TOP TEN REASONS TO VISIT CANBERRA, CAPITAL OF AUSTRALIA:
Canberra, the capital of Australia has a lot to offer to the discerning traveler. I visited Canberra recently and was impressed to see that there were so many amazing things to see/do/eat in Canberra. And did you know, it is the capital of Australia? In this blog, I am listing below some of my best experiences in Canberra.
- IT IS EASY TO SPOT WILDLIFE IN CANBERRA:
The Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve houses wildlife which is unique to Australia. I easily spotted Kangaroos, wallabies, cockatoos, koalas, emus, magpie and many other species. I even saw a fleeting glimpse of the platypus, which is difficult to spot. An easy and quick walk takes one to the Hanging Rock which is the former home of the aboriginals of Australia. It was my most favourite part of the trip.
2. FLORIADE, THE FLOWER SHOW OF CANBERRA
Floriade, the largest flower show of the Southern Hemisphere has something for everyone. There is more to Floriade than just beautifully arranged flowers beds though. You can enjoy a ride on the swings, eat delicious food, attend music gigs or just sit by the pristine lake and admire the art installations. As you navigate through the ocean of tulips in unimaginable colors, you will stumble upon art installations and sculptures set amidst nature. The Night fest, a weekend bonus, allows you to enjoy pop- up performances, gigs by musicians and comedians. Locally crafted beer from Capital Brewing Co will keep you going. It reminded me of the Tulip festival of Srinagar in India.
Book with: The affable Kerstin Wallace is a mine on knowledge on not only Floriade but also Canberra. E mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
+ (0) 415632502
3. SEGWAY AT LAKE BURLEY GRIFFIN, CANBERRA:
The Lake Burley Griffin impressed me with its well planned layout. The artificial lake was completed in 1963 and named after Walter Burley Griffin, the architect of Canberra City. While locals come here for a jog or walk, travelers like me enjoy the segway ride. I segwayed my way through the Parliamentary area. It was my first Segway experience and I am hooked for life.
4. EXPLORE THE OLD AND NEW PARLIAMENTS OF CANBERRA:
Do you know that it is possible to visit the old and the new Parliament in Canberra. What’s more? You can even see a live session in the House of Representatives. The design of the new Parliament is simple yet elegant. And the Australian flag at the top of the building is the size of a double decker bus. And oh, the new parliament has a cool café too.
5. LAST POST CEREMONY AT AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL:
The ‘Last Post Ceremony’ is a poignant ritual which is performed daily at the Australian War Memorial. Every day one person from the ‘Roll Of Honor’ is commemorated. The Roll of Honor includes the names of the people who had served and died in war. The ceremony begins with Australian National Anthem and bagpiper’s lament.
6. QUESTACON- GREAT FOR SCIENCE ENTHUSISTS
Canberra is a delight for science lovers. While Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre is the science paradise for kids. You can see how lightening works or understand wildlife by studying the faux skulls of wild animals or even interact with a real robot (eerie, I know!). There are interesting workshops which unravels the mystery behind natural phenomenon. My favorite was: Experiencing the earthquake at different levels on the richter scale.
7. NASA’S DEEP SPACE COMMUNICATIONS COMPLEX, CANBERRA:
NASA’s Deep Space Communications Complex near Canberra city gives deep insight about all things space. It is just 35 kilometers away from Canberra City. There are only 2 more such complexes in world, viz. U.S.A and Spain. Set amidst the wilderness of Tidbinbilla valley, it boasts of huge antennas which can be viewed from behind glass windows. The exhibits include food which astronauts carry in space, space suits, a replica of Mars Exploration Rover. And can you believe, it has a real rock from moon. Just 3.8 billion years old, eh!
Book with: The charming and witty Alin Jugovic from Blue Sky Tours showed me around. I recommend them for a hassle free trip.
