Five reasons to add Canberra to your travel bucket list
Australia features on most travel bucket lists. But when they get there, the majority of visitors tend to stick to the main tourist hubs in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne. Understood, Australia is a big place, and you can’t see it all in a single visit. But if you miss the nation’s capital, you are doing both it and yourself a huge disservice. Here are just a few reasons why Canberra needs to be part of your Australia travel plans.
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1) A million flowers in bloom
Canberra allows you to connect with nature in a way that you just don’t find in most capitals. There are green spaces everywhere in the carefully landscaped city, and regardless of the time of year, the Botanic Gardens, the Arboretum and Lake Burley Griffin offer peace and tranquility.
Time it really smart, however, and you can check out Floriade, the annual flower festival, where more than a million gorgeous flowers come into bloom at the same time. This year’s event will run from 16 September to 15 October, so you have plenty of time to prepare.
2) A nation’s heritage on display
The juxtaposition of the old and new Parliament buildings makes it easy to spend a day learning about Australia’s heritage, past and present. Guided tours are available at both locations, and you don’t need to be crazy about history or politics to enjoy them for what they are – a fascinating insight into how a country is run, both past and present.
The New Parliament is home to both Houses, while the old now contains the Australian Democracy Museum. When you’ve visited both, finish your day at the War Memorial and listen to the Last Post being played at sunset. It’s a genuinely moving experience you won’t forget in a hurry.
3) An Aussie casino with a difference
If you’ve already spent time in other Australian cities, you will know that casinos are an important part of Aussie nightlife. The Casino Canberra is unusual as the license excludes slots – or pokies as they are known locally. That sounds a little like an Italian restaurant that doesn’t sell pasta, but it actually makes for a great feeling of drama and exclusivity when it’s only table games on offer. If the lack of the pokies that make Australia famous makes you sad, you can always visit casinoaus.net and play some online when you get back to your hotel.
Games on offer at this traditional city landmark include blackjack, baccarat, Pai Gow and a whole lot of poker variations. If you’re feeling hungry, the Natural Nine restaurant has a great reputation for authentic Chinese cuisine, while the Onyx Lounge is the perfect spot to chow down on a pub classic while you watch some sport on the big screen.
4) A more effective money-making scheme
Don’t feel bad if you don’t get lucky at the casino, we can’t all be winners every time. If you want to see a guaranteed way to make money, head out to the Royal Australian Mint, just to the west of Capitol Hill.
There are lots of exhibits that will fascinate and inform visitors of all ages, plus a tour that is free but has limited places, so book in advance.
5) Questacon makes science fun
Oh, if only the science museums we visited as kids were like Questacon, who knows what we might have made of our lives? There are dozens of interactive displays and activities so you can get involved in everything from making a tornado to arguing with a robot.
Yes, youngsters will have a great time here, but they are not a prerequisite to visiting. It’s one of the highlights of this astonishing city, however old you are.
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