AUSTRALIA’S CAPITAL CITY
Canberra feels like a big country town. It is a meeting place, and that is part of its magic.
With a population of around 450,000, Canberra is small for a capital city but that makes for a lot of advantages.
It’s easy to get around. Traffic hassles are few and peak-hour is relatively short.
Because the city is the nation’s capital, most visitors imagine Canberra as a place full of politics and politicians. But, they forget that the politicians live in electorates around the country and only occasionally come to Canberra to meet.
Canberra has a history as a meeting place. That is part of its magic.
Getting Your Bearings
Canberra is cradled by rolling hills that provide a variety of viewpoints to enjoy the stunning landscape. Mount Ainslie is a popular place to watch the sunset and get a fabulous perspective of Walter Burley Griffin’s plan for Canberra.
The National Arboretum boasts stunning views from the west. Red Hill provides a view from the south, across the back of Parliament House and the lake to Mount Ainslie.
Locals know the city centre as ‘Civic’. There are four satellite towns; Woden and Tuggeranong to the south, and Belconnen and Gungahlin to the north-west. All are connected with an excellent system of roadways.
Below: A view over the northwestern satellite town-centre of Belconnen.
Canberra locals spend a lot of time outdoors, enjoying picnics in the park, jogging and cycling on the many kilometres of walking and cycling trails.
Things To Do
There are hundreds of kilometres of walking tracks and cycle paths to explore.
Canberra is known as the Bush Capital because the houses are tucked in and around the bushland. Throughout the city are greenways and many parks. You can enjoy walking the many tracks and trails, taking in the views and the sights along the way.
Picnics are popular with locals. The Cotter Reserve, a 30-minute drive from the city centre, is a family favourite. The area offers barbeques, swimming areas, walking trails, children’s playground.
Keep your camera ready because there is always the possibility of seeing colourful birds, wombats, emus and plenty of kangaroos and occasionally platypus in the area.
Daylight saving runs from October to April. There’s plenty of time to walk among shady canopies and enjoy long summer days and balmy evenings.
In autumn, the city is blanketed with rich red and golden leaves. The sunsets and sunrises are stunning during autumn.
Winter mornings are crisp, frosty and often followed by glorious blue skies. With spring, wildflowers and blossoms bring a new freshness of life.
Many of Canberra’s restaurants and cafés have won prestigious national and international awards. Visitors are spoilt for choice throughout the city and the suburbs. Particular favourite eating hotspots:
- Woolley Street in Dickson — Canberra’s mini Chinatown.
- Lonsdale and Mort Street in Braddon,
- Bunda Street, Canberra City,
- New Acton,
- The Kingston Foreshore, Kingston and Manuka.
Bars and pubs are plentiful too. Popular choices include:
- King O’Malley’s in Civic,
- Highball Express and Molly in the city,
- Assembly and Barcaro in Braddon,
- Parlour Wine Bar in New Acton.
Cool Climate Wines
Canberra is internationally recognised as a top cool-climate wine-growing area. If you love your wines, we suggest a tour of a few wineries while you’re here.
You must taste the local Riesling, Shiraz, Tempranillo and Sangiovese.
Canberra is a centre for art, music and culture with many galleries, performances, festivals and events throughout the year. Calendars of events can be found at VisitCanberra.com.au and Events.act.gov.au
Enlighten Festival illuminates the facades of many national attractions.
Summer evening concert picnics are popular in the Botanic Gardens and the outdoor Sunset Cinema by the lake.
Don’t Miss Our Markets
Weekends are the best times for markets in Canberra.
Not to be missed, are the Rotary Club of Hall’s Capital Region Farmers Market, held at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) on Saturday mornings.
On Sundays, the Old Bus Depot Markets at Kingston offer locally hand-crafted wares, fashion and accessories, jewellery and local produce.
There is so much to see and do and explore in Canberra. Allow extra time when you visit.
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