Founded in 1913 as the solution to the embittered fight between Sydney and Melbourne to be the nation’s capital, Canberra is a small yet colourful and active city making up the Australian Capital Territory. A home to all things political, Canberra hosts embassies, government departments, the High Court and, of course, Parliament House itself.
However, Canberra is much more than just politics. From parks to paintings, and from museums to milkshakes, Canberra has something for everyone. While known for public servants in sharp suits, Canberra also plays host to cultural activities galore. These include the Lonsdale Street café strip, sporting arenas like Manuka Oval and Canberra Stadium, and of course the well-known museums, art galleries and theatres that only the nation’s capital can offer. And best of all? It’s all close and easily accessible by a comprehensive bus network. It’s a great location for a weekend trip, and an even better one for MUN.
Top 10 Things to Do in Canberra
Parliament House. Site of monumental backstabbing and brutality, Parliament House is one of the architectural highlights of Canberra. Visit the heart of the nation’s political scene, tour the chambers, or even stroll the grass and paths atop the roof.
Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House. A museum for anyone with even the slightest hint of political interest, Old Parliament House is also a great spot for picnics and sightseeing. Be sure to check out the gardens surrounding the building, whether for the Senate or the House.
Australian War Memorial. The Memorial continues to be a site of great significance to Australians for its recognition of the sacrifices of our veterans, especially for days like Anzac Day. However, it also offers an exceptional museum, covering our complete war history and with new exhibitions like the Anzac Voices and First World War galleries.
King Edward Terrace. This avenue houses the major national institutions of Australia, including the National Library of Australia (great place to do research and study!), Questacon, National Portrait Gallery and National Gallery of Australia and, last but not least, the High Court of Australia. Take a day to explore and tour the heart of Australian civic and political life, enjoy a coffee overlooking the lake, and maybe you’ll even bump into someone famous!
Yarralumla Kebab House. For those from Sydney and Melbourne who scoff at Canberra’s lack of culinary delights, we humbly present the best kebab joint in all the land. Still not convinced? They recently introduced the holy Halal Snack Pack. Need we say more?
New Acton. The newest and hippest precinct in the Inner North, New Acton is adjacent to ANU and Lake Burley Griffin. A popular student hangout on the weekend, New Acton boasts low-key wine bars, restaurants, cafes and art galleries. Right next door to New Acton is the National Film and Sound Archive, home to historical and contemporary media collections. Or if you’re feeling like something a bit more modern, head to Palace Electric cinemas for a selection of local and international art house movies.
Mt. Ainslie. The perfect location to watch the Canberra sunrise and sunset, take a half day to walk or drive up the summit and enjoy a picnic at the top. From the lookout you’ll get an unparalleled view of Canberra from any time of day (it’s open 24 hours!).
Lonsdale Street. Braddon is known for its dining options, with Lonsdale Street a particular highlight. From Debacles with its home-made pizza delights to the Hamlet, a trendy collection of food van-style eateries, and so much more in-between, the options for lunch or dinner are almost unlimited.
Lake Burley Griffin. Hire a bike from one of the bike stalls along the lake, and then enjoy a relaxing ride around the lake. While the journey around the entirety of Lake Burley-Griffin may take quite a bit of time, a half-day or full-day ride around the lake is one of the best ways to relax and take in the sights and sounds of central Canberra.
Kingston Foreshore. Newly redeveloped and brimming with the hip and happening young professionals of the APS, the Kingston Foreshore is a trendy locale with great cafes, bars and restaurants. Places not to be missed include Brodburger, Penny University, Morks and the Old Bus Depot Markets.