Canberra, Australia with its galleries, monuments and museums

Parliament House, Canberra

Parliament House, Canberra

I recently had the chance to visit Canberra, Australia, not having been there for many years and had an excellent time exploring (with friends) the various buildings and exhibitions open to the public in a city which is easy to travel around (by car), clean and safe.

I arrived in Canberra, Australia’s purpose built capital city, just in time for the city’s 100th birthday celebrations.  My domestic flight from Melbourne to Canberra took 1 hour (noting that there are in fact no international flights into Canberra).  Qantas flight for one $240 (return).

I pick up our compact 4WD hire car which will be perfect for exploring this city of roundabouts and await the arrival of my 3 girlfriends who are flying in separately from Brisbane. 

Our accommodation for our 3 night stay in Canberra is a fairly new (and very clean) balcony apartment in Kingston, which is handy to a café and restaurant strip. 

Canberra balcony apartment

Canberra balcony apartment

Our apartment sleeps 4 and works out to a reasonable cost of $180 each.

Canberra is home to a wide selection of museums, memorials, national monuments and galleries.  All of Canberra’s facilities are located around the man made Lake Burley Griffin (named after the American Architect who conceived Canberra’s primary design) and all within an easily accessible area, which means that, an ideal way to explore this compact city is by (rental) car.  Total car hire cost from Friday night to Monday morning $50 each which includes the highest level of insurance available.

Being compact means that Old Parliament House is up the road from the “new” Parliament House which is 5 minutes from the National Museum of Canberra which is around the corner from the anything else you may wish to see while in Canberra.  Canberra has been designed to be compact.  Canberra is a planned city, built as a capital city within which politicians and their families can live and work. 

Traffic is minimal, even considering the city’s 100th birthday celebrations.  This is a city of roundabouts which makes for good traffic flow, combined with a general lack of traffic, equates to relatively stress free driving, including easy and, in most cases, free parking.  Apparently, from one side of Canberra to the other can take as little as 40 minutes to drive. (Total petrol cost for the weekend – $17)

Most of the museums and galleries also have free entry or gold coin donation (ie $1 or $2) and some provide (free) regular guided tours which allow you to get the most out of your visit by providing you with relevant information and anecdotes.

The places I visited with my 3 co-explorers over our two days/3 nights in Canberra included (in no particular order):

Australian War Memorial
(contains Australian military history and memorial of the unknown soldier –
recommended 3 days to see it all)

Australian War Memorial - Commemorative Area

Australian War Memorial – Commemorative Area

Australian War Memorial - Roll of Honour

Australian War Memorial - Unknown Soldier

Australian War Memorial – Unknown Soldier

Australian War Memorial - Lancaster Bomber