3 years and 2 months ago, I landed in Australia to start my double masters here and a new adventure in a completely new land.
In this roller coaster of 3 years, I never got a chance to visit Canberra but when I did, I fell in love with the city. Canberra is Australia’s capital city contrary to the general belief that Sydney is or some may like to believe that Melbourne is.
As we were driving down the city center, I could feel the calmness of the city. The city is very well planned with stunning architecture and surrounded by a beautiful lake, Lake Burley Griffin. The Australian parliament is situated in Canberra and hence, it is called the home of Australia’s government. The city was chosen as the capital in 1908.
“Criminally overlooked Canberra packs a big punch for such a small city. National treasures are found round almost every corner and exciting new boutique precincts have emerged, bulging with gastronomic highlights and cultural must-dos.”- “Lonely Planet
Spread between the peak of Mount Ainslie and the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra has the country’s best museums and wildlife centers. There is just so much to see, that you can’t cover it in one day.
If like me, you are only visiting it for one day, these are the few things that you can do in Canberra but please give it at least two days to enchant you.
–New Parliament House: Since it is the home of the government, you have to visit the parliament house. We started at the New Parliament House. Australian Parliament house is probably one of the rare parliaments for the wide degree access that it provides to its visitors. You can see Mount Ainslie and the old parliament house from the new one. The architecture is stunning with a great deal of information about how the government of Australia functions. You can also access both the house of representatives and the Senate. Can you Imagine?! There are free guided tours that run throughout the day starting at 9:30 am,11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm and 3:30 pm.
There is free parking available for 2 hours, on weekends and public holidays. The rooftop of the parliament provides a great view of the city up till Mount Ainslie. The walls are decorated with a painting of prominent people in the government, and there is also a special recognition given to the indigenous people of Australia.
If you get hungry while going around the parliament, there is an amazing cafe located just inside the parliament. The amazing part is that you can enjoy a great high tea experience in the cafe called ‘The Queen’s Terrace Cafe.’ Another amazing part of the parliament is the Great Hall Tapestry. It took 13 weavers more than two years to complete and is one of the largest tapestries in the world.
Enjoy the photos below of the parliament house:
– National Museum Australia- Next Stop was National Museum of Australia. The museum is located on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin and the views are breathtaking. The entrance is as magnificent as the interiors of the museum.
There are four main galleries in the museum- Old New Land, The Journeys, The Landmarks, The First Australians( my favorite) and some open collections. Where every gallery has something prominent things to showcase, the first Australian was by far the best one, enriched with history and artifacts rarely seen by the public. First Australians is spread across two levels and by the end of it, I had a thorough understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples culture.
The Old New Land was exciting as it covered Australia’s diverse species and environments, how people have ventured out looking for a river in the center of the country (It’s quite bizarre), the introduction and importance of species like rabbits, and how people have responded and adapted to the land over time. Similarly, The Journeys explored the journey of people and objects that connect Australia to the world.
From exploring the history of Australia before the European Settlement to exploring what Australia is today, there is so much to see in the Museum. I could spend my entire day just in the museum.
FOOD- Food is a very important part of travel, isn’t it? I had food at the parliament cafe first and then at the museum cafe. The food in the cafe was average nothing mouth watering. I was suggested by local to visit Lonsdale street which I count this time. Next time, That’s the first place I am going to.
Let me know how your experience was in Canberra and what are some of the places you would suggest.