Canberra is often overlooked by tourists who are intent on exploring the neon lights of Sydney and Melbourne, but the Australian capital is well worth a visit. If you’re hoping to see the sights and gain an insight into the culture during your tailor-made Australia holiday, you won’t be disappointed if you choose to spend a couple of days in Canberra.
The best views: Discover Mount Ainslie Lookout
If you’re keen to enjoy the best views of Canberra, head up to the Mount Ainslie Lookout. Canberra boasts an enviable location, surrounded by mountains, and its beauty cannot really be appreciated until you take to the hills and enjoy a bird’s eye view. As you hike or cycle up the mountain, you’ll be treated with magnificent panoramic views, which showcase the city and the surrounding geographical wonders, including Lake Burley Griffin, in all their glory. You can drive most of the way, but if you’ve got the energy and the stamina, it’s best to travel on foot or by bike. The best times to visit the lookout are sunrise and sunset. There are usually fewer people around, and the vistas are even more breathtaking bathed in subtle golden light.
Back at sea level, there’s a host of attractions and sights on offer. Perhaps the highlight for most tourists is Parliament House. Opened in 1988, this expansive building, which is set on a hill, was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II. The building features a towering flagpole and it’s open to the public. The old parliament building, which housed political leaders for 61 years, is now home to the Museum of Australian Democracy. Art enthusiasts will love the National Gallery of Australia, which showcases works by Australian artists and traditional Aboriginal art.
The Australian War Memorial is a domineering structure, which was erected to commemorate those who have lost their lives in combat. The giant dome-shaped mausoleum was designed by architects, Emil Sodersten and John Crust and built in 1941. The memorial hosts a service every year on Anzac Day (25th April), which is attended by thousands. If you’re looking for a fun family day out or you’re an animal fan, the National Zoo and Aquarium comes highly recommended. Here, you can see hundreds of different species, including Tasmanian devils, African lions, pygmy hippos, alligators, wombats and, of course, everybody’s favourite Australian native, the koala.