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Canberra: Australia’s Capital – the Top 10 Places of Interest

When talking about Australia and its cities, you often hear names like Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane. Everybody knows these cities, but none of it is Australia’s capital. That would be Canberra! In fact, it was founded for this very purpose. No one could agree whether Sydney or Melbourne should become the capital of Australia, so the people decided to build a completely new city, Canberra.

During your visit there, you’ll notice that the city was planned to the last detail. Everything looks very precise, clean, and even a bit artificial. At first, that may not sound appealing, or perhaps seem a bit odd. But that’s exactly what makes this city so extraordinary and really worth visiting!

Canberra is Australia’s political center. The many museums will teach you a lot about the country’s history. The extravagant Parliament House is also worth seeing, and you’ll surely be awestruck!

Canberra in a Nutshell

Canberra lies in the Australian Capital Territory, about 250 kilometers south of Sydney and 150 kilometers off the Australian east coast. The capital is home to nearly 400,000 people, making it the country’s eighth-largest city.

The climate in Canberra is mild and oceanic. Summers are often very hot and dry, while winters are rather cold by Australian standards. Keep in mind that Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, meaning the seasons run opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere. Learn more about Australia’s climate and the best time to visit on our climate guide.

You can completely rely on the public transportation network during your stay, regarding both buses and trams. Moreover, there is also the “Red Explorer Bus” that drives by the most popular attractions. It’s really convenient as a Hop-on, Hop-off bus – just hop off whenever you want to visit a sight.

In Canberra, you’ll come across many amazing restaurants and various kinds of cuisines. Be sure to check out the Capital Region Farmers Market. Here, you’ll find the delicious Bombolini doughnuts – fluffy doughnuts filled with custard or jam! What if you didn’t yet try enough local food on your trip to Australia? No problem, Canberra also boasts many traditional Australian dishes. For instance, Vegemite toast, lamingtons, or Anzac biscuits.

Unfortunately, Canberra cannot compete with Sydney or Melbourne in terms of size and popularity, but the events there will not disappoint you! From music and sport to art and culture, there is always something going on. Especially Australian national holidays like ANZAC Day are celebrated on a grand scale in Canberra. One of the most popular events is the Canberra Festival in March. Every year, this ten-day long festival celebrates the city’s naming with many events, culinary stands, music, and art.

If you are up for a hot air balloon flight in Australia, Canberra is the right place for it! The capital is actually one of the few places where it is possible to so. Due to its popularity, there is also an entire festival about hot air ballooning.

The Top 10 Places of Interest in Canberra

As already mentioned, Canberra was artificially created to act as Australia’s capital. Accordingly, there aren’t any charming alleys or quaint buildings waiting for you in the city – there’s no need for that, anyway! There is no shortage of places worth seeing, of course! So, we’ve listed our top 10 places of interest in Canberra for you. Have fun!

Parliament House, the Landmark of Canberra

The Parliament House is located on Capital Hill and is the landmark of the Australian capital. It is easy to spot from afar, and it constitutes the southern part of Canberra’s center. The 81-meter-high flagpole on the building’s roof is especially impressive.

Admission to the parliament building is free of charge. Once you have passed through the security check at the entrance, you are free to move around. You can even attend meetings. What an interesting insight! In addition, you can also take part in guided tours.

Australian War Memorial

During your stay in Canberra, be sure to visit the Australian War Memorial. A museum about the country’s history is also part of the Memorial. Australia has been involved in many wars, which had a great impact on the country’s development.

Due to the use of visual and audio effects, the past is presented in a particularly exciting way. For instance, there is a hall with old bombers on display with light and sound shows in order to recreate flight scenes from the war. Learning about history here is anything but boring! Also, admission to the museum is free of charge.

Lake Burley Griffin

Canberra is built around this man-made lake: Lake Burley Griffin. It owes its name to the city planner who designed Canberra. If you’re looking for outdoor activities, you’re at the right place here!

You can choose from a wide range of recreational activities such as kayaking, sailing and stand-up paddling. If you’d rather stay on dry land, then take a bike tour around the lake or just walk along its shore.

Captain Cook Memorial

At Lake Burley Griffin, near the Regatta Point, you’ll come across the Captain Cook Memorial. This monument depicts a globe on which the various voyages of Captain Cook are marked in different colors. Not far from here, you’ll also find the Captain Cook Memorial Water Jet. The fountain shoots water up to 147 meters high!

National Museum

Another museum we really recommend is the National Museum of Australia. Here, you’ll get a detailed insight into the country’s evolution: from the history of Aboriginals to technological development and settlement history. You can either explore the museum on your own or book a guided tour to learn many interesting background facts.

Hot Air Balloon Flight over Canberra

As we’ve mentioned before, Canberra is the perfect place to take a hot air balloon flight! You’ll be able to recognize the symmetry of the artificially built city. It’s really a one-of-a-kind experience, especially during sunrise, when the warm morning light floods the landscape. We promise that you won’t be able to stop gazing in astonishment while looking at the life going on in the buildings, lakes, and streets beneath you.

Telstra Tower

What would a city without a viewpoint be? Let’s be honest, there’s hardly anything better than a view on a hot air balloon ride over Canberra. However, if that’s not your thing, we recommend a visit to the Telstra Tower.

With its 195 meters height, the telecommunications tower may not be that tall, and the viewing platform is also only 66 meters above ground. However, the tower’s location makes up for it: The Telstra Tower is located on the Black Mountain, which is over 800 meters high! From here, you can enjoy an extensive and unique view of the city.

Australian National Botanic Gardens

There is a lot to see, not only at the top of Black Mountain, but also at its foot, because this is where the Australian National Botanic Gardens are. These gardens are home to an incredible variety of plants – you’ll come across more than 600 types of eucalyptus trees. And with good reason, because the gardens are meant to preserve Australian plant biodiversity.

National Library of Australia

It’s time for some peace and quiet. Since its founding in 1901, the National Library of Australia has been collecting many books – nowadays, the collection holds an incredible number of 6 million volumes! You may browse a bit in many of them, as long as you’re careful. Or you can use the Wi-Fi or the many working spaces with power outlets in the gigantic main reading room. Wouldn’t that be the perfect place for you to sort through travel pictures and make room for new ones? Believe us when we say that Canberra is full of amazing photo spots!

National Gallery of Australia

You will have noticed by now – Canberra offers many exciting museums. They are all worth visiting, even if you usually aren’t an art and culture lover. The impressive National Gallery of Australia contains a large collection of various artworks. More precisely, it holds more than 100,000 paintings, pictures, drawings, sculptures, textiles, Aboriginal artifacts, and much more!

Conclusion

If you happen to be on the East Coast during your trip to Australia, be sure to visit Canberra! Even if the city has a very artificial feeling due to its geometrical configuration, it has a certain something to it.

The capital’s biggest highlights are without doubt the various museums and the Parliament House. Be sure to visit them, especially if you’re a fan of Australia’s politics and history. In any case, it’s always a good idea to learn more about the country you’re visiting.

The city may have been created artificially, but this doesn’t apply to the surrounding nature! Actually, it is as striking the rest of Australia, if not more so. A hot air balloon flight over Canberra is an experience you won’t ever forget. The Tesla Tower offers another great view.

Even compared to Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane, Canberra is not to be underestimated. You better add the capital to your bucket list right away! Especially if you have a day or two left on your trip, as Canberra is only a short detour away from Sydney. It will certainly be a great addition to your trip. So let’s go there, shall we?

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