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Canberra Attractions

What to See and Do in Canberra


National Gallery of Australia sculpture

Pears sculpture on the way to the National Gallery

Copyright 1998 Larry Rivera

Among the Canberra's many attractions, the Australian Parliament House — where the Prime Minister has his offices, and where the country's House of Representatives and Senate draft and pass legislation affecting not only Australia but also the world — is a popular first stop. It is an imposing white structure on Capital Hill with grass from the sides of the building sweeping up in a carpet of green over the top of the building.

It used to be that you could on the grass covering Parliament House and have panoramic views of Canberra across Lake Burley Griffinand beyond it to the living city centre of downtown Canberra.

The Australian Parliament House is open to visitors daily except on Christmas Day. Regular guided tours are available.

More places to visit close up

A little to the right, this side of Lake Burley Griffin, are the National Library, Questacon the National Science and Technology Centre, the Old Parliament House, now the Museum of Australian Democracy, and the National Gallery of Australia.

Beyond the lake, at the end of Anzac Parade, stands the Australian War Memorial.

These are places that deserve a visit and a closer look.

Cafes and casino

The trees add color to areas around Commonwealth Ave just off Vernon Circle. This is a shopping and dining district, and there are reasonably-priced cafes, many al fresco, as well as full-blown licensed restaurants.

From here it's a short walk to Casino Canberra if you felt like a bit of a flutter.

On the other side of London Circuit, in the west, are the Academy of Science, ScreenSound Australia (the national screen and sound archive), and a bit farther away on University Ave the Australian National University.

Being the nation's capital, Canberra is home to a host of embassies, most of them found in the suburb of Yarralumla, west of Capital Hill on the south side of the lake.

Mostly these embassies display the architecture of the country they represent, and it is interesting to view the variety of international cultural and architectural styles.

Lookouts and gardens

There are several lookouts overlooking Canberra. These include Black Mountain, Mount Ainslie and Red Hill lookouts.

If going up Black Mountain, you might want to visit the Australian National Botanic Gardens on the way.

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