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Visiting major capital cities often means encountering a lot of tourist traps, but not in Australia! There are many great places to visit in Canberra even for a long holiday. From museums and historical sites to markets and vineyards, Australia’s capital city offers rich, vibrant attractions that combine the best of both worlds.
Despite being founded by British settlers, Canberra was originally a home of indigenous people for thousands of years. Even its name came from Ngunnawal people’s clan name. Now, Canberra is nicknamed “the Bush Capital” thanks to the sweeping mountain range and nature that surround it. This makes Canberra a unique capital city; a modern urban spot surrounded by nature.
Canberra offers modernity and rich, diverse culture, having equally cultured Nara, Beijing, and Wellington as its sister cities. Travelers from around the world visit Canberra to get rich, vibrant experiences. Here are 11 great places to visit in Canberra for your next trip to Australia.
Australian War Memorial
Every visitor interested in Australia’s history should visit the Australian War Memorial. Unveiled in 1941, this beautiful memorial site is dedicated to members of the military and supporting organizations that served and died for the country. The memorial buildings have beautiful Art Deco design, with different sections such as the Hall of Memory, galleries, Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier, research center, and Sculpture Garden.
National Gallery of Australia
The National Gallery of Australia is not just one of the largest museums in the country. Despite the modern-looking Brutalist architecture, it is actually the main custodian of indigenous arts in Australia. The gallery has numerous sections, exhibitions, and programs that introduce visitors to indigenous arts. However, you can also see artworks by other Australian and international artists.
Do you know that the Parliament House in Canberra is open for tourists? You can sign up for a guided tour to learn about Australia’s political history, the architecture of the building, and various artworks displayed inside. If you visit on weekends, you can enjoy high tea while sitting at the beautiful Queen’s Terrace Café, with selections of sweet and savory treats to accompany your tea or coffee.
National Arboretum Canberra
National Arboretum Canberra was created as a response to two fires in 2001 and 2003. Now, it is a place for forest rehabilitation, outdoor activities, and environmental education for the public. Here, you can learn about various tree species and enjoy the beauty of landscaped gardens. The arboretum also has an amphitheater and open-air stage for performances, along with picnic spots, walking and cycling trails, bonsai garden, and children’s playground.
The Royal Australian Mint
The Royal Australian Mint is responsible for creating all legal coins in Australia, including coins from precious metals. Here, you can have a guided tour and learn about coin collection. The Royal Australian Mint also boasts Wave to Titan, a robot capable of lifting an object weight 1,000 kg! If you want to start your own collection, head to the Mint Coin Shop to get the coins produced by the facility.
National Dinosaur Museum
Dinosaur enthusiasts should head to the National Dinosaur Museum. Situated in Gold Creek Village, the museum is the largest facility in Australia that stores prehistoric specimens. Aside from exclusive fossils and skeletons, you can see dinosaur replicas and interactive displays to satisfy your curiosity. The National Dinosaur Museum also offers night tours and various group activities for students and the general public.
Old Bus Depot Markets
Experience the colorful and vibrant Canberra by visiting Old Bus Depot Markets. Situated in a refurbished warehouse complex, this market sells handcrafted goods, fashion items, accessories, food and drink, snacks, toys, and many more. This is the perfect place to hunt for one-of-a-kind goods that you will not find at retail or chain stores.
Add some wonder of science into your trip by visiting Questacon Canberra. Opened for the public in 1988, this interactive science center started as a project by Australian National University. The goal is to educate the public using interactive and attractive exhibits, increasing interests toward science in general.
Questacon Canberra has a white cube-shaped exterior, but the interior is divided into eight unique galleries. You can learn specific themes in each gallery, such as the science and mythologies surrounding the planet Mars in Mars Gallery, geology and natural disasters in Awesome Earth, and experimental science and artwork in The Shed.
National Portrait Gallery
Australia could not achieve its current status in the world without important figures. You can learn about these important figures at the National Portrait Gallery. Notable Australian painter Tom Roberts initiated the idea in the early 1900s, but the actual gallery was only established in 1988.
Currently, the gallery has around 3,000 permanent collections. The portraits are not just traditional photographs, but also paintings, illustrations, multimedia artworks, and even textile arts. It also regularly holds themed exhibitions, so make sure you check out their event calendar if you want to see them.
Have you ever seen stunning glassworks and wonder how people make them? Canberra Glassworks will answer your curiosities. This facility combines gallery and studio, where you can witness the process of making glassworks and the results. It has been the largest glasswork facility in Australia since its inauguration in 2007.
Interested in trying the art? Join short courses to learn about the fundamentals of glassworks. Here, you can learn about techniques such as glass engraving, glass blowing, kiln forming, casting, beadmaking, flower making, and many more.
Mount Majura Vineyard
Finally, head to Mount Majura Vineyard to taste some delicious Shiraz and Riesling wine. This rustic winery is situated in a beautiful valley, where you can join a guided tour to learn about winemaking. Mount Majura Vineyard also holds wine tasting the whole week, with delicious selections of cheese and cold cuts to accompany your favorite wine. For something more luxurious, book the truffle experience, where the chef cooks fresh truffles so you can enjoy them with your cheese and wine.
The capital of Australia offers vibrant, beautiful, and insightful attractions for all types of travelers. Add these great places to visit in Canberra to your itinerary, and enjoy the most unforgettable experiences in Australia.