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Canberra Getaway

Home > Sydney > Weekend Escapes
Published May 25th 2010
Canberra is so full of attractions that it would take several weeks to see them all. What that means is that you should have no problem enjoyably filling the limited time allocated to sightseeing.

To gain an overview of Walter Burley Griffin's planned city, head to the top of Mt Ainslie, from where one finds a perfect lookout over the north-south land axis around which Canberra is based. If you can, take the time to stroll along Lake Burley Griffin, the artificial waterway that cuts perpendicularly across the land axis, and which is right near the CBD. Then there's Black Mountain Tower, from where one can gain a broad panorama of the city.

There's a long list of places that help make Canberra the national capital that it is. The most significant of these are Parliament House, Old Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial, all of which are fascinating. Other big-ticket items include the National Museum of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, National Portrait Gallery and National Capital Exhibition.

The National Library of Australia, National Archives of Australia, National Film and Sound Archive, Royal Australian Mint and High Court all contain interesting displays, while the Australian Institute of Sport offers revealing behind-the-scenes tours. Anzac Parade, Reconciliation Place and the Changi Chapel feature significant and sombre memorials. The International Flag Display gives a taste of Canberra's foreign flavour; and if you want to savour more of it and if you've got a car take a driving tour of the embassies, many of which are spectacular. While you're at it, stop outside The Lodge and Government House, both of which are in the vicinity.

To get a feel for Canberra as a city, rather than a mere capital, the place to head is the Canberra Museum and Gallery. And to get a feel for the early days including before it was chosen as Australia's seat of government you'll need to pop into old properties like Blundells' Cottage, Mugga-Mugga, Tuggeranong Homestead, Calthorpes' House, Lanyon Homestead and St John's Schoolhouse Museum.

If you prefer science to history, you may wish to include the Deep Space Communication Complex, the CSIRO Discovery Centre and Questacon on your itinerary.

With so many things to see and do, it's time you discovered (or rediscovered) your capital. To plan your visit, whether travelling by bus, plane, train or automobile, click here.

For deals and packages, click here
For accommodation, click here
For tours and entry tickets, click here
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Why? Know your capital, know your country
When: Autumn and spring are the most pleasant times to visit
Where: Canberra
Cost: Transport, accommodation, meals and other expenses will set you back several hundred dollars
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