Set around its attractive lake, the national capital manages to combine urban sophistication with plenty of space and fresh air. There’s so much to see and do here, and Canberra is the ideal destination for a brief escape.
From Sydney, travel southwest on the Hume Highway (Route 31). If you need a break, turn off the highway into Goulburn, where you’ll find cafes and the famous Big Merino. Beyond here, take the Federal Highway (Route 23), which passes Lake George before bringing you into the heart of the national capital.
With over thirty national institutions, parks, bushland, some great restaurants and a thriving arts scene, Canberra offers a fantastic range of attractions. Black Mountain is one of the best places to start your visit - the view from the Telstra Tower is breathtaking! The nearby Australian National Botanic Gardens are worth a look, as is the National Capital Exhibition, which relates Canberra’s history. Also on Lake Burley Griffin’s northern side are the poignant Australian War Memorial, the Australian Institute of Sport and the National Film and Sound Archive.
Most of the city’s major attractions are located in the Parliamentary Triangle, on the south side of the lake. Parliament House, the National Gallery of Australia, the entertaining Questacon centre, and Old Parliament House, which now contains the National Portrait Gallery, are all Canberra ‘musts’. You could also take an interesting drive around Yarralumla, home to most of Canberra’s seventy or so diplomatic missions.
It’s also worth spending some time exploring the Australian Capital Territory. There are wineries to visit, you can call in at 1859 Lanyon Homestead and the Nolan Gallery, and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Namadgi National Park offer a great combination of wildlife and walks.
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