The Capital of Australia and the Australian Capital Territory
Canberra is Australia’s largest inland city, with a population of just under 500,000. It is a part of the Australian Capital Territory, and is not located in any State of Australia, much like Washington is in the District of Columbia in the United States. Canberra is a well laid out, planned and organised city. Canberra is 280 K (170 M) from Sydney and 660 K (410 M) from Melbourne. It can be visited in a day trip from Sydney.
Things to do
There are plenty of fun things to do in and around Canberra and its a great place to bring the family. A couple of suggestions and below:
The Houses of Parliament: Located on Capital Hill in the lower circle at the head of the Parliamentary Triangle.
Questicon Science Museum: A fun and interactive science museum. Great for families.
National Gallery of Australia:
The Australian War Memorial and Museum: Well worth visiting, this is located off to the left of the Upper Circle of Canberra City Downtown at the end of Anzac Way near the Reid Oval.
Mount Ainslie: Great Views out over the City: Look in the top right hand corner of the Canberra Australian Travel Map.
Prime Ministers House and Foreign Embassies: The Prime Ministers House (The Lodge) is located in Deakin, to the south west of Parliament House. Most of the foreign embassies are built in the style of architecture of their home country, and are located in the area just to the left of Parliament House.
The Mint: The Royal Australian Mint is the sole producer of all of Australia’s circulating coins.
Stromlo Forest Park: Officially opened in 2007, Stromlo Forest Park is a world-class, multi-use recreational sporting facility available to both recreational and professional users.
National Arboretum Canberra: Featuring forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world.
History of Canberra
There had been settlers in the area since the 1820’s, and the land was still largely Eucalypt forests and mountain ranges. In 1908, to put an end to the fighting between Sydney and Melbourne as to which should be the Capital of Australia, it was decided to favour neither of the contestants. Instead, a brand new city was created in between the two. It was to be a planned city, and in 1913 work started under the direction of U.S. Architect Walter Burley Griffin. It is today a monument to Federal Government, home to the Houses of Parliament, most foreign embassies and a range of top political and legal institutions.
Geography and Climate
Travel Destination Canberra is 150K (93 M) inland from the East Coast of Australia. It is set on a plain in a basin, with mountains to the west that cause a bit of a rain shadow. The summers are warm to hot, with highs averaging 28 C (82 F). Winters are cool to cold, and while snow does not settle in the city, it is often on the peaks around. Winter average highs are 11 C (52 F) with overnight freezes. Rainfall is about 616 mm (24″) annually and is evenly distributed through the year. Travel Destination Canberra is home to the Australian War Museum, one of the World’s best.
Getting to Canberra
Regular flights leave Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane as non-stops, with connecting services from most other cities. If you are self driving, it will take about 4 hours to drive from Sydney, and about 10 hours to drive from Melbourne. If time is short, it is possible to take a one day tour that will cover the main points from Sydney. If you don’t want to drive from Sydney, the rail services are a good option.
Map of Canberra
Zoom in and out for an interactive map of Canberra