Destination NSW
Australian Capital Territory
Canberra & SurroundsDiscover the home of the Australian story in the nation's capital city, Canberra.
This young, modern city with a population of 400,000 is home to an array of national attractions that hold and share the essence of Australia. Beyond the iconic striking 'house on the hill' otherwise known as Parliament House, you'll find experiences showcasing Australia's history, culture and lifestyle. Marvel at the world's largest collection of Australian Indigenous art at the National Gallery of Australia. Commemorate, reflect and remember at the Australian War Memorial and discover the characters and stories that have shaped our nation at the National Museum of Australia. At the Australian Institute of Sport be inspired by the strength, skill and commitment required by elite athletes to succeed in their chosen fields. See the country through the eyes of artists at the National Portrait Gallery and uncover events that have shaped the nation at the Museum of Australian Democracy. There's plenty of open space to refresh and recharge. Meet-a-cheetah at the National Zoo and Aquarium or grab your mountain bike for a thrilling ride down Mount Stromlo at the multi-use sporting facility at Stromlo Forest Park. Hire a bike and enjoy Canberra's impressive cycle paths or venture to Tidbinbilla to experience nature and spot native wildlife while on one of the many walks. Closer to the city are the National Arboretum and the Australian National Botanic Gardens - two of the city's must-see living gems. A bounty of delicious food awaits at the city's many markets where you can sample directly from local farmers and producers. Canberra offers an enticing array of eateries located in several precincts across the city. You'll find everything from hatted fine dining restaurants to casual cafes. Need some retail therapy? From luxury boutiques to shopping malls and markets featuring goods by local designers, there's plenty to choose from. If you still have time to explore, consider a winery tour to sample award-winning cool-climate Canberra district wines at vineyards surrounding the city or use Canberra as a base to explore the nearby pristine NSW Snowy Mountains and South Coast.
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Things to do
Visit Remembrance Nature Park
This nature park commemorates the signing of the armistice on 11 November 1918 and the Aboriginal people who served in the armed forces. Walk through the park from the Australian War Memorial and join up with the Mount Ainslie Summit Trail. Make the most of the sealed trail through a series of interpretive signs.
See Parliament House in action
See democracy in action at Australia’s iconic Parliament House high on Capital Hill. During Question Time see the country’s elected politicians make the big decisions on behalf of the nation. Take a guided tour, visit the popular Queen's Terrace Cafe, view historic documents and see an impressive collection of Australian art including one of the world’s largest tapestries based on an Arthur Boyd design. Like the Facebook 'Visit Australian Parliament House' for up-to-date
National Gallery of Australia
Delight in the art and world-class exhibitions on show at the National Gallery of Australia, on the shores of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin. Art lovers will enjoy meandering through the galleries and admiring the collection, which includes the famous 'Blue Poles' by Jackson Pollock and the Ned Kelly series by Sidney Nolan. The new Australian and International art galleries provide plenty of things to see, following a large-scale rehang of almost every piece. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collection comprises over 7500 works and is the largest in the world. Tours and activities are a great way to get more out of your visit. One hour Gallery Highlight Tour available 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 12.30 pm, 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm daily.
Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House
A national icon of superb design and historical significance, Old Parliament House in Canberra is home to the Museum of Australian Democracy. As the first and only museum dedicated to telling the story of Australian democracy, the museum offers a range of innovative exhibitions, tours and activities for all ages. Be inspired by amazing stories of ordinary people who actively fought to shape today's society, discover where Australia has come from and get involved in where the country is headed. Forty-five minute guided tour available at 10.45 am, 11.45 am, 1.45 pm and 2.45 pm daily.
Enjoy the Australian National Botanic Gardens
Escape from the city in this beautiful collection of Australian plants at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, located minutes from the hustle and bustle of the Canberra city centre. Offering a breathtaking array of native plants in a spectacular bushland setting, this is the only place in the world you’ll see this diversity of Australian native plants in one location. With year-round events, school holiday programs, exhibitions, guided walks and talks, a cafe, botanical gift shop and even a day spa, this is the perfect way to connect to nature.
Pay respect at the Australian War Memorial
The Australian War Memorial is pleased to be the recipient of TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Award for the number one landmark in both Australia and the South Pacific for 2016. Bringing together a world-class museum, a shrine and an extensive archive, the Australian War Memorial in Canberra is a moving and insightful experience for both young and old. Discover the diverse Australian experiences of war and connect with the stories of people and events that shaped Australia. With the purpose of commemorating the sacrifice of Australians who have died in the war, the Memorial is a place to pay your respects and discover what it means to be Australian. Ninety-minute guided tour available at 10 am, 10.15 am, 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm and 2 pm daily.
Lake Burley Griffin
The masterful centrepiece of Canberra, the large and lovely Lake Burley Griffin is an ideal water playground, whether you’re into rowing, sailing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding or fishing. Cyclists and walkers are well catered for along the 40km shoreline, and nothing beats a picnic in its numerous parks and gardens. For those seeking a more leisurely experience, take a cruise, catch a ferry, or simply enjoy the water views from one of the many lake-side cafes and restaurants.
Follow the Australians of the Year Walk
The Australians of the Year Walk is a permanent record of the Australians selected to be Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Local Hero. Take the lakeside walk, read about these Australians and discover this symbol of national aspiration and achievement for yourself. Search for the five metal strips that form the five stave lines of a music score. The plinths represent the notes to the music score of Advance Australia Fair, which can be read from West to East.
Walk Anzac Parade
Anzac Parade is the National Capital's major commemorative way. Walk the length of the parade past memorials dedicated to Australian and New Zealand service people who've fought and died in war. The red gravel central strip of this visually powerful landmark was originally made from crushed Canberra house bricks, chosen, in part, to echo the crunch made by military boots during a parade. Anzac Parade's dark eucalypt 'walls' are created by Victorian Blue Gum. Central planter boxes are sewn with native New Zealand Hebe 'Otari Delight' to symbolise the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps connection.
Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre
Discover the smarter way to have fun at Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre. There’s something for everyone as you experience science in extraordinary ways at this Gold Australian Tourism Award Winning tourist attraction. Free-fall down a six-metre slide, freeze your own shadow, experience an earthquake or challenge a robot to a game of air hockey. Little scientists will enjoy Mini Q as they play, discover and learn in an exhibition specifically designed for 0–6-year-olds. Questacon’s eight interactive exhibitions feature more than 200 hands-on experiences, designed for visitors of all ages to touch, play and explore. Questacon’s exhibitions cover a range of science topics, from astronomy to zoology and everything in between. No visit to Questacon is complete without watching—and perhaps taking a starring role—in a Spectacular Science Show. Questacon is only a short walk from the centre of Canberra and is in an ideal location for visitors to enjoy some of Canberra’s best tourist experiences. When you need a break, Questacon’s Café provides the perfect spot to recharge and refuel. Questacon’s Q Shop offers a range of science-themed toys, gifts and souvenirs to continue the Questacon experience after you leave.
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