Sarge, the mascot of the Canberra Calvary, takes a ride on the camels as part of the Christmas Carnival. Click for more photos

Camels usher in Christmas Carnival in the City

Sarge, the mascot of the Canberra Calvary, takes a ride on the camels as part of the Christmas Carnival. Photo: Jay Cronan

  • Sarge, the mascot of the Canberra Calvary, takes a ride on the camels as part of the Christmas Carnival.
  • A dog sits in front of the camels ride as part of the Christmas Carnival.
  • Jeremy Barnes of the Canberra Calvary takes a ride on the camels as part of the Christmas Carnival.
  • Bille Wilcox, 4, and Neve Senior, 2, takes on the jumping castle in Civic as party of the Christmas Carnival.
  • Lotte Hume, 4, takes on the jumping castle in Civic as party of the Christmas Carnival.
  • Ethan Ryan, 7, takes on the bungy trampoline in Civic Square as party of the Christmas Carnival.

The sight of camels riding around Ainslie Place might not seem like the most natural fit but that is precisely the idea, says Steve Gregory.

The CEO of Canberra CBD Limited says the company has broken with Christmas tradition this year to try to entice more Canberrans into the city.

The Christmas Carnival in the City began on Monday and the carolers and Santa visits of holidays past have been joined by new activities meant to "enliven" Civic over Christmas and turn the city into something of an adventure playground.

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There are camel rides through City Walk, a rock climbing wall in Garema Place and bumper boats and a bungee trampoline in Civic Square.

"The previous style of activity has been the ambient activity which has included a range of traditional Christmas activities like carols and meeting Santa," Mr Gregory said.

"This year we're doing something that's really going to get more attention and bring people into the city to see the carols and go on the rides."

Mr Gregory said Winter's Skate in the City had brought 19,000 visitors into Civic and he hoped for similar success with the Christmas Carnival.

The free rides and activities run from 12 noon until 8 pm each day, which the company hopes will be a drawcard for families.

"This being a first year event we have now idea how many it will bring in, but obviously the 12-8 time slot has been chosen with families and kids in mind," Mr Gregory said.

"We hope we'll have more people coming into the city, people who maybe haven't come in for a while can come and explore, do some Christmas shopping and see what's new around the place."

Christmas Carnival in the City runs until December 21.