Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

A tour of Australia, the world’s biggest and sunniest island, is not complete without visiting the monumental Australian Capital Territory.

The pursuit of politics, power and parliamentarians is not the only focus of the Australian Capital Territory. It has all the desirable elements of a memorable holiday; national parks, nature reserves, floral festivals, science centres, shopping, and wineries. Canberra was designed by American Walter Burley Griffin around three lakes, and it is a harmonious blend of orderly town planning and aesthetically pleasing architecture.

The focal point for sightseeing is the ‘Parliamentary Triangle’. Allow four hours to visit the highlights; Parliament House on Capitol Hill, Old Parliament House, National Portrait Gallery, National Library, National Museum, Science Centre and the National Capital exhibition. The Parliament House tour is very informative, and the building showcases Australian timbers and wonderful arts and crafts within impressive marble and granite structures. Take a little time to reflect at the Australian War Memorial, regarded as one of the world’s best war museums. Stop and admire the Captain Cook Memorial Jet fountain, which has the capacity to send seven tonnes of water 140 metres into the air.

Canberra is a city of many parts, and when you are satiated with the stylish architecture, you can begin to savour other diverse pleasures. The ideal place to start is the popular restaurant area of Civic, noted for excellent food and wine, and its pleasant surroundings. Canberra has over 300 restaurants and 30 boutique wineries and is known as Australia’s ‘Cool Climate Wine Capital’. The Canberra Centre is a pleasant shopping venue and the most popular markets can be found in the Old Bus Depot in Kingston.

Physical culture is avidly pursued and Canberrans are very proud of Canberra Stadium, home to local soccer, rugby league and union sides. You can take an interesting tour of the Institute of Sport, where elite athletes are trained. The visitor can indulge in many outdoor adventures while in ACT, including the luge and flying fox at Corin Forest, plus abseiling, white water rafting, tandem skydiving and ballooning at other locations.

Nature lovers are well catered for at the giant Namadgi National Park, Botanic Gardens and the Bird Walk Atrium which houses 500 bird species. The National Dinosaur museum has impressive giant skeletons and the Reptile Centre has real live slithering creatures. Science and technology are prominent at the CSIRO Discovery Centre and the Deep Space Complex. Mount Stromlo Exploratory gives you great views of the heavens, while the Telstra Tower provides a stunning bird’s eye view of Canberra.

Visitors don’t come to Canberra solely to see the seat of government. They come for the total experience; shopping, wining, dining, sightseeing, adventure, and learning what it really means to be ‘Aussie’.