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Vacation - Canberra ACT.

Updated on December 23, 2009
Parliament Houses the Old and the New
Parliament Houses the Old and the New

Vacation Canberra.

Canberra is the seat of the Australian Federal Government, equivalent to Washington DC.

Canberra is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), 170 miles (280 km) south-west of Sydney, and 410 miles (660 km) north-east of Melbourne.

The interesting history of the ACT and Canberra is that it was selected as the nations capital in 1908 as a compromise.

At the time Melbourne was the capital of Australia but there were moves afoot to have the capital status moved to Sydney as all the big Internationals and major London banks opened in Sydney as well.

Melbourne and Sydney could not agree on which city should be the capital so the decision was made to make the capital mid way between the two.

Canberra being the closest location was chosen, hence the birth of the ACT.

Because Canberra is so small, many politicians fly home to other places a lot, and often have two homes, the one in Canberra is usually an apartment that is being used by the politicians when Parliament is sitting.

Often the family do not have much time with moms and dads who are in politics here, and it is a lonely life according to many.

Canberra and Lake Burley Griffin
Canberra and Lake Burley Griffin

Australia's Capital Territory

Canberra while being the site of the Capital of the Commonwealth Government of Australia is also one of the most unusual cities you will see anywhere.

Apart from the huge new Parliament house and all the beauty of Lake Burley Griffin as a setting for all the architecture, Canberra has many wonderful museums and art galleries, as well as our National war Museum.

Canberra is a designed city, it did not form ad hoc as many cities seem to, it was laid out with purpose around the lake.

The Australian Capitol Territory itself has a huge National park and a large farming and agricultural area with sheep, milking cows, vineyards and beef cattle.

There is not much to the city downtown or the CBD as most of the interesting places are placed around the lake. It is a great place to wander from one feature to another of the cities numerous attractions.

It is possible to see our pariamentarians and see parliament when it is sitting. Times and tours are listed in all the hotel lterature and vary from time to time.

The fountain in the Lake.
The fountain in the Lake.

Canberra also houses the National Aquarium and the Australian Wildlife Sanctuary.

You can look at coral or sharks, then kangaroos if you like right in the heart of Canberra.

Murray cod and even crocodiles and Moray eels are on display as well.

The National Portrait gallery in old Government house (yes they kept it! ) is very unusual in the way it rotates art every few months from private and public lenders and are built around themes.

The tourists that come to Canberra are often surprised by the provision the Australian Government have given the arts in it's Capital city. Canberra is not a big place, but is packed with interest!

Black Mountain overlooking Canberra
Black Mountain overlooking Canberra
Gang Gang Cockatoos
Gang Gang Cockatoos

National Botanic Gardