They call it ‘home of the Australian story’. The nation’s capital, purpose built amongst flat green paddocks. Canberra conjures images of parliament, heated debate and the pomp and ceremony of political life. But it’s also a little surprise package for visitors.
All Australia’s greatest gifts are represented in some form; culturally, historically, indigenous heritage, art, sport and national festivities.
Take a walk through one of the greatest dedicated sporting facilities, the Australian Institute of Sport. With a personal elite athlete as your guide see some of the country’s greatest sporting champions as they live and train to represent the nation in a multitude of sporting achievements. Then have some fun in Sportex, an interactive sports experience. See how you fair rock climbing, virtual rowing, skateboarding, with winter sports and penalty football shoot-outs.
Be moved and pay your respects at the Australian War Memorial. Not only a centre for reflection and commemoration, the wartime museum provides an insight into past experiences of Australian soldiers during war.
The National Capital Exhibition is a snapshot of how the nation’s capital came to be and the National Gallery of Australia houses more than 100,000 works of art, including the famed painting the Blue Poles. The kids will love Questacon (and mum and dad most likely) an interactive National Science and Technology Centre. Ride a virtual roller coaster, experience an earthquake, see lightning appear and a whole lot more though seven fascinating exhibitions.
See where Australia’s currency was first created at the Royal Australian Mint, the country’s National Film and Sound Archive, the hushed hallways of the High Court of Australia, and of course the star attraction, Parliament House. See Canberra laid out before you from the roof of the seat of government, and see our politicians in action from 2pm on days that government is seated.
You can’t miss the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, home to the great dish that scans the universe for terrestrial life and has long been a communication lifeline for NASA’s Deep Space Network.
Canberra is very civilised with its own offerings of fine wine and dining, along with traditional pubs and beer gardens. Happy Hour at Old Parliament House each Friday is a must and treat yourself to a show at one of the oldest continuously operating theatre companies in Australia at the Canberra Repertory Society.
The open spaces surrounding Canberra provides a stunning show of its own year round. The city has embraced nature in its well planned layout, incorporating a great deal of the environment into parklands and lovely trail walks. A short drive from the centre of town, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is where you can wander alongside some of your favourite native animals without fences.
Possibly the most striking of all Canberra’s many festivals has to be Floriade, a celebration of the arrival of spring. See the colour and inhale the aroma of hundreds of blooms and enjoy the multitude of festivities that accompany the festival.
The nation’s capital is a most entertaining, fascinating and educational city to visit and will surprise those who take the time to explore it.