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The capital cities of Australia

Discover Canberra

Welcome to Canberra, the capital of Australia. Located approximately 300 kilometres from Sydney, the city was designed by an American architect, Walter Burley Griffin. A cultural and nature mecca: Explore world-class museums, national parks, galleries, national monuments, wineries, leafy parks, and much more.

Where should you visit in Canberra?

Absorb all the colours of the capital
© Tourism Australia
Dine in style in the great outdoors
© Tourism Australia

A brief history of Canberra

In 1911, the Australian government launched an international design competition to find a new design for the new nation's capital. After reviewing 137 designs from all over the world, the competition was won by an American architect, Walter Burley Griffin.

Thanks in part to his design, Canberra has become a green city with many parks, wide streets, and the man-made Lake Burley Griffin, the centrepiece of the city. The lake is the perfect setting for walking, cycling, and swimming.

In Canberra, you will find many national monuments and institutions that are worth visiting such as the Parliament Building, the Australian War Memorial, and the National Library. You can also visit the New Parliament House or the Old Parliament House.

National museum of Australia Canberra | Australia holiday
The National Museum of Australia is located in Canberra
Visit the Parliament House in Canberra
© Tourism Australia

Celebrate the seasons with events and festivals

There are many reasons to celebrate in Canberra with a variety of annual events on offer. In a typical year, you'll see a million flowers at Floriade in spring and you can enjoy delicious delicacies at The Truffle Festival every winter. Iconic buildings are transformed into works of art and hot air balloons take to the skies at the Enlighten Festival in autumn. Are you a car fanatic? Then you will love the Summernats which is hosted every summer.

Marvel at thousands of flowers at the Floriade flower festival
© Tourism Australia
Visit Canberra and discover the Enlighten Festival

Top things to do in Canberra

There are many things to do in the capital city of Australia ranging from relaxing to adventurous. Are you a bird watcher? Visit Jerrabomberra Wetlands. Cool off with the kids at Big Splash Waterpark or pop by the National Dinosaur Museum. Check out the National Carillon in central Canberra or visit the National Portrait Gallery. If you love culture and the arts, Canberra is the perfect city for you.

Here is a list of some of the best places to visit:

  • National Gallery of Australia
  • Australian War Memorial
  • National Museum of Australia
  • Parliament House
  • National Library of Australia
  • National Zoo and Aquarium
  • Australian National Botanic Gardens
  • Royal Australian Mint
  • Australian Institute of Sport
Go shopping at the local markets
© Tourism Australia
Explore local musea | Australia holiday
Visit an assortment of museums and galleries

Explore the capital's famous lake

At the heart of Canberra is Lake Burley Griffin, surrounded by galleries, museums, cafes, and parks, as well as walking and cycling trails. Do as the locals do and spend an hour on the 'bridge to bridge' path around the lake, stopping for a coffee on the way.

Paddle your way across the lake in a classic pedalo or enjoy a floating picnic on a GoBoat. Sail onboard an eco-friendly electric boat around Lake Burley Griffin to find the perfect view for your scenic lunch. Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre is located on the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin and is also a must-visit!

Pack a picnic and visit Lake Burley Griffin Park
An ideal spot to relax and enjoy Australian nature on the foreshore
© Pixabay | DesignNPrint

Nature and wildlife

During your visit to Canberra, you will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with unique Australian wildlife. The koala, wombat, emu, platypus, and kangaroo are all found in this region. The Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is an ideal place to visit and admire Aussie wildlife.

Nature lovers can hike Mount Ainslie, Mount Painter, or Black Mountain. From here, you can enjoy the picturesque views of the city. Visit Canberra in spring to see the cherry blossoms or in autumn when the city glows a deep crimson.

Namadgi National Park covers 106,095 hectares, over half of the Australian Capital Territory. Featuring ancient landscapes of alpine, sub-alpine, and mountain bushland. The land has been managed by the Ngunnawal people of Australia for tens of thousands of years.

Keep an eye out for koalas!
Say g'day to kangaroos
© Meg Jerrard

Foodies and wine lover's paradise

Just 35 minutes from the city, Canberra offers three wine regions with no fewer than 40 wineries. Here, you can enjoy the traditionally thriving drops in the relaxed tranquility of the surrounding area. If you prefer beer, pay a visit to BentSpoke Brewing or enjoy the specialty beers in the cosy beer garden at Capital Brewing Co in Fyshwick. A culinary excursion is also worthwhile because of the numerous award-winning restaurants.

Enjoy a cocktail at one of the local bars
© Tourism Australia
There are many gourmet shops where you can purchase local products
© Tourism Australia

Surrounding areas

There are many opportunities for day trips outside of Canberra. Within two hours, you can be relaxing by the ocean in Huskisson, sipping wine in Murrumbateman, or having a 4WD adventure in Brindabella National Park. The Snowy Mountains is home to Australia's highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko which lies in Kosciuszko National Park. Perisher is the largest ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere. Whatever you are searching for, a day or multi-day trip is a great way to explore this unique part of Australia.

Spot dolphins frocklicking in Jervis Bay
Wombat | Australia wildlife
Keep an eye out for wombats!
© TravelEssence

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