I arrived on an early morning flight to Canberra Airport and I rewarded myself with a delicious cappuccino before collecting my luggage. I hadn't visited the Canberry Airport since the big renovation and I was blown away by how modern and spacious it is now. If it weren't for the ticket counters and gates, I would've thought I was in an upscale shopping mall. It's nice to see Australia's capital get the airport it truly deserves. After I finished my coffee, I rented a car ( list of car hire providers at Canberra Airport here) and then went to my hotel.
Once I got settled into my hotel, my first stop was the Australian War Memorial. Besides paying respects for the fallen, the museum had a really great set of gallery exhibits and combat displays. I especially liked all the personal stories, where you got to see what war was like on the individual level. The tour ends with a stroll through their amazing sculpture garden, which is definitely a must see.
Of course Canberra's most unique feature is the Parliament House. This governmental icon is a real crowd-pleaser so be sure to plan ahead if you want to take the tour. Not only is the building itself an architectural wonder, but inside, visitors get to browse the more than 4,000 works of art that adorn this magnificent structure.
I ended my day with a stroll through the Australian National Botanic Gardens. I was expecting a few flowers and plants, of course, but I felt like I had been transported to paradise when I saw the lush rainforest. I then explored the rock gardens, took an amazing photo of the eucalyptus lawns, and learned a lot about native plants. Truly worth the price of admission.
Captain Cook Memorial located on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin
The next morning I took a long bicycle ride around the gorgeous shores of Lake Burley Griffin. There are several marked paths and the lovely combination of gently undulating waves and stately trees ringing the lake made me want to stay there all day.
Saving the best for last, I then popped on over to Questacon, an interactive science museum and hall of wonders. Officially known as the National Science and Technology Centre, this futuristic cube of a building houses one of the most amazing interactive educational experiences in Australia.
Adults and kids of all ages can get their hands on actual experiments in the Q Lab, learn about creatures living far underwater in Deep Oceans and discover the wonders of optical illusions at the Perception Deception. I've been fascinated with holograms since I was a kid, and it was really cool to visit the Wonderworks section of Questacon and learn how holograms are made (hint: it involves lasers!)
I definitely wish I could've stayed longer, as each time I return to Canberra I become more entranced by the city's lovely charm and unique atmosphere. For anyone who has ever been curious to visit Australia's stately capital, I wholeheartedly recommend a weekend getaway.