It’s one of the most popular misconceptions about Australia; namely, what the capital is. Even to this day, many people believe it’s Sydney. However, Canberra is the capital and has been for quite a while now. The reason so many people mistakenly think Sydney is the capital is because it is by far the most populous city not just in Australia, but in Oceania as a whole. So it is no surprise that by far most tourists head to Sydney for their holidays to Australia. But while it’s smaller than Sydney, Canberra certainly has plenty to offer for tourists in its own right.
Best time to visit Canberra
The best time to visit Canberra is between December and February, the Australian summer months. Temperatures are comfortably warm, without reaching unbearable levels. Canberra’s outdoor attractions are all opened during this time as well, meaning you have a lot more freedom to plan your excursions. Avoid the winter months between June and August. Temperatures can easily drop below 0 degrees Celsius, and certain attractions are not available to tourists. Spring can also be relatively cool, with the occasional rainfall. Snow is quite rare in Canberra.
Top 5 sights you can’t miss
Canberra has some of Australia’s best sights and attraction, which many people miss as they tend to favour Sydney or Melbourne for their holidays.
1. Lake Burley Griffin
You might recognize Lake Burley Griffin from the image of its 147-metre high fountain plastered on so many postcards. The lake lies at the heart of Canberra, and is a popular place to walk or bike around. The air around Lake Burley Griffin is fresh, and the various routes surrounding it offer a lovely view of its bright blue waters. Many of Australia’s most popular buildings and museums can be found along the lake. You simply can’t miss it!
2. War Memorial
Australia’s war memorial is not dedicated to a single war. Rather, it commemorates all Australians who died in war since 1885. This sounds like a lot, but the only way to truly realize just how grand the memorial is, is by walking by the walls where the names of all Australian war victims are inscribed. But the memorial is also home to a number of galleries, which host various exhibitions of the various wars Australia was involved in. Unlike what one might expect, even children can be brought along, as the memorial has a special area for children to learn via interactive displays.
3. The Old and New Parliament Houses
As the name implies, the Old Parliament House was the original federal seat of parliament of Australia from 1927 to 1977. After Parliament transferred to the New Parliament House, Old Parliament House became the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House. Here you can see all there is to know about Australia’s political past, and the architecture almost makes you feel like you walked through a time machine.
The new Parliament House is a spectacle of architecture. From the outside, it might seem like a forest is growing inside the building, but these are specially made marble columns made to give the impression of a forest. The public areas function much like a museum, with various important artifacts to be seen in person (such as the Magna Carta).
4. The National Museum
Australia’s National Museum is considered by many to be the country’s most intricate structure. Its architect, Howard Raggatt, wanted it to show the interconnectedness of the various stories of the Australian people. It is meant to symbolise the centre of a knot, from which long strips extend and loop into each other. The exhibits themselves also reflects this, as a large part of them tackle the history of the Aborigines.
5. The National Arboretum
Those more inclined towards greenery cannot avoid visiting the Australia’s National Arboretum. It totals 250 hectares of trees in all shapes, sizes and colours. Here you can find all manner of exotic and rare trees, both native and foreign. The Arboretum has been continuously planted since 2005, giving it a truly awe-inspiring collection.
Going to Canberra? Remember to get your visa
Each year, thousands of tourists head over to Canberra to enjoy everything it has to offer. To avoid getting sent straight back home at the airport, it is of key importance that Australia’s visa laws are observed. Travellers without an Australia visa are not allowed in, unless they are from New Zealand. Fortunately, the Australia visa can be applied for online fairly easily. Rather than having to visit the embassy or consulate, all that is required is to fill out the online application form and make the payment. The visa is then sent to you by email. From then on, you are authorised by the Australian government to enter the country.