Canberra is a great city to drive around. Its fantastic urban planning makes it easy to navigate, so there are no traffic jams or toll roads – even peak hour is hardly a hindrance. Parking here is cheaper than any other Australian capital. Book your car hire in advance, at the airport or a city rental office upon arrival.
There are plenty of taxis in Canberra to make getting around easier and save you time. Hail a taxi on the street or book ahead by phone, or find a taxi rank in one of the major city locations. Nightlink taxis also operate on Friday and Saturday nights from midnight to 6.00am for the party animals, departing from East Row.
ACTION operates Canberra's public bus service, which includes the major tourist sites. Daily tickets are ideal for sightseers and can be purchased at ACTION ticket agents or with cash on the bus. The main interchanges are along Alinga Street, East Row and Mort Street. Visit the information centre on the corner of Alinga Street and East Row for timetables and route information.
Canberra has a great network of walking paths and tracks, and the city centre is very easy to walk around. Explore the many established walking routes, which are often informative too, including the Australians of the Year Walk, the Burley Griffin Walk, or the Old Parliament House Gardens Walk. Otherwise go bush to Black Mountain or Mount Ainslie for brilliant city views.
Opened in 1988, Australia's third home of the Federal Parliament is rather extravagant. Literally dug into Capital Hill, landscaped gardens and grassy slopes rise onto the roof, from where you'll discover fantastic 360-degree city views. Large areas of the house are open to the public daily, though close early during sitting. Free guided tours are available daily.
Home to Australia's finest scientific collection of native plants, the Australian National Botanic Gardens expand across 90 beautiful hectares on the lower slopes of Black Mountain. Boasting around 90,000 plants of more than 5000 species, highlights include Rainforest Gully, Eucalypt Lawn and the Aboriginal Plant Use Walk. Stop by the visitor centre and bookshop for information, maps and free guided tours.
Offering an in-depth look at Australia's history and modern existence, the National Museum of Australia poses an interesting mix of displays. Permanent exhibitions explore the people, events and issues that have shaped Australia, including environmental change, Indigenous culture, national icons and more. With a focus on sharing stories, the museum encourages debate and opinion. Interactive displays even invite visitors' contributions.
Built to commemorate the Australians that died while serving their country, the Australian War Memorial is the nation's most visited museum. Overlooking Anzac Parade and Lake Burley Griffin, the touching museum explores the battles that have shaped Australia through a massive collection of relics, pictures, dioramas and exhibitions. Weaponry, uniforms and heavy machinery are also on display. There are free guided tours.
Head straight to the obvious attraction, Parliament House, and take the free guided tour inside. Wander the expansive grounds and be sure to walk to the very top of Capital Hill to catch fantastic city views. This is also a great way to get your bearings on day one. Then explore the area of Parkes, including Old Parliament House, the High Court and the National Portrait Gallery or the National Gallery of Australia. At the end of a long day, head to Kingston and Manuka for dinner, where you'll be not far from the great views of Lake Burley Griffin.
Escape the usual sights and head to the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Stop by the visitor information centre then wander the morning away. Be sure to explore Rainforest Gully, the Eucalypt Lawn and the Aboriginal Plant Use Walk. If you're keen, climb to Telstra Tower at the top of Black Mountain for a coffee and fantastic views of Canberra. Then make your way back down to the National Museum of Australia. If you have kids, don't miss Questacon, a family attraction that people of all ages seem to love. When it gets dark, retire with a few wines or cocktails and a lovely meal in Dickson.
Enjoy a slow and leisurely breakfast in one of the cafes of Civic and watch the world go by in Canberra's city centre. When you're ready to launch into the day, wander the streets and see what you find between the various shopfronts, boutiques and office buildings. Then head to the Australian War Memorial, still north of Lake Burley Griffin. Be sure to take part in one of the free 90-minute guided tours. You can easily spend all afternoon here – for history buffs, much longer. Finish the day with dinner then a show at Canberra's Theatre Centre back in Civic.
Get out of the city and explore a little further afield. Hire a car so you can drive out to Namadgi National Park, which takes up 46 per cent of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Here you'll have ample opportunities to bushwalk, climb and relish in outdoor adventures in the fresh Australian Alps. Watch closely where you're going as scattered around the park are many Aboriginal campsites, ceremonial stone arrangements and rock art. In Orroral Valley you'll also find an early European homestead. If you bring a fishing rod, you can even fish in the streams during summer. Near the village of Tharwa is the Namadgi Visitor Centre, where you can pick up maps, brochures and books about the park.
Expedia Holidays > Canberra Holidays