E mail them at: email@example.com
8. VEGETARIAN AND VEGAN FOOD GALORE IN CANBERRA:
Before I flew to Canberra with Singapore airlines, I was a bit worried about the food since I am a vegetarian. However, to my delight, I realized, it was easy to find vegetarian and even vegan food in Canberra. I devoured authentic Italian dishes like Burrata, Frico at Agostinis (East Hotel and Apartments) and vegetarian burgers (loaded with aubergines) at Capital Brewing Co. and Brodburger. The delicious waffle at the Muse Canberra made for a sumptuous breakfast. I relished delicious mushroom burger and coffee at Maple + Clove. It was also very easy to find the Indian vegetarian dishes (most of them are in Canberra City Centre). The super market like Coles stored Indian brands like Haldiram and it was easy to pick some Indian snacks and meals in case you start craving. No, I didn’t have to survive on fruits and breads.
9. THE FRIENDLY PEOPLE OF CANBERRA WON MY HEART:
The people of Canberra are one of the friendliest I have met. You ask them one question; they will help you with 5 answers. Whether you need help with directions or want to ask if the cheese in the super market has rennet in it, they will readily help you. No question is too small. They are great listeners. They will patiently listen to every query of yours. The big sunshine smiles of people of Canberra make them one of the most happy and cheerful people I have met during my travels.
10. THE VIBRANT CANBERRA CITY CENTER:
The vibrant Canberra City centre is lined with shops selling clothes, books, CDs, souvenirs, the works! Its streets are lined with chic cafes and restaurants, including many Indian and Chinese ones. Canberra Centre mall is good to start with (Its food court sells authentic Indian food). Bunda street in the civic shopping area of the civic zone boasts of the best of cafes and nightclubs.
Check out this video of AMAZING THINGS TO DO IN CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA
Canberra grew on me as I discovered it layer by layer. The crisp spring air made it even more pleasant. Wildlife, Science, Heritage, Adventure sports, great food. You name it. Canberra has it. It will always be special to me because I saw my first kangaroo and koala here. With so much going for it, when are you booking that Singapore airlines flight ticket.
I also visited Melbourne and Sydney during my 10 day long maiden Australia trip. I travelled from Canberra to Melbourne on a bus and from Melbourne to Sydney on a train. Though, the Melbourne to Sydney train was comfortable and pocket friendly, how I wished I had done a road trip. When I read this blog, I realized what I missed by not doing a road trip from Melbourne to Sydney- the landscapes, the abundant wildlife, sigh! Australia is huge and despite my 10 days long trip to Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, I want to come back and do lots of road trips and of course explore Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth and Darwin.
How to reach Canberra:
I traveled to Canberra in the business class of Singapore Airlines. Everything from the food, to service, to seats and facilities were flawless.
Best Time to Go to Canberra:
I visited Canberra during the spring time (September-October). Everyone I met in Canberra told me that I am lucky with the weather. It was breezy, not too cold and not hot at all. Spring is also when the Floriade happens. I couldn’t have wished for a better weather. It was just perfect!
Where to Stay in Canberra:
East Hotel and Apartment, located just walking distance from the Kingston and Manuka Oval is a great place to stay. The room (Room number 501) was cozy, comfortable and came with a charming balcony. Amenities in the room include TV, Lamps, Mini Bar, Coffee making machine and a private Jacuzzi bathtub. The restaurant serves amazing authentic Italian dishes (including vegan). Thanks to its central location it is close to all the points of interests in Canberra. It is walking distance from the cool cafes and super market Coles. Staff is friendly and helpful.
What did I do after exploring Canberra solo? I took a bus from Canberra to Melbourne and explored the city all day. On the second day my friend Poornendu Tyagi drove me to the picturesque The Great Ocean Road Trip
After Melbourne, I took a train from Melbourne to Sydney. I did the beach walks and explored the city. The Bondi to Coogee walk was scenic.
Nasa’s Deep Space Research Complex. Canberra, Australia
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