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National Museum of Australia

Explore the vast collection of Aboriginal art and artifacts, learn about the country’s colonial past, and see maps, vehicles, weapons and jewelry. 

The National Museum of Australia documents and interprets the country’s history. It occupies an enormous multicoloured building designed to reflect the different stories of Australia’s past and present. The museum holds thousands of items across dozens of exhibits. They cover everything from Aboriginal history to gold mining, immigration and industrial growth. 

The indigenous halls have artifacts from Aboriginal communities across the country. There are stone tools from past millennia, shields, boomerangs and carved axes. You’ll also see famous artworks from the Papunya region, goods exchanged between European settlers and native people and significant items from recent indigenous history.

In the exhibits documenting the exploration of Australia you’ll get to look at maps from the time when there was only speculation about a southern continent. See a cannon thrown overboard from Captain Cook’s ship in the 18th century and read up on inland expeditions. 

Check out the huge range of colonial artifacts, including convict tokens, old furniture and weapons. There are gems like a document written by infamous highwayman Ned Kelly and the last pair of dueling pistols ever used in the country. 

The agriculture and environment sections feature exhibits about rural life, while the country’s engineering feats are on show in the industrial galleries. The museum is also home to a great collection of vintage cars and one of the world’s oldest functioning paddle steamers. Take a break in the Garden of Australian Dreams, a garden built around a massive, to-scale map of a region in Central Australia. 

History buffs should attend one of the frequent lecture series or a special exhibition. Check the museum’s website for details. 

The National Museum of Australia is on the Acton Peninsular, about 1.5 miles (two kilometers) southwest from Canberra’s central business district. It’s open every day except Christmas Day. Admission is free, and guided tours are available for a small fee. There is free parking on-site for four hours. ACTION buses from Canberra’s central business district service the museum.


Guide to Exploring around National Museum of Australia


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Lodging Near National Museum of Australia

See all 102 Hotels near National Museum of Australia
$202
Hyatt Hotel Canberra - a Park Hyatt

Hyatt Hotel Canberra - a Park Hyatt

Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla
4.5
of 5, from 142 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in Capital Hill, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Albert Hall and Old Parliament House. National Gallery of Australia and Parliament House are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$131
Novotel Canberra

Novotel Canberra

65 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra
3.9
of 5, from 384 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Canberra hotel is located near the airport, within a 10-minute walk of City Hill, Canberra Centre, and Lake Burley Griffin. Australian War Memorial and National Museum of Australia are also within 2 mi (3 km).

$108
Peppers Gallery Hotel

Peppers Gallery Hotel

15 Edinburgh Avenue, Canberra
4.1
of 5, from 142 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in City Centre, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of National Film & Sound Archive and National Museum of Australia. Old Parliament House and Australian National Botanic Gardens are also within 2 mi (3 km).

$142
Hotel Hotel

Hotel Hotel

25 Edinburgh Ave, Canberra
4.2
of 5, from 75 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in City Centre, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of National Film & Sound Archive and National Museum of Australia. Australian National Botanic Gardens and Old Parliament House are also within 2 mi (3 km).

$102
Capital Executive Apartment Hotel

Capital Executive Apartment Hotel

108 Northbourne Ave, Braddon
3.5
of 5, from 187 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in City Centre, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Canberra Centre, Canberra Theatre Centre, and Australian National University.

$123
BreakFree Capital Tower

BreakFree Capital Tower

2 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra
3.8
of 5, from 93 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in City Centre, this apartment is within 1 mi (2 km) of National Film & Sound Archive and National Museum of Australia. Old Parliament House and Australian National Botanic Gardens are also within 2 mi (3 km).

$146
QT Canberra

QT Canberra

London Circuit, Canberra
4.1
of 5, from 183 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in City Centre, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of National Film & Sound Archive and National Museum of Australia. Old Parliament House and Australian National Botanic Gardens are also within 2 mi (3 km).

$111
Crowne Plaza Canberra

Crowne Plaza Canberra

1 Binara Street, Canberra
4.1
of 5, from 275 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Canberra hotel is located near the airport, within 1 mi (2 km) of Glebe Park and Australian War Memorial. National Museum of Australia and Old Parliament House are also within 2 mi (3 km).