If your visit to Australia includes a road trip between Melbourne and Sydney, then why not stop off in Canberra, the capital of Australia. The journey will take 6 hours from Melbourne or 3 hours from Sydney
Most people think that Sydney is in fact the capital of Australia. Did you know that there was such heated debate as to whether Melbourne or Sydney should be the capital, that they decided to create a brand new city just to house the capital. Canberra became the official capital of Australia in 1908.
The state asked some famous architects to come up with a design for the new city. It was Burley Griffin and his wife who won the honour of designing Canberra. The plans were inspired by the garden movement that was very big at that time. The result is that Canberra has beautiful green areas, lush vegetation and is known today as the Bush City.
Head just 10 minutes out of the city in any direction and you will be pleasantly surprised. You’ll find yourself in an array of cycle paths and walking trails surrounded by greenery. The lake right at the centre of the city is named after Burley Griffin and is a great place to cycle, walk, kayak, horse ride or watch the world go by.
To see the city in all its glory then head up to Black Mountain. There is a viewing platform in the Telstra tower as well as a revolving cafe.
The culture is perhaps why most people come to Canberra. It offers a wonderful selection of museums. In fact you could spend a week just getting round them all. The most popular are the Australian Museum where you can understand the heritage of the country. The War Memorial is a museum, shrine and archive which gives an insight into Australia’s involvement in the various wars. Why not pop into Parliament House and take a tour so you can understand how it works.
Just 40 minutes away you will be surrounded by beautiful countryside including a Nature Reserve and National Parks. Why not get to know some of the local wildlife? You’ll find Kangaroos, Platypus, Koalas and Emus all at the Nature Reserve.
Another good trip that is just out of the city itself, is the Pocaher’s Trail. The route takes you past vineyards and wineries. There are some great wines to try as well as great local produce. Stay overnight in a homely B&B or Homestead.
Whilst you can visit Canberra all year round, I’d recommend Spring or Autumn as the best times to come. Its inland position means it can get extremes in temperature i.e. very hot in summer and very cold in winter. Spring sees the start of the Flower Festival which takes place in September and October. During these months you can see beautiful tulips in the Commonwealth Gardens and around the entire city.
Autumn sees a famous event for Canberra – the Hot Air Balloon Festival held in March. Get up early to witness the spectacular take off and landing of hundreds of balloons.
You can easily spend 3 days in Canberra exploring the city and its surrounds or stay a while longer and enjoy the countryside.
Jennifer Schillington has nearly half a decade of experience in travelling Australia and has recently had a baby. Her website, http://www.realaustraliatravel.com offers relevant information for planning your trip to Australia as well as where to go and what to do. Click here for more information on exploring Canberra