Canberra is a prolific custodian of national history, both aboriginal and European. Officials designed the layout of the city to cluster monuments, museums and galleries around Lake Burley Griffin, an artificial body of water in the city’s heart.
You can find out more about how the city was planned at the National Capital Exhibition, on Barrine Drive which adjoins the Canberra Region Visitors Centre. The location also offers great views across the lake. The nearby Canberra Museum and Gallery includes exclusive exhibitions and a permanent display of work by Sir Sydney Nolan, one of Australia’s most famous artists.
On the southern side of Lake Burley Griffin, you will find the National Gallery of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery and Questacon - the National Science and Technology Centre. Also not far from the shore, is the city’s iconic Parliament House, where Australia’s politicians meet.
Head to the suburbs for some quirkier museums and collections. About 20km north of the city is the National Dinosaur Museum, in Gold Creek Village. This is a particular favourite among children, and a fun and in-depth history of palaeontology in Australia.
For a bird’s-eye view of the city (and a useful landmark if you get lost), Telstra Tower stands 195m above the summit of Black Mountain, offering exceptional panoramic views from its visitors’ platform.
Popular annual events include the spring festival, Floriade (mid-September to mid-October), the Canberra Balloon Spectacular (10 days each March) and the Enlighten after dark festival featuring light projections on many iconic buildings, night noodle markets and quirky entertainment (also in March).