Welcome to Canberra: Home of History and Culture
A lot of visitors usually skip Canberra when they visit Australia, especially if you are a first time visitor. It has always been Sydney or Melbourne, but did you know that Canberra is the capital of Australia? Canberra may not have the many beaches of Sydney or the eccentric cafes of Melbourne, but it offers a different side of Australia– history and culture. Canberra is a great place to visit, it houses different kinds of museums, collections and art galleries that you might even get an 'experience overload', so make sure that you pick the places that you want to go to well and ask your group which attractions you prefer to go to. You can also do a lot of sightseeing activities, just make sure that you plan your time well because most often than not, you might end up staying longer to a certain place.
How to plan your Canberra getaway
If you plan to drive with your family, Sydney is about three hours away to Canberra, and six hours from Melbourne. It is quite a drive, but the scenic route makes it worthwhile, so just make sure you have a lot of snacks with you. I highly suggest that you do a day trip or an overnight trip to Canberra. I guarantee you that Canberra can offer something different than Syndey and Melbourne cannot. If you do decide to check out Canberra, I highly suggest that you do a day trip or an overnight trip to Canberra. So for those who are planning to drive from Melbourne to Sydney or vice versa, make sure that you stop at Canberra, it really is something else. When you get there, you will notice that there aren't a lot of high rise buildings or malls. It is because most, if not all, of the government offices are located here. So it would be nice if you drive around the city and see some of the government offices, make sure to pass by the Parliamentary Triangle. Who knows, you might even be able to meet a politician crossing the road. Australia National University, the number one university in Australia, is also located here. So if you have any of your children with you, it might be a good idea to walk around the campus and see what's going on. Students might have some activities in the area for them to enjoy. For accommodations, there are a lot of options for you, so do not worry too much. Everything in Canberra is nearby so wherever you choose to stay will be a good place. Just make sure that it fits your budget.
Where to go?
As I mentioned before, Canberra has a lot of museums and galleries, so it is really up to you on what kind of experience you want to do. As for something more outdoors, Canberra offers a variety of gardens and parks where you can do several activities with your friends and family. Here are my top picks and must visit attractions that you cannot miss:
Now that you are actually there. One of the most memorable tours you can do is the War Memorial
. You can learn a lot about Australia's history and the military here especially during WWI and WWII. What I remember the most was there were so much different kinds of guns and machines that were on display, which I thought was a little bit scary and cool at the same time. They also showcase exhibitions and feature different things, so you may want to look at their website as you might see something interesting. When I was there, they had exhibited different textiles and fashion related goods with the theme of LOVE. It was quite interesting to see that, especially in a war memorial.
Royal Australian Mint
One would also enjoy their mint factory. No, I am not talking about mint candies or Willy Wonka factories, but what I am talking about is the Royal Australian Mint
, where all the Aussie coins are being made. The visit involves seeing a ton of coins, of course, but you also get to see the whole process and the tour is interactive so it won't be boring. They also show their National Coin Collection which showcases a lot of unique and rare coins that will surely increase your curiosity. Adults and children will surely enjoy the visit because the educational experience offers something different for any age.
Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre
If you are one of those people who like to do activities or have any children with you, you should make sure that you visit Questacon
, the National Science and Technology Centre, where each room is always an adventure. The actual building is such a sight to see because you already know that it is quite interesting. It may look like kids will only enjoy it, but there are so many science concepts being explained that any person who visits will have an amazing time and will learn something new.
What you should not miss visiting is Telstra Tower
. I suggest that you do it when the sun is about to set because the view is just amazing and you get an extraordinary experience because mother nature will make it more beautiful with the different colors of the sky. The 360-degree view of Canberra is a good way to end your day because you can see the whole region in just five minutes, so you wouldn't feel so bad about skipping the rest of the attractions. Make sure that you breathe in the fresh air and appreciate the view as much as you can. If you are too scared or too cold to go out, they have an enclosed gallery where you can feel safe and warm but still experiencing the breathtaking view.
I will not be surprised if you do decide to extend your stay for a day or two. Canberra is one of those places that when you are there, you become more curious about the place. So if you do decide to extend, do visit the Australian National Museum. If you're tired from all those attractions, visit the Botanic Gardens or take a hike in the Black Mountain. Whatever you do decide, I am sure that your visit to Canberra will be a memorable stay. So good luck and start planning!