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National Library of Australia
Vacation Travel Guide

Explore the collections of Australia’s biggest reference library to find books from all over the world, early European maps and documents from the first explorers. 

The National Library of Australia is the most comprehensive reference library in the country. It was formed as the National Parliamentary Library in 1901 and became the National Library in 1960. Its collection includes Asian literary works and documents, rare books and manuscripts, photographs, maps, paintings, music and video. Browse the archives, choose something interesting and settle down in a reading room. There are over 10 million items in the library catalogue, so you’re sure to find something to your taste. The periodicals section has copies of the first newspaper printed in Australia as well as an enormous range of overseas publications. Explore the manuscripts archive to see gems like Captain Cook’s journal and original documents written by the country’s first prime minister.

Brush up on your Aboriginal history in the Indigenous section or dig up old folk tales in the Oral History and Folk Law collections. The Asian history and culture section has a huge range of material from Japan, China and other countries in the region. You’ll find Buddhist scriptures from the 12th century as well as artworks and accounts from missionaries.

Move on to the maps rooms to see the first Dutch charts of the Australian coast, military plans, old atlases, and street directories. Pore over the image archives to see historical photographs and paintings. Dancers and lovers of the performing arts should look over the selection of materials from touring Australian dance and theatre companies.

The National Library of Australia also runs guided tours and holds special exhibitions throughout the year. The library is about one mile (1.6 kilometers) from Parliament House and there are several pay parking lots. ACTION buses from Canberra’s central business district stop here as well as other major attractions.

The library is open every day except Good Friday and Christmas Day. Admission is free, and there’s an on-site café, bookshop, and several reading rooms (check the library’s website for opening hours of individual rooms).

Top things to do in National Library of Australia

Top Hotels Close to National Library of Australia

Crowne Plaza Canberra
Crowne Plaza Canberra
4 out of 5
1 Binara Street, Canberra, ACT
The price is $112 per night from Mar 21 to Mar 22

Located in Canberra City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Glebe Park and National Convention Centre. Canberra Centre and Commonwealth Park are ...

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"Good service, friendly staff. Highly recommended! Thanks"…"

Reviewed on Feb 17, 2021

Crowne Plaza Canberra
Hyatt Hotel Canberra - a Park Hyatt
Hyatt Hotel Canberra - a Park Hyatt
5 out of 5
Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla, ACT
The price is $191 per night from Mar 14 to Mar 15

Located in Capital Hill, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Albert Hall, National Gallery of Australia, and Parliament House. Commonwealth Park and National ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (988 reviews)

"The property is an old and very well established historic building it was a delight to spend some time there yet again the staff and facilities are excellent in the bathroom renovations are truly five star"…"

Reviewed on Feb 12, 2021

Hyatt Hotel Canberra - a Park Hyatt
QT Canberra
QT Canberra
4 out of 5
1 London Circuit, Canberra, ACT
The price is $102 per night from Mar 28 to Mar 29

Located in Canberra City Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Lake Burley Griffin, Australian National University, and Commonwealth Park. National ...

4.2/5Very Good! (978 reviews)

"Handy location, pleasant enough room. Pillows were huge and I had difficulties sleeping the first night. I asked and got a more normal size pillow for the second night, which improved my sleeping a lot. There was no information about the hotel or surroundings in the room, but had to be downloaded ..."…"

Reviewed on Feb 24, 2021

QT Canberra
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near National Library of Australia

Crowne Plaza Canberra
Crowne Plaza Canberra
4 out of 5
1 Binara Street, Canberra, ACT
The price is $112 per night from Mar 21 to Mar 22
Crowne Plaza Canberra
Hyatt Hotel Canberra - a Park Hyatt
Hyatt Hotel Canberra - a Park Hyatt
5 out of 5
Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla, ACT
The price is $191 per night from Mar 14 to Mar 15
Hyatt Hotel Canberra - a Park Hyatt
QT Canberra
QT Canberra
4 out of 5
1 London Circuit, Canberra, ACT
The price is $102 per night from Mar 28 to Mar 29
QT Canberra
The Sebel Canberra Civic
The Sebel Canberra Civic
4.5 out of 5
197 LONDON CIRCUIT, Canberra, ACT
The price is $105 per night from Mar 21 to Mar 22
The Sebel Canberra Civic
Deco Hotel
Deco Hotel
4 out of 5
214 Northbourne Avenue, Braddon, Braddon, ACT
The price is $99 per night from Mar 21 to Mar 22
Deco Hotel
Rydges Canberra
Rydges Canberra
4.5 out of 5
Corner Canberra Ave & National Circuit, Forrest, ACT
The price is $84 per night from Mar 29 to Mar 30
Rydges Canberra
Hotel Realm
Hotel Realm
4.5 out of 5
18 National Circuit, Barton, ACT
The price is $162 per night from Mar 14 to Mar 15
Hotel Realm
Ovolo Nishi
Ovolo Nishi
5 out of 5
25 Edinburgh Ave, Canberra, ACT
The price is $146 per night from Mar 14 to Mar 15
Ovolo Nishi
Hotel Kurrajong Canberra
Hotel Kurrajong Canberra
4.5 out of 5
8 National Circuit, Barton, ACT
The price is $142 per night from Mar 14 to Mar 15
Hotel Kurrajong Canberra
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.