The first time I went to Canberra I was 5 and not really interested in anything besides the food, typical kid of course. Mom – We’re going to Canberra Me: do they have food there? Mom- yes Me: yay!! Let’s go to Canberra! Of course, the real reason she wanted to take me there was to immerse my young self in Australian culture and politics and to see the capital city of my dad’s homeland.
To be completely honest, I don’t remember much except for getting sore feet (from all the walking) and I remember thinking we were in the jungle for some crazy weird reason? (btw it doesn’t look like the jungle at all) but kids imaginations and all that hoo-hah! So when my Mom and I decided to go on a road trip from Sydney down to the Mornington peninsula earlier this year, we decided that we would take the opportunity to stop in Canberra and spend a few days checking the capital out and MAN did it disappoint! Oh wait just kidding….. it was amazing! Hehehe! Tricked ya!
Below I have listed a few of my personal must-see places of this incredible City, she’s no Washington but well at least you can see Roo’s here. Enjoy!
I’ll start by saying, one of the many great things about Canberra is that the majority of activities are free…. Whoop whoop! So obviously great for any budget.
Kings Park is generally one of the 1st places you see once entering into the city, its big, it’s bold, it’s beautiful! (its easy breezy cover-girl) just kidding! But if this place was a cover-girl…. Dang it! She would be the Gisele of all parks.
With many walks (around Lake Burley), activities and stunning views all in one, you would be silly to miss this place as seen in the picture above, the park also has the national Carillon, that was opened by THE QUEEN herself! Sometime 1000 years ago hehe.
THE AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL
This War Memorial/Museum is nuts! And I mean that in the best way possible… as in, it is bloody huge and definitely been well made and thought through. There is oogles and oogles of information on all the wars that Australia has participated in since ww1, until today in Afghanistan.
I have to admit I did get teary eyed in some places as my dad and his pop were both proudly Anzac’s and the way they have created the museum is to truly immerse yourself in the wars and feel and hear what the men and women went through – so definitely take some tissues… I think it would make even the toughest of men shed a tear.
There is A LOT to see and I don’t mean that lightly, I genuinely think if you wanted to go through all of the museums properly, then you would practically need a whole two days. We only managed to squeeze in half a day and had to pass or rush through a lot of it. It was truly touching and beautifully set up and ended up being one of my favorite things that we got to see.
Views upon views upon views….yup you can see everything from up there! A 5-minute ride up to the top of black mountain and what you will get is 360-degree views of the whole of Canberra and let me tell ya, she’s pretty!
We were very lucky on the day we went, as there was literally not one cloud in the sky – making for sensational pictures!
At first when I heard that there was a park that held miniatures – I really freaked out, it just sounds so creepy… right? Or is that just me? Either way, much to my delight it was AMAZING! Miniature buildings, famous places, historical homes and a “world section” that has miniature iconic buildings that represent every country in the world! WOW! No need to travel anymore haha just visit the Cockington Gardens 😉
PARLIAMENT HOUSE OLD AND NEW
I think whenever you visit a capital city, you must visit the parliament houses, right? I mean its where all the action happens for the country, its where all the fancy elite peoples of the world come to eat and speak and argue!!
Unlike a lot of the worlds parliamentary buildings, we have two… the old and the new.
The old one was too old and closed for business in the late 80’s – it is now a museum and the new parliament house is what’s used for today’s political debates and arguing’s etc.
Both full of history and amazingness, I personally found the old parliament house a little boring… however, you do get to see the Queen’s jewels (hehe the queen’s jewels, wink) which was pretty fabulous. The new parliament house is big and fancy and very informative of the last 20 years of Australian politics – if you can only make it to one, then I advise visiting the New Parliament House.
There are of course many, many wonderful things to see in Canberra that we did miss, like the Zoo and dinosaurs (yes, they have dinosaurs in Canberra, the real-life Jurassic park!) but I felt in my short few days in the capital (not hunger games haha) that I really got to see the magical side to this incredible place and truly left brighter, smarter(questionable) and more informed about Australia. So as the famous saying goes – do yourself a favor and visit Canberra.
Like all Australian words, it is not as it seems, most tourists pronounce Canberra like Can–ber–ah , I can’t bare her hahaha!
But it’s actually pronounced Can-brah… like brah! You can thank me later.
Time Zone: UTC +10.
Electricity: Flat three-pin plug. Electrical power in Australia runs on a cycle of 50hz, and a voltage of 230 Volt.
Currency: Australian Dollar ($).
Tipping: In Australia, you don’t have to tip – ever. But you can if you want to.
Weather: January is the hottest month in Canberra with an average temperature of 69°F (21°C) and the coldest is July at 42°F (6°C) with the most daily sunshine hours at 10 in February. The wettest month is March with an average of 60mm of rain.
HOW TO GET THERE
The train will take you about 4 hours and costs $28.25. You have to reserve your seat on the train, you can do that HERE.
By bus, it will take you 3 hours and 30 minutes. If you take the Murry coaches it will cost $38. To book, click HERE.
This post was written by Kim.
Thank you, Kim, for writing this great blog post for Bondi to Basic.
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