Canberra is affectionately known as Australia's 'bush capital' and nested at it's heart is the Parliamentary Triangle, the ceremonial precinct of Canberra defined by Parliament House, the Defence Force Head Quarters and Capital Hill. Characterised by large expanses of open park lands and tree lined streets, the Parliamentary Triangle has an open feel despite its small geographical size.
The open planned nature and abundant green spaces are common features throughout Canberra and are due to considerable forethought by city planners. Other notable buildings around the Parliamentary Triangle include High Court, the National Gallery and the National Library all of which are open to the public. The design of Parliament House itself engenders sympathy with the land appearing to emerge from within Capitol Hill, almost shouldering its lawns in a design inspired by two boomerangs back to back and crowned with an 81m flagpole.
Although Canberra is thought of as being predominantly political in nature there are a range of different attractions for tourists to see. The arts and cultural scene located in the city precinct is a must for any visitor including the National Gallery of Australia, the ANU School of Art Gallery and the Canberra Theatre.
Canberra has a high concentration of museums offering a range of activities, interactive exhibits and displays. There’s the National Dinosaur Museum for the kids, the National Museum of Australia, Canberra Museum and Gallery, and the National Portrait Gallery.
The Australian War Museum is another must see when visiting Canberra. Officially opened in 1941, the memorial features three distinct parts: The Commemorative area or shrine, the Memorial’s gallery and museum, plus a Research Centre.
Canberra is also home to a multitude of government buildings and institutions and although not overly exciting are significant to Australian society and heritage. The Australian Institute of Sports, Australian National University, Australian Defence Force Academy, the Royal Australian Mint and the Royal Military College are all located in Canberra.
Ok so we have toured enough of the political and cultural landscape of Canberra now lets get down to the important stuff, shopping!
The city centre of Canberra houses the majority of shopping, entertainment and dining attractions and is one of the most popular attractions for tourists visiting the city.
Canberra Centre is a three level shopping complex that boasts an impressive 300 specialty stores as well as major department chains and a cinema complex. City Walk and Garema Place arcades are a great alternative to Canberra Centre and are full of fashion boutiques and stylish cafes.
Other notable shopping areas in Canberra are located in the suburbs of Manuka, Kingston and Braddon. There is an outlet mall in Fyshwick, Gorman House Markets in the city and the award winning Old Bus Depot Markets located in Kingston.
Dining options in Canberra cater for a wide range of tastes and preferences. There are more than 300 cafes, restaurants and pubs located throughout with the majority of these located around the city centre, City Walk and Garema Place.
The bush landscape surrounding Canberra is mostly grassy plains, and whilst much is mountainous and forested agricultural crops and wineries are widespread.
Satellite to Canberra is the Namadgi National Park and townships of Bungendore, Tharwa and and Hall. Tidbinbilla is to the south-west of Canberra that features the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, operated by the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as part of its Deep Space Network.