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Canberra Travel Tips

The site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation's capital in 1908 as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne.

Seasons

Canberra enjoys four distinct seasons.

  • In autumn, impossibly blue skies contrast with gold autumn leaves, and hundreds of hot air balloons fill the skies with colour during the Balloon Spectacular.

  • Winter mornings sparkle with frost, mist rises from Lake Burly Griffin, and the Jazz, Fireside and Truffle Festivals begin.

  • Spring arrives with a profusion of bulbs and the Floriade Festival, Australia's biggest celebration of spring.

  • Summer brings verdant green lawns, cricket season, multicultural outdoor festivals, and ends with Enlighten. Whatever time of year you visit Canberra, there is always something going on.

Art and Culture

  • At the National Museum of Australia exhibits cover environment change, history, aboriginal culture and Australian icons.

  • The National Gallery of Australia has more than 165,000 works and the world's largest collection of Indigenous Australian artwork including a ‘forest of souls' that you can walk through.  

  • Nearby, learn the story of Australia through portraits of the people who shaped it at the National Portrait Gallery.

  • The Australian War Memorial is one of the most satisfying museums in Canberra with halls dedicated to WWI, WWII and other conflicts. Experience a WWII ‘Striking by Night' or ‘The Great War in the Air' sound and light shows in the Anzac Hall. There are free guided tours.

  • At the Australian Parliament House where you can walk on its grass roof, stroll through exhibits and galleries, take a guided tour and enjoy the unique architecture.

  • Questacon (the National Science and Technology Museum) is a family friendly place with hands-on exhibits that will excite kids and grown ups about science.

Gardens

The Australian National Botanic Gardens has the world's most comprehensive display of Australian native plants and the National Arboretum has a one hundred year old cork oak forest and a Pod Playground - a cluster of giant acorns on stilts connected by tunnels - for the kids.

Food

Due to its climate and seasons, Canberra is a cornucopia of local produce and every cuisine imaginable is on offer. The best neighbourhoods in which to sample it are:

New Acton – Try Mocan and Green Grout for its free range eggs, local produce, and fair trade coffee; Parlour Wine Room for its posh yesteryear decor, extensive wine and cocktail list, and tapas made from local organic produce; and Bicicletta for its authentic Italian cuisine, its homemade pasta and gelati sourced from local ingredients, and its outdoor courtyard.

Kingston and Kingston ForeshoreC Dine Bar for excellent seafood and waterfront dining.

Manuka – for the award winning Aubergine and a string of other excellent restaurants.

Braddon – Try Bent Spoke Brewing for ales and hand pressed cider, Elk and Pea for Central American cuisine, and Sage Restaurant for organic culinary excellence in a relaxed environment.

Canberra CityBlu Ginger for superb Indian and an extensive wine list, and Pod Food for a locally sourced menu that changes with the seasons and its beautiful surroundings – it is a restored 1930s cottage with a garden terrace.

BartonOttoman for award winning Turkish cuisine in an art deco pavilion surrounded by gardens and water features.

Wine

Canberra is a wine growing district with more than 33 wineries within 30 minutes of the city. The range in temperature, vineyard elevations, and soil types has produced a range of varieties – from Riesling and Chardonnay to Pinot Noir, Shiraz, and more recently Sangiovese and Tempranillo.

Campervan sites

For Campervan sites try Alivio Tourist Park in Canberra's north or Canberra South Motorpark. Visit Canberra has a full list of campgrounds and van parks.

Hotels

The Best Hotels Deals in Canberra

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