When you think of Australia, you think of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane. So it surprises a lot of people to find out the capital is actually little Canberra.
Located between Victoria and New South Wales, it’s a relatively new City with building commencing in 1913. It was built due to a disagreement over which existing City should become the Capital of a united Australia.
We were visiting as a little stop off point between Melbourne and Sydney. It’s a 9 hour drive between these two, and Canberra sits around 6 hours from Melbourne.
We arrived late in the evening after an eventful drive, stopping off to see a giant Ned Kelly, a submarine and a dog on a tucker box. It was a pleasant drive until we hit the smoke from the NSW fires.
We stayed at the QT Canberra, which is a lovely hotel set within walking distance of the parliament and museum area.
We woke up early and crossed lake Burley Griffin, a huge man made lake set right in the centre of the City. You can hike around the whole thing which would be fun. Unfortunately the huge fountain located in the lake wasn’t on when we walked over.
We stopped along the opposite bank and followed the Australian of the year walkway before passing the national library.
Next up was the old parliament, a classic looking white building which was superseded by the new parliament built up on Capitol hill.
So off we trekked up the hill, and the new building is definitely well thought out architecturally. The best part is that you can wander around inside with no tour guide or security following you.
So we visited the senate room and the house of representatives. Although parliament wasn’t on session, it was still interesting to learn more about Australian politics.
The great hall was beautiful, with a great tapestry on the wall, but the best part was heading to the roof and seeing the 266ft flagpole. The views from here were also amazing, albeit ruined by the bushfire smoke a little, but hey, that’s the least of Australia’s problems with the fires.
We headed back to the hotel and checked out. Then drove over to the ANZAC parade. This was really interesting with memorials lining the parade to every war Australia has fought in.
There was also a memorial for army nurses which I loved, but the most interesting were the Boer and Vietnamese war memorials. Lots of history and information.
I really love the quote from Atatürk after the battle of Gallipoli.
We didn’t have time to go inside the actual war museum, instead we drove up to Mount Ainslie lookout. If you had time the hike up there would be brilliant, with a chance to see kangaroos and other interesting Australian animals.
The view was still hazy, but it was still really interesting, with a straight look down ANZAC parade to the lake, and the fountain was now on!
That was the end of our little Canberra journey, it felt like there was still a lot of hiking opportunities we missed because of time constraints, and I’ve heard the art galleries and museums are top class here.
So there’s plenty to see and do to fill at least a couple of days. Lastly, we were on a budget so we didn’t try out any of the restaurants, but Canberra is meant to be a foodies dream!
It was on to Sydney for us, this time we got to see a giant Merino sheep and stopped at the town of Yass! To get a picture with the sign and live our Queer Eye fantasy.