Cradled by mountains and bush-land hills, Canberra is more than the capital of Australia. The liberal city is also where national museums share the country’s finest treasures, stylish restaurants serve up delicious cuisine and expanses of native parks offer seemingly endless walkways and trails. It is one of the few world capitals where parkland and bush are integral to the city plan, making Canberra the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts with a taste for the cosmopolitan.
Best Time to Visit
Australia is enormous, with a wide range of climates. The northern states are typically warm year-round, while the southern states have cooler winters. December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring.
Top Places to Visit Canberra
1. Canberra National Park
Canberra Nature Park comprising nearly 30 grassland and native bushland reserves. Spread throughout the city, the nature park includes mountains, wetlands, ridges, hills and miles of hiking trails. Visitors can get their fill of the wild without ever leaving the city by horse riding, cycling, swimming, fishing, camping and biking. The scenic parks are a great place to spend an afternoon observing native flora and fauna, like exotic frogs, snakes, magpies and of course, kangaroos.
2. National Botanical Gardens
The beautiful gardens spread over 90 hectares on the lower slopes of the Black Mountain. Tranquil and lush, the gardens are a prime example of Australian floral diversity. Take a walk through the Rainforest Gully and enjoy the cool shade of the Eucalyptus Lawn, which features more than 600 species of the iconic Aussie tree.
3. The National Museum
One of the best places to explore the country’s stories and history. The vast collection includes fascinating artifacts from early Aboriginal societies, rare snapshots of Australia’s industrial history, tools used by Captain James Cook himself, remnants from the country’s colonial period and more.
4. National Gallery of Australia
Both enjoyable and educational, the museum features pieces by Torres Strait Island and Aboriginal people, whose art deeply conveys a connection with the land and past. Natural daylight illuminates the pieces, so visit on a cloudless day for the best view.
5. Australian War Memorial
The truly moving memorial pays tribute to the country’s fallen soldiers while humanizing wartime events through relics, pictures, exhibitions and dioramas. Military history fans will particularly enjoy the Anzac Hall, where a sound and light show makes the backdrop of heavy machinery even more impressive.
6. Farmer’s Markets 6. Farmer’s Markets
Food lovers will feel right at home in the capital. Tantalizing fresh produce is readily available at farmer’s markets throughout Canberra, and local chefs craft first-class cuisine from seasonal ingredients. Two breweries call the city home, offering fresh, flavorsome beer handcrafted using traditional techniques. Nearby wineries are gaining world-wide recognition for their diverse varieties that can only be made in Canberra’s cool climate. Romantic and idyllic, the wineries offer an escape from busy city life while still being in the borders of the capital.