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Published February 23rd 2017
Attractions you won't find in the tourist brochures
When visitors come to Canberra, they expect to see all the national buildings such as Parliament House, Old Parliament House, The Australian War Memorial and the national galleries and museums - and rightly so. There is a lot to see in the centre of the city, with the Parliamentary Triangle jam-packed with free things to see and do, by the calm waters of Lake Burley Griffin. For those who like to delve deeper into the places they visit or live, you may be surprised by some of the other attractions that can be found in the Capital City - some spooky, some surprising - but all worth checking out. You won't find brochures for these attractions at the Visitor Centre, however they may just be the highlight of your visit to the Capital, or for locals out exploring their own city.
Why don't you give one of these a try this weekend - if you dare!
1/ Escape Rooms have become a popular attraction all around the world and Canberra has three options to choose from, for those who want to be surprised - or scared! If you haven't heard of them before, an "Escape Room" is a physical adventure game in which players are locked in a room and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles and escape within a set time limit. Expedition Escape Rooms in the centre of the city offer a variety of rooms and missions to choose from for 3 to 6 people, with a one-hour time limit in which to complete it. Their rooms aren't designed to be scary, just tricky to get out of. Escape Rooms Canberra in Phillip however, are both. The "House on the Hill" room is a spine-tingling room to escape from in the time limit - if you can. Riddle Room in Franklin north of the city also offer a wide range of rooms, including the suspenseful Nightmare Room (see the You Tube clip below) - guaranteed to make you want to get out as fast as possible!
2/ Tim the Yowie Man is a popular local figure who specialises in the history of Canberra and paranormal activity. He often runs night tours of the city to delve into the city's dark past or mysterious goings on. Tim got his "Yowie Man" name from reportedly spotting a Yowie in the rugged Snowy Mountains, south of Canberra. He has since carved out a career as a mystery investigator and cryptonaturalist (the study of strange and hidden phenomena) and is an authority on paranormal and unusual phenomena in Australia. He also does overnight tours of spooky locations - if you don't plan on getting any sleep! See here for details.
3/ Mysterious Queanbeyan by Moonlight Tours also offer historical spooky night tours, across the border in NSW. Queanbeyan has a depth of history dating back to the 1800's with creaky cemeteries to walk through and cold jail cells to wander. These night tours begin long after dark and run for a few hours, before ending with a light supper before midnight. Popular tours are run on Friday 13th, Halloween and in the "Dead of Winter". See here for details.
History and suspense with Mysterious Queanbeyan by Moonlight Tour. Source: Original images from the MQBM Facebook
4/ Phar Laps heart is located at the National Museum of Australia, as it came to Canberra to be tested after his death in 1932. The surprising part? His heart is in Canberra, his skeleton is in Wellington (New Zealand) and his taxidermy body can be viewed at the Melbourne Museum, Victoria. Phar Laps heart, as well as the black dress worn by baby Azaria Chamberlain, are the two most requested items to be seen at the National Museum. Surprising and macabre. See here for details.
5/ Kambah Pools is Canberra's only nudist beach, located 20 minutes south of the CBD. A nudist beach in Canberra? Now that is surprising! The Murrumbidgee River is located west of the city with picnic areas at Cotter Reserve - however, what the tourist brochures won't tell you is that further south along the river there is a nudist beach, just a short distance from the Tuggeranong suburb of Kambah. If you are a "non-nudist", don't be put off visiting the area as there is a picturesque swimming family area at the main swiming hole, however if you turn right in the fork in the road, there is a nudist beach further around the bend. This particular area of Kambah Pools was designated as a nude bathing area back in the 1970s and has been the topic of conversation over the years for many locals. See here for details and here for a Google Map.
Do you enjoy beingspooked? Do you enjoy being surprised? These are just 5 ways to do both and experience another side of Canberra. Will you dare to try one this weekend?
A nudist beach in Canberra? Now that is surprising! Map: Original map supplied by TAMS ACT