Travel to the Heart of Australia: Canberra
There are limitless options in travelling. One could opt to go to Europe and experience a sophisticated lifestyle or immerse in Mediterranean culture. Or they could visit Asia and take a unique experience in the Himalayas or bask along the shores of Thailand and the Philippines.
The Pacific region is also a perfect place to go for relaxation. And there are so many more places to visit. But for now, we shall travel to the land down under.
In the previous articles we have mentioned about Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. Now we will visit the capital of Australia: CANBERRA.
Canberra was assigned as the capital of the whole country to address the rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne. Being the capital, it houses important buildings and landmarks such as the Parliament House, High Court, government offices, schools, universities, museums, and library.
The city caters mainly to politicians, government officials, and students. The importance of the city could not be underestimated.
Parliament House (1)
Aside from its political and academic contribution to the country, the city is important to tourist. Annually, there are thousands of locals and foreigners visiting the capital.
There are guided tours in and around government buildings, fall in love with art galleries, get inspired with nature including the man-made lake, and of course no tourists should miss the famous Floriade Festival.
Canberra is the capital of Australia which is located at New South Wales. It is approximately 280 kilometers southwest of Sydney and 660 kilometers northeast of Melbourne. The city occupies a total area of 814.2 square kilometers.
The experiences a dry continental climate which is characterized by warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters.
The hottest months are from December to February with temperatures ranging from 26 to 28 degrees Celsius. The coldest months are from June to August in which temperature drops to 0 degrees Celsius. The outskirts of the central business district experiences snow during winter which quickly dissolves.
Canberra is connected to other cities in New South Wales via plane, buses and trains.
Canberra International Airport (2)
Canberra International Airport serves as the easiest thoroughfare to the city. It serves domestic flights to and from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Gold Coast, and Perth. There is little difference in time travel between air and land transportation. it takes approximately three hours by road from Sydney and seven hours by road from Melbourne.
Once in Canberra, the main means of transportation is via buses, bicycles, and car.
WHAT TO SEE
Unlike other cities in Australia, the city of Canberra was planned: the buildings, monuments, museums, galleries, and even the man-made lake in the center. It was built and design as a fusion of esthetics and functionality.
Aside from the planned community, other amenities that tourists could enjoy are the garden, parks, and nature reserve. The garden city movement influenced the design and layout of the city of Canberra earning the title “bush capital.”
Here are a few of the must-see places in Canberra.
LAKE BURLEY GRIFFIN
Lake Burley Griffin as seen from Black Mountain Tower
Hot air balloon flying over Lake Burley Griffin and National Carillon
As mentioned earlier Canberra is a planned city with an artificial lake at the center known as Lake Burley Griffin. The artificial lake measures 11 kilometers long by 1.2 kilometers wide.
The lake’s depth ranges from 4 to 18 meters. Water flow is regulated by the Scrivener Dam. The lake is popular for activities such as rowing, fishing, and sailing.
AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL
In honor of their fallen heroes the government built the Australian War Memorial. It showcases gallery exhibits, memorabilia, personal stories, combat displays, research facilities and a sculpture garden. The memorial is divided into three: the Commemorative Area or shrine, Memorial’s galleries or museum, and Research Centre or records.
Perhaps the most prominent facility in Canberra is the Parliament House. The shape of the building was inspired by two boomerangs and an 81 meter flagpole at the center. There are guided tours that allow visitors to enter inside the parliament and see some of the rooms.
NATIONAL GALLERY OF AUSTRALIA
The National Gallery of Australia, formerly known as Australian National Gallery is the country’s national art museum. It is the home to at least 166,000 artworks making it the largest art museum in Australia. Some of the collection includes Australian art, western art, eastern art, modern art, Pacific art, photography, crafts, and a sculpture garden.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIA
Another museum worth visiting is the National Museum of Australia. As a matter of fact, in 2005 and 2006 the museum was names as Australia’s Major Tourist Attraction by the Australian Tourism Awards.
The museum is all about Australia’s social history including 50,000 years of indigenous heritage, and key events such as Federation and the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Other exhibits in the museum include Aboriginal bark paintings, stone tools, bushrangers, and surf lifesaving.
QUESTACON – THE NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER
An attraction fit for children as well as those young at heart is the Questacon – the National Science and Technology Centre. The exhibit here include 200 interactive displays all connected with science and technology.
At the center of the artificial lake, Lake Burley Griffin is an artificial island known as Aspen Island. The most prominent and notable landmark of the island is the National Carillon. The National Carillion has a total of 55 bells each weighing seven kilograms and six tones.
BLACK MOUNTAIN TOWER
Telstra Tower or Telecom Tower is now known as Black Mountain Tower. Aside from being a telecommunication tower, it is an observation deck. Situated atop Black Mountain, it offers a panoramic view of the surroundings.
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDENS
If one wants to experience and see nature including Australian flora, one must visit the Australian National Botanic Gardens. It occupies a total of 90 hectares with over 5,500 species making it the largest collection of Australian vegetation. Aside from showcasing plants, the botanic garden is also used as a research and cultivating facility.
Another famous and loved attraction is Commonwealth Park. It occupies a total area of 34.25 hectares, including ponds, bike trails, sculptures, and more. It is famed for the annual spring Floriade festival.
Canberra receives thousands of visitors annually especially during mid-September to mid-October which coincides with the Floriade Festival. Floriade Festival is also known as “Australia’s Celebration of Spring.” The first Floriade festival started in 1988, and since then, there had been an annual celebration at Commonwealth Park. The park is filled with flowers, sculptures and artistic features.