Parklands Hotel and Apartments
Australia’s capital city may be known as the home as Parliament House but there’s more to Canberra than politics. Guests can look forward to a wide selection of museums and galleries, plenty of creativity, and easy access to gorgeous green spaces. Stay in a rural B&B or spend a night or two in a luxury city hotel. No matter where you choose to call home, you’ll find a cosmopolitan landscape on your doorstep.
Arts and culture are alive and kicking in Canberra. Explore the past by visiting the National Museum of Australia, the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, and the Australian War Memorial or admire the beautiful buildings housing the likes of Parliament House and the National Library of Australia. Art lovers can take a trip to the National Gallery of Australia and the National Portrait Gallery or head to Braddon where a more hands on experience can be enjoyed at the Ainslie and Gorman twin arts centres. During your stay, you might also be lucky enough to catch one of the many festivals and cultural events that take place in and around the city. The National Multicultural Festival, a free festival held every February since 1996, is among the most popular of these events.
Despite the cluster of big buildings in the capital, there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. You won’t need to travel far to access green spaces; Canberra Nara, Kings, and Commonwealth Parks and the Jerrabomberra and Mount Pleasant Nature Reserves all sit neatly around Lake Burley Griffin. Landscaped gardens such as the National Rose Garden, the Senate Rose Gardens, and Beijing Garden are all equally nearby. You can also visit Cockington Green Gardens in Gold Creek Village which combines pristine gardens with a steam train ride and miniature replicas of world-famous buildings such as Machu Picchu and Braemar Castle. If you don’t mind exploring a little further afield, Brindabella National Forest and Marchmont Park Alpacas are both within an hours’ drive of the centre of Canberra.
If you’re visiting Canberra with your family, you’ll find that there’s plenty to keep all ages entertained in Australia’s capital city. Younger guests will enjoy a trip to the 25-acre National Zoo & Aquarium where inhabitants include brown bears, giraffes, and dingoes. Serious animal fans can take part in the award-winning behind the scenes Zooventure Tour. Just 20 minutes away in the Nicholls ACT, you can visit the Canberra Reptile Zoo or check out magnificent beasts of the past at the National Dinosaur Museum. Further afield in Burnelee, families can enjoy horseback excursions near the Yass River. On Lake Burley Griffin’s southern shore, Questacon - the National Science and Technology Centre features over 200 interactive exhibitions while, in Macquarie, families can cool down at the Big Splash Waterpark.
Retail enthusiasts will find plenty to keep them entertained during a stay in Canberra. The shopping scene here features everything from big department stores and outlet centres to boutique outlets. Local creations tend to take pride of place here and are perhaps best found at the numerous markets that take place in and around the city. One of the most well-known, the Old Bus Depot Markets, take place in Kingston although the Hartley Hall Markets are also popular. Foodies are in for an equally good experience and, again, markets are prevalent. Head to the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets and the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets to stock up on locally produced goodies. If you prefer to dine out, the Manuka and Braddon precincts feature dining experiences in everything from casual cafes to stylish hotels.
While there’s nothing wrong with going solo, one of the best ways to experience a new city is with the help of a local guide. Thankfully, tours are easily accessible for a wide range of attractions and points of interest in and around Canberra. Explore the city on a guided bike tour, meander along the shoreline of Lake Burley Griffin on a Segway, or get close to the water aboard a lake cruise tour. You might also seek to enjoy the area from a new vantage point; hot air balloon tours are popular in the area and helicopter tours can be arranged at the airport. Additional itinerary ideas include walking tours of Acton, trips from Griffith to Bungendore on an early 1900s heritage train, Aboriginal cultural tours, and tours of Canberra’s wineries. Still determined to go it alone? A good place to start is Canberra Tracks, a collection of six self-drive heritage trails.