By Caitlin Hornik
Did you know that Canberra is known as “the Bush Capital?” It is also one of the only planned cities in Australia, with many monuments surrounding the central Lake Burley Griffin. Lace up your sneakers, grab a cup of coffee (and maybe a truffle!), and explore Canberra!
Fun fact: New Parliament House is shaped like a boomerang! Parliament House is open 364 days a year, closing only on Christmas Day. Parliament House is one of the most accessible government buildings in the world! It is actually encouraged to visit during sitting times so that visitors can witness first-hand how Parliament functions. Parliament House offers incredible architecture, a cafe, historic documents and art, and so much more. Guided tours are available for visitors to get the full Parliament experience!
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Australian War Memorial
Paying tribute to every fallen Australian war hero since 1885, the Australian War Memorial is a sobering yet beautiful attraction to experience. There is a Commemorative Courtyard at the entrance to the memorial. The Australian War Memorial also holds archives, a museum, an art gallery, a library, and more. Guided tours are offered daily and run 90 minutes in length. The memorial is an excellent place to visit to learn more about what it means to be an Australian!
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Lake Burley Griffin
The centerpiece of Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin is named after the architect of the city, Walter Burley Griffin. Water sports are abundant here, with kayaking, rowing, and sailing among the available options. The beautiful shoreline is perfect for walking or biking! Many of Canberra’s other top attractions are situated around the lake. Commonwealth Park offers play areas for children, an amphitheater, and additional amenities to enhance your lakeside experience. There are also a number of restaurants and cafes to peruse!
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Australian National Botanic Gardens
Located just minutes from the Canberra city center, the Australian National Botanic Gardens offer an exciting array of Australian plants and species! Highlights here include the Red Centre Garden featuring plants of Central Australia, Euclayptus Lawn where visitors are invited to relax under Australia’s most famous trees, and the Rainforest Gully featuring a journey through eastern Australia’s lush rainforests. The gardens offer a Visitor Center, a bookshop, a cafe, and even a day spa! Guided tours of the gardens are available daily. Admission to the Australian National Botanic Gardens is free.
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Black Mountain Nature Reserve
A great compliment to a visit to Australian National Botanic Gardens or Lake Burley Griffin is Black Mountain Nature Reserve! Black Mountain is known for being a significant Aboriginal cultural place. The reserve is also known for its array of native wildlife, with wildflowers blooming in the spring and early summer months. Visitors can walk along the marked trails and should keep eyes and ears peeled for beautiful views and glimpses of birds, reptiles, and even kangaroos!
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Mount Ainslie Lookout
Easily accessible from the Canberra city center, Mount Ainslie Lookout provides some of the most spectacular views of the city! Visitors to the lookout can walk, bike, or drive to the top of the mountain. The lookout is actually a nature reserve and offers visitors the chance to see rare plants and birds from this region. It is important for visitors to stay on track so as not to disrupt the threatened species that call this area home!
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National Zoo and Aquarium
Australia’s only combined zoo and aquarium is located in Canberra! The zoo features a variety of animals from around the world as well as from Australia. There are opportunities to have personal animal encounters with cheetahs, bears, tigers, meerkats, and more! Home to the largest inland salt water tank in all of Australia, the aquarium offers visitors the opportunity to learn more about the animals that live in Australian waters. Walk underneath Shark Pier to view reef sharks, see a replica of the Great Barrier Reef, and walk through a Tropical Rainforest interaction! National Zoo and Aquarium is accessible from central Canberra by bus.
Learn more about National Zoo and Aquarium