By Darren Stones
Most Australians think of Canberra as a place where well-groomed and conscientious politicians go to serve their constituents to improve the people’s standard of living. All jokes aside, Canberra is a beaut place to visit for the rank and file during the year. And, many of the attractions are free!
Parliament House is an imposing building with its impressive architecture and flagpole dominating Capitol Hill. It’s a building which displays fine art, craft and is melded into the landscape. The main foyer features 48 marble columns which resemble the trunks of eucalypts. If you’re keen to witness Australia’s elected representatives getting into a bunfight over policy differences, feel free to contact Parliament House to arrange your prime viewing seat.
The view from the Mount Ainslie lookout offers a panoramic vista, with the most popular view looking south over the War Memorial, down Anzac Parade, Lake Burley Griffin, Old Parliament House and New Parliament House. To the west, the Black Mountain tower rises 195 metres from the summit of Black Mountain.
Canberra’s spectacular autumn colours are a delight, with deciduous trees displaying tones which provide picture-perfect scenery.
Lake Burley Griffin is a magnet for those seeking a leisurely stroll, and its southern shore features the Australians of the Year Walk.
The eye-catching Captain Cook Memorial Jet is situated on Lake Burley Griffin, and it sends a powerful stream of water to a maximum of 147 metres. The jet automatically switches off during high winds, and operates daily between 2-4pm.
The National Carillon, rising to 50 metres, is located across the footbridge to Aspen Island. The British Government gave the carillon to Australia as a gift to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Canberra as the nation’s capital. It was officially opened by Elizabeth II in April 1970. A 45-minute tour of the carillon is conducted on Saturdays commencing 11.30am. Bookings essential.
Parliament House – Visitors
Phone: (02) 6277 5399
Free admission and parking
Australian War Memorial
Treloar Crescent Campbell ACT
Phone: 02 6243 4211
Black Mountain Tower
Black Mountain Drive Acton ACT
Phone: 02 6219 6111
Freecall: 1800 806 718
Admission fees apply
Forrest Hotel and Apartments
30 National Circuit Forrest ACT
Phone: 02 6295 3433
National Capital Authority