“Why are you going to Canberra?!” was the typical reply when I mentioned my travel plans. I quite enjoyed the looks of confused surprise when people heard I was going to the Australian capital for three and a half days.
I’ve been to Sydney and Melbourne plenty of times, Perth, Darwin and Brisbane already, and am visiting Adelaide and Alice Springs next month. I’ve spent six years exploring most of New Zealand, it’s not really a good time to go hiking given the unpredictable weather and spring snow melt, and the Pacific Islands (Fiji, Samoa, Rarotonga) were ridiculously expensive.
So when you’re after a long weekend break in early Spring and live in one of the most geographically isolated countries in the world options can be a little limited. Thus Canberra…
There are no direct flights from Auckland. In fact until two days before I went there hadn’t been any international flights for about fifteen years. Singapore Airlines though have just started a Singapore – Canberra – Wellington route linking the capitals. Another option is to drive about three hours from Sydney to Canberra.
Didn’t have the greatest start to the trip, with a three and a half hour stopover in Sydney due to flight delays, a ten minute taxi ride from Canberra airport into town costing $27, and finding the YHA located above a surprisingly noisy bar for a Thursday night in downtown Canberra.
However I’m happy to report that Canberra is a delightful place!
Some more specific posts to follow but here’s a bit of a taster of what Canberra has to offer…
The endless and varied shores of the man-made Lake Burley Griffth.
An awesome pop up container park at Westside Acton Park, sadly less busy than it deserves to be.
The hugely powerful Australian War Memorial, quite possibly better than the Imperial War Museum in London.
Reached by the epic ANZAC Avenue, home to numerous war memorials.
Striking if often rather brutalistic civic architecture at the High Court, National Art Gallery and National Carillon.
More sensitive / eclectic architecture at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra Airport and the endearingly crazy National Museum of Australia.
Street art and public sculptures scattered around the city, particularly in the City Centre / Civic area.
More funky modern architecture, much of it residential as the apartment boom seen elsewhere in Australia has reached Canberra.
Numerous references to the red centre of Australia at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, along ANZAC Avenue, and outside the Australian Parliament Building.
Easily accessible (by road or foot) scenic views from Mount Ainslie, Black Mountain Nature Reserve (from the Telstra Tower) and Red Hill.
Two parliaments, a Provisional Parliament used for 61 years, replaced in 1988 by the enormous 4,500 room Australian Parliament Building.
Finally, Floriade, the largest flower festival in the Southern Hemisphere, free entry and over a million bulbs in the beautiful setting of Centennial Park.
10 thoughts on “Hello Canberra”