Australian Capital Territory and Canberra

The Australian Capital territory is a relatively small area that is home to the capital city, Canberra. It is approximately 80 km (50 miles) by 30 km (19 miles) in area and lies within the New South Wales borders. The whole southwestern area of the Australian Capital Territory is occupied by the Namadgi National Park.

The City of Canberra used to be little more than a sheep station and farm country until Walter Burley Griffin won an international competition to design the city. Canberra is definitely no longer a sheep station and has developed into a modern western world capital city.

Parliament House, Canberra
Parliament House, Canberra
National Museum of Australia, Canberra
National Museum of Australia, Canberra
Canberra is located in the northern part of the Australian Capital Territory, 300 km south-west of Sydney and 650 km north-east of Melbourne by road. The city is situated on a man made lake called Lake Burley Griffin. Canberra is Australia's major political city and the population has grown over the years to approximately 300,000 from 50,000 in 1960.

Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory came into existence in the early 1900s after Australia was federated in 1901. Canberra is an Australian Aboriginal word meaning "meeting place" and it lives up to that name today.

As with many national capital cities, Canberra offers many museums, galleries and government buildings worth visiting. Canberra is home to the Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery of Australia and Questacon, a science museum.

For outdoors activities, the Australian Capital Territory is located close to Australia's beautiful Snowy Mountains.

Carillon, Canberra
Carillon, Canberra

The Namadgi National Park and the Tidinbilla Nature Reserve are close to Canberra making this area a favorite for hikers.

The best way to get to Canberra is to drive or to fly depending on your starting point. The airport is only 4 miles from the city center.

Maximum temperatures range from 50 to 80 degrees F depending on the time of the year.

Some Key Attractions:

Parliament House is the center of attention in Canberra. It is built into the peak of Capital Hill and guided tours are available where you will learn about the story of democracy in Australia. You can also observe Australia's political process if Parliament is in session.

The Australian War Memorial was built to commemorate all Australians who lost their lives at war. The Roll of Honour lists all 102,600 names of those who have died. There is also a Reflecting Pool and a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which gives the city a feeling similar to Washington D.C.

The National Gallery of Australia is home to 100,000 works of art with a diverse origin and style. It opened in 1982 and the core of the art works are Australian, including an Aboriginal art section.

The National Museum of Australia explores the heritage of Australia from the early Aboriginal days to the days of European settlement up until now.

The Australian National Botanic Gardens is home to a huge collection of Australian native plants. Approximately 90,000 plants and 5,000 species are on display.

The Royal Australian Mint has made more than 8 billion coins since 1965. Visitors can see designers at work, watch coins being made, learn about the history of Australian currency and purchase some of the commemorative coins that have been produced.

Questacon is the National Science and Technology Center with 200 hands on exhibits that help to make the education of science fun and entertaining.

Namadgi National Park covers almost 50% of the Australian Capital Territory and is located only 22 miles south of Canberra. The rugged bush land, rivers, snowy mountains and valleys make this a popular area to hike or to just get away from it all.

Key Link: Visit Canberra - Official Tourism Site

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