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Canberra Attractions

In 1908, Canberra was chosen from seven shortlisted areas to become Australias capital city. Good, clean water, a temperate climate and gently undulating terrain allowed American architect, Walter Burley Giffin, to plan the garden city of his dreams. His master design has given us todays broad, symmetrical boulevards, meticulously planned housing projects and large green spaces.

The commemorative, manmade Lake Burley Giffin was his reward for this dazzling example of modern-city planning. Visitors can enjoy the successful fusion of innovative design and multicultural diversity. Popular as a destination for further education, the student society adds a cosmopolitan verve to Canberras nightlife. It is also a comfortable, lively stopgap for skiers heading to the Snowy Mountains.

Parliament House

Capital Hill, Canberra, A.C.T 2600
Tel: +61 2 6277 7111

This impressive complex, completed in 1988, is the long awaited replacement for the old Parliament house. The construction cost 1.1 billion Australian dollars and was designed by the American architectural firm Mitchell, Guirgola & Thorp, who were keen to ensure the building blended into the sites natural surroundings. Guided tours are available and there is public access to debates in both the House of Representatives and the Senate viewable from the public galleries.

Australian War Memorial

Limestone Stone, Canberra, A.C.T 2612
Tel: +61 2 6243 4211

Roughly modelled on a Byzantine church, the Australian war memorial was built to commemorate all the Australian servicemen and women who died for their country. The grave of the Unknown Australian Soldier and the Roll of Honor (containing the 102,600 names of Australia’s war dead) and the Pool of Reflection all serve as highly symbolic and potent reminders of the horrors and sadness of war. The building also contains galleries containing exhibits from other wars involving Australia, ranging from a Lancaster bomber to examples of giant German guns used in Amiens, France.

National Gallery of Australia

Parkes Place, Canberra, A.C.T 2600
Tel: +61 2 6240 6501

The gallery was opened in 1982 and already it has proved to be a world-class exhibitor. It contains interesting paintings by contemporary international artists e.g. Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollack and Andy Warhol, but it mainly focuses on indigenous artists, including Aboriginal art.

The National Library of Australia

Parkes Place, Parkes, Canberra, A.C.T 2600
Tel: +61 2 6262 1111

This library contains over five million books, as well as 500,000 maps, aerial photographs, drawings and records of oral histories. The building is roughly modelled on the Parthenon in Athens, and has visiting exhibitions in the Mezzanine Gallery. There are guided tours of the library, which are available throughout the week, which take about an hour.

Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre

Corner King Edward Terrace and Parkes Place, Parkes, Canberra, A.C.T 2600
Tel: +61 2 6270 2800

This fun museum is mainly aimed at a young audience but is it also suitable for adults. There are many hands-on interactive exhibits, demonstrating how science and technology is relevant to our everyday lives.

National Museum of Australia – Yarramundi Visitor Centre

Yarramundi Reach, Lady Drive, Canberra, A.C.T 2600
Tel: +61 2 6256 1126

While this museum is awaiting its new home, due to open in 2001, it is at the moment housed within the Yarramundi Visitor Centre. Here, there is a collection of historical and cultural artifacts ranging from the time of the early Aborigines to the present day.

Australian National Botanic Garden