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Overview

Canberra was once considered the boring cousin of Melbourne and Sydney - the standard joke was that visitors spent most of their time going around in circles on the city's many traffic roundabouts. But an excellent grouping of museums and galleries, and an abundance of that increasingly rare commodity - fresh air - has changed public perception for good. The National Museum of Australia is one of the country's best museums, filled with stimulating exhibits that critique the national identity. On the other side of soporific Lake Burley Griffin is the National Gallery, with its fascinating collections of Indigenous, colonial and contemporary ...

Canberra was once considered the boring cousin of Melbourne and Sydney - the standard joke was that visitors spent most of their time going around in circles on the city's many traffic roundabouts. But an excellent grouping of museums and galleries, and an abundance of that increasingly rare commodity - fresh air - has changed public perception for good. The National Museum of Australia is one of the country's best museums, filled with stimulating exhibits that critique the national identity. On the other side of soporific Lake Burley Griffin is the National Gallery, with its fascinating collections of Indigenous, colonial and contemporary art. Elsewhere in the Australian capital are war memorials, portrait galleries and film archives, not to mention the symbolic splendor of Parliament House. Canberrans and visitors go hiking and picnicking in nearby Namadgi National Park, cycle around the lake and swim in cool freshwater rivers. And when they go out for a meal, they can enjoy the tastes of over 30 regional wineries.

Paul Smitz
About the Expert

Paul Smitz has coauthored a dozen guidebooks for Lonely Planet on places such as Australia, New Zealand, Malaysian Borneo, Brunei, various Pacific Islands, Prague, and Brussels.

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Paul Smitz for Triporati

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Now Happening in Canberra

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Canberra is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Australia. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory.
  • Language: English
  • Currency: Australian Dollar
  • Research: Wikitravel | Canberra
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring for blooming gardens, summer for river swims, autumn for crisp days