Canberra Business Directory
A Guide to Canberra
Poor Canberra - it's the capital of an amazing country, yet is so overshadowed by its bigger cousins. It is, in fact, but the 8th largest city in Australia, and only has the honour of being capital because the powers that be couldn't decide between Sydney and Melbourne. Having said that though, it is worthy of its mantle, and wears it well. It is a beautifully laid out inland city with a charming atmosphere and Aussie culture deep in its veins.
It lacks the enjoyable brashness of its more famous Australian cousins, and is a more gentle experience than most world capitals. However, it doesn't lack monuments, cultural offerings, entertainment, dining options, and shopping. The surrounding mountains, bushland and delightful rural villages make for some great outdoor activities, and there are plenty of festivals, both national and international. The city may not boast massive bridges or sky towers with observation decks as vantage points, but the various peaks of the surrounding mountains offer delicious views of the cityscape and scenic plain.
Location and Climate
Central Canberra - where most of the sights and attractions are, is easy to navigate because it is a planned city. Lake Burley Griffin, dammed from the Molonglo River, lies at its heart, and the streets radiate like a wheel from a central hub. Canberra sits on a huge limestone plain, 150 kilometres inland from the east coast near the Brindabella Ranges. Thanks to its location, the climate is classified as dry oceanic, so visitors can expect warm summers and cool to coldish winters.
Canberra's Attractions and Activities
National Museum of Australia - Navigate through an enjoyable journey of Australiana. From the highly political to the tongue in cheek, this is the place to come if you want to know why Australians are well, so Australian.
National Archives - A more serious look at Aussie history, housed in the old Post Office. There are rotating special exhibitions, but the key documents and Constitution Acts are on permanent display in the Federation Room. A similar story is told over at the Australian Museum of Democracy, in the Old Parliament House.
War Memorial - Not just a commemorative monument, but a museum that stands as testament to the huge role Australian servicemen have played in world conflicts.
Royal Australian Mint - Visit to learn all about the national currency, notes and coinage.
Questacon - The National Science and Technology Centre is an absolute must if you're visiting Canberra with the kids. The mass of hands-on and interactive exhibits are educational, lively and simply good fun - even for adults.
National Botanic Gardens - Free guided walks take you through 90 hectares of gardens laid out on the slopes of Black Mountain. Popular areas include the Eucalypt Lawn and the Trail of Aboriginal Plant Use.
National Portrait Gallery - A wonderful new building constructed using wood and stone from every Australian state, the gallery tells the story of the nation in the pictures of its people, celebrated and not so.
Lanyon Homestead - A collection of interesting conserved heritage buildings from the 1850s. Enjoy the collection of Sidney Nolan paintings and a Devonshire Cream Tea.
Namadgi National Park - A wonderfully scenic area that includes 8 peaks over 1700m, and important Aboriginal rock art; the paintings at Yankee Hat date back 21,000 years. The park is where Canberra's residents and visitors escape the city to go bushwalking, ride cycles, do a spot of fishing in the numerous creeks, get into the saddle for a ride, or try their hand at abseiling or rock climbing.
Festivals - At most times throughout the year, the city has a festival happening; Summernats car Festival, Stonefest Music Festival, Nara Candle Festival, National Folk Festival, Celebrate Canberra and the Royal Canberra Show, to name but a few.