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Built from the ground up to be the center of Australia's government and national identity, this stately inland city is ready to share a broad, scenic perspective on the country. You're surrounded by national monuments arrayed around stately avenues and plenty of green space, where you can explore the country's history and art, admire the beautiful scenery, and find a wealth of things to do in Canberra that help you get to know what the city has to offer.
Set right up against the south side of Capital Hill, Forrest's spoke-like avenues are laid out along the original plans drawn up for Australia's federal city. Lined with suburban-style homes and plenty of trees, the area hosts a community of public servants and young professionals with parkland in almost every direction.
On the north side of Lake Burley Griffin and bordering Canberra's central business district, you're treated to the vintage buildings and hip attractions in one of the city's oldest neighborhoods. With a row of hotels along Northbourne Avenue and an embarrassment of cafes, bakeries, and pubs on Lonsdale Street, you're in for a delicious and eclectic stay.
Running up along the edge of the water and the Jerrabomberra Wetlands, Canberra's first suburb is home to some of its liveliest scenes. Mostly redeveloped from a working-class neighborhood, Kingston still features a few old brick buildings along the Causeway beside the trendy eateries, plazas, and boardwalks that line the Foreshore.
Fittingly for a continent known for its landscapes and open space, the Australian capital has plenty of nature and outstanding views. You can get a great sense of the landscape from the top of Mount Ainslie, and then follow the open mall of Anzac Parade all the way from the Australian War Memorial to the edge of the water.
On the far side of the lake, the Old Parliament House stands in front of the modern new building for a striking symbol of the country's evolution, and you can find a wealth of galleries and museums that range from the prehistoric exhibits at the National Dinosaur Museum to the showcase of science and technology at Questacon. Check out some boutique wines just outside of town at the Mount Majura Vineyard, or get a 360-degree view from the observation deck at Telstra Tower.
If you're looking for a way to sort through the terrific range of sights in Canberra, there's plenty a guide who can help with that. Join a photography tour to practice your camerawork as you're shown to some especially photogenic spots, or take to the sky in a hot-air balloon to see things from a more elevated perspective. If you're more interested in adrenaline than photos, you can get a minute of freefall with some tandem skydiving.
For a deeper look at the heritage that's kept in the city, you can take a tour of the National Museum of Australia with a dedicated host, get to know the athlete's life with a visit to the Australian Institute of Sport, or meet the creatures of the Southern Hemisphere at the National Zoo & Aquarium. A tastier side of the city awaits on a trip through Canberra's craft beer scene, or you can admire the sights of the world in miniature with a visit to Cockington Green Gardens.
Canberra is a terrific place for a family break. Take the little ones along and have a go at these family friendly experiences together:
Some say the best things in life are free. Make sure you explore the following around Canberra:
Australian Army Memorial - Chock-full of intriguing objects and exhibits, this place is a wonderland for hungry minds.
Canberra Contemporary Art Space - This is a non-negotiable stop for culture vultures who want to add an artistic touch to their trip.
Civic Square - Be wowed by the design and originality of this impressive example of modernistic architecture.
Australian and New Zealand 1916-1918 Memorial - If you're planning to explore the region's history through its landmarks, stick this one on your travel schedule.
Lake Burley Griffin - Just being beside the water is sure to leave you feeling calm and relaxed.
CSIRO Discovery Centre - If you'd love to see some of the more important or unique places in the community, this is a good place to start.
Canberra City Church - Mix some spirituality into your escape with a stop at this holy site.
Mount Ainslie - You'll be treated to views that'll leave you speechless at this natural marvel.
City Hill - Refresh your body, mind and soul by spending time in nature.
You'll find plenty of tours and experiences that'll tempt you out of your hotel room and into the sun:
With terrific indoor activities like a Small-Group Craft Beer Tour with Lunch & Tastings to keep you entertained, there's no need to let the wet weather stop you from having an unforgettable time.
If you want to experience the best of this place, add these attractions to your itinerary:
There are plenty of experiences here that are just the ticket if you're sticking to a budget:
You'll barely have time to pull your wallet out of your bag with so many wonderful free attractions: