Canberra has evolved into a truly international city, with a vibrant culinary scene, exceptional natural beauty and world-renowned artistic culture making it a must-visit destination.
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Australia's largest inland city and the seat of the Australia Federal Government, Canberra is now far more than just a town for politicians. With fantastic facilities, clean air, decent coffee, award winning museums and plenty to keep the visitor interested both indoors and out, Canberra has something to offer everyone no matter what the time of year.
What are the must-see attractions in Canberra?
With four distinct seasons and a stunning natural environment Canberra is, as legendary travel writer Bill Bryson once said, 'an extremely large park with a city hidden in it'. Unable to decide whether to award Melbourne or Sydney the honour of being Australia's capital city, the nation's leaders agreed to compromise and build a capital city roughly halfway between the two.
An entirely planned city, construction started in 1913. Original architect Walter Burley Griffin designed Canberra with a European sensibility that resulted in ample parklands, small contained suburban hubs and sweeping tree-lined boulevards that spiral outwards from the central lake named in his honour. As a result, Canberra is perfect for joggers, walkers and cyclists, with paths around the lake and nearby hills particular favourites for the local adventurers.
Canberra is so full of must-see attractions that it can be hard to choose, so here are some suggestions to get you started.
Canberra, like many Australian cities, knows how to throw an event. Heading to Canberra in spring? Be sure to check out Floriade - the flower festival that's home to an estimated 1 million blooms. Indulge yourself in the delicacies of the winter Truffle Festival, enjoy the lights of autumn's Enlighten Festival or get your hoon on for Summernats each summer.
As far as quality museums and galleries go, Canberra has more than its fair share. QUESTACON, the National Science and Technology Centre, is the perfect place to spend a day, with interactive displays and exhibits that will keep adults and children entertained for hours at a time.
Discover the culture, art and stories of the country, with the National Gallery of Australia, the National Museum of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery and the Australian War Memorial all well worth a visit. Geoscience Australia has an amazing collection of gems and artefacts, while the Australian National Botanic Gardens is the perfect place to get back to nature.
Looking for a rewarding bushwalk close to the centre of town? Climb to the top of Mt Ainslie, or visit Black Mountain Tower for impressive panoramic views across Canberra city and beyond. If it's fauna you're after, head to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve to see some of Australia's most famous native animals.
For lovers of food and drink, there is plenty to keep you interested no matter what the meal or time of day. With 140 vineyards and 40 wineries within a 35 minute drive from central Canberra, Canberra's 3 cool-climate wine regions offer a stunning range of beverages and experiences.
Closer to town, find the perfect coffee or microbrew in Braddon, explore the stylish bars of New Acton or grab a bite at high end restaurants in Ainslie, Narrabundah or London Circuit - there's more than enough culinary flavours and styles in Canberra to keep even the most discerning gourmand excited.
Just three hours by road from Sydney and seven hours from Melbourne, Canberra is also just 200km from New South Wales' ski fields, making it the perfect stop over on your way to or back from the snow. o matter what the time of year.