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Canberra

The capital of Australia has finally grown into that 'capital' role, with monuments to make you pause and think, and a fistful of exciting museums and galleries.

Canberra, as a city, has undergone a massive transformation in the last few decades. All the pieces of its design puzzle, which were once a little scattered, are now locked in place. These days, it has a clutch of top-rated cultural attractions, and increasingly appreciated wide-open spaces, and a 'big-outdoors' feel.

The National Museum of Australia is probably the cream of the crop of attractions, with its bold design, cleverly laid-out exhibits, and enthusiasm for breaking the mould.

Less obviously exciting, but acting as vital guardians for Australia's historical culture, are the National Archives Of Australia – where history is counted in the millions of its accessible documents and records – and the National Library Of Australia, whose books form only part of the collection. Thousands of posters, maps, theatre programmes and photos, collected over more than a century, make it a living multimedia resource.

Canberra's most popular museum isn't actually one. Questacon, the National Science And Technology Centre, throws away the glass-cases and fusty printed-labels for a fully-immersive, totally interactive experience, taking you to the wilder fringes of science and technology. The National Gallery of Australia lets you get a little more contemplative, with a set of unequalled collections, when it comes to Australian and Aborigine sculpture and paintings.

The central masterpiece of Canberra these days, though, is its Parliament House. Big, bold and full of Australian brash (as well as its politicians), it dominates the centre of Canberra. Its gigantic Australian flag, and long low 'boomerang' building, are cleverly integrated into the city's important viewpoints. Here is where you can see democracy in action, as much of the building, is accessible to the public.

If you want to see the political stage of a bygone era, the nearby Old Parliament House has been preserved and turned into a Museum of Democracy. Only ever meant as a temporary home for Australia's politicians, its no-nonsense design (and approach to politics) won it a special place in the Aussie heart. That's also something that can be said of the Australian War Memorial, which is an equally poignant place of remembrance for New Zealanders. A sombre reminder that capital cities sometimes have to play that worthy role, as well as the flashy one.


Guide to Exploring Canberra


Top Hotel Deals

See all 101 Hotels in Canberra
$140
Capital Executive Apartment Hotel

Capital Executive Apartment Hotel

108 Northbourne Ave, Braddon
3.5
of 5, from 187 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in City Centre, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Canberra Centre, Canberra Theatre Centre, and Australian National University.

$215
Novotel Canberra

Novotel Canberra

65 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra
3.9
of 5, from 384 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Canberra hotel is located near the airport, within a 10-minute walk of City Hill, Canberra Centre, and Lake Burley Griffin. Australian War Memorial and National Museum of Australia are also within 2 mi (3 km).

$124
ibis Styles Canberra

ibis Styles Canberra

203 Goyder Street, Narrabundah
3.5
of 5, from 236 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Situated in the suburbs, this hotel is 1.8 mi (2.9 km) from Manuka Shopping Centre and 3 mi (4.8 km) from Parliament House. Manuka Oval and Kingston Shopping Centre are also within 3 mi (5 km).

$128
Pavilion on Northbourne

Pavilion on Northbourne

242 Northbourne Avenue, Dickson
3.9
of 5, from 357 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in Northern Canberra, this hotel is 0.3 mi (0.4 km) from Canberra and Region Visitors Centre and within 3 mi (5 km) of Australian War Memorial and Australian National Botanic Gardens. Canberra Stadium and National Museum of Australia are also within 3 mi (5 km).

$119
Parklands Hotel & Apartments

Parklands Hotel & Apartments

6 Hawdon Place, Dickson
4.0
of 5, from 81 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Northern Canberra, this hotel is 1.1 mi (1.8 km) from Canberra and Region Visitors Centre and 2.6 mi (4.2 km) from Australian War Memorial. Kamberra Function Centre and Canberra Centre are also within 3 mi (5 km).

$170
Burbury Hotel & Apartments

Burbury Hotel & Apartments

1 Burbury Close, Barton
4.3
of 5, from 241 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in Capital Hill, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Manuka Oval, Old Parliament House, and Parliament House. National Gallery of Australia and National Museum of Australia are also within 3 mi (5 km).

$170
Little National Hotel

Little National Hotel

21 National Circuit, Barton
4.5
of 5, from 118 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Capital Hill, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of National Archives of Australia, Old Parliament House, and Parliament House. National Gallery of Australia and National Museum of Australia are also within 3 mi (5 km).

$196
Pacific Suites Canberra, an Ascend Hotel Collection

Pacific Suites Canberra, an Ascend Hotel Collection

100 Northbourne Avenue, Braddon
4.4
of 5, from 269 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in City Centre, this aparthotel is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) from Canberra Museum and Gallery and within 3 mi (5 km) of Australian War Memorial and National Museum of Australia. Australian National Botanic Gardens and Old Parliament House are also within 3 mi (5 km).

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