contributed to the increase in entrants, with a lot more people coming to the festival from New Zealand.

“The second thing is the level of media interest from the US,” Mr Lopez said.

“Heaps of American media are coming to cover the event, including the New York Times, which’ll hopefully increase visitation as well.”

While the festival is a major tourist drawcard for the capital, it’s also a bit of a traffic headache.

Canberrans should expect delays as a result of rolling road closures from midday today along the Federal Highway and Northbourne Avenue, while the Summernats City Cruise takes place.

“This year, as Summernats celebrates its 30th anniversary, a large number of vehicles are expected to take part as well as a large crowd of onlookers,” Transport Canberra and City Services Traffic Management and Safety senior manager, Rifaat Shoukrallah, said.

So here’s what you need to know about traffic changes:

City Cruise route

The Cruise will leave from the entrance to Exhibition Park off Flemington Road. It will travel down the Federal Highway and Northbourne Avenue to the intersection with London Circuit. It will then return along Northbourne Avenue, concluding at the entrance to EPIC, at the intersection of the Federal Highway and Stirling Avenue.


- Rolling closures will be in place along sections of the Federal Highway and Northbourne Avenue

- For the duration of the Cruise, Flemington Road between Randwick Road and the Federal Highway will be temporarily closed

- Drivers should take an alternative route

Closure times

The cruise will start at midday Thursday January 5 and will take about one hour.

Information for spectators

- For safety, the public isn’t allowed to watch the Cruise from the central median strip on Northbourne Avenue or the Federal Highway

- The public must also not enter any fenced areas or worksites along the Cruise’s route

- The best vantage points are in the city and at the entrance to EPIC at the intersection of the Federal Highway and Stirling Avenue

- Parking is available in the city and at EPIC via Old Well Station Road, off the Federal Highway

- An alcohol ban is also in place along the Federal Highway and Northbourne Avenue for the duration of the Cruise

Head to the Summernats website for program and ticket information.