Canberra is a planned metropolis that architect Walter Burley Griffin envisioned as a garden city for some 25,000 people. The design was completed in 1912, and construction began in 1913. Political and economic complications prevented the city from being completed until the 1960s. Canberra is currently home to about 300,000 people. However, due to the unique de-centralized design, the city never feels crowded.
Things to Do
Floriade is Australia's "Celebration of Spring", and is a world-class floral exhibition. More than a million blooms go into the show, which stretches from mid September to Mid October.
As well as the stunning exibits, there are also horticultural workshops, music, local artistry and events that include the specacular Floriade NightFest.
If you like cultural attractions, you're in luck. Canberra is teeming with art museums and historical attractions for the entire family. Here's a list of a few of them.
The Australian War Memorial is a must-see museum. It has gallery exhibits, memorabilia, personal stories, combat displays, research facilities and a sculpture garden. It casts a personal light on the nature of war.
The National Museum details Australian history and culture via interactive displays, high-tech exhibits and many art galleries. The museum also features several restaurants, theaters and a resource center.
Parliament House is a constant crowd-pleaser with free guided tours that begin every thirty minutes. The building is an architectural wonder with outstanding landscaping that is complemented by white pillars. It's an impressive site to visit. There's an incredible collection of 4,000 works of art in these hallowed halls. When you've worked up an appetite, check out the terrific cafe.
The National Gallery is located on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. It concentrates on Australian artists, but there is also artwork from international talent. The National Gallery has children's exhibits, a sculpture garden, cafes and a gift shop.
The Australian National Botanic Gardens is a horticultural heaven for plant and flower lovers. It is home to rock gardens, native plants, eucalyptus lawns and its own rainforest. You'll be stunned by this beautiful garden.
Canberra has a lively nightlife due to the many young people who call it home. There are more cafes and restaurants per person than anywhere in Australia. If you like hitting the nightclubs or sampling local food, you'll love Canberra. If this has convinced you to visit, then you'll be happy to know that Canberra is an easy drive from Sydney, or you can snap up cheap flights from Melbourne or Perth.
If you're traveling with children, try these Canberra sites that cater to kids of all ages.
The National Zoo has the requisite unusual animals from the Land Down Under plus their own collection of monkeys, cheetahs, “tigons” and bears.
At the Australian Institute of Sport, kids can challenge themselves with wheelchair basketball, virtual rowing and other activities.
Cockington Green has a miniature train that travels on a bridge over a village of miniature buildings.
Your family can enjoy biking, boating or rollerblading around Lake Burley Griffin.
Where to Stay in Canberra
Canberra has all sorts of accommodations in town. You can try a quaint bed and breakfast, a luxurious hotel, an apartment, a youth hostel or a campsite. It all depends on your style. One thing's for sure, you won't run out of things to do in Canberra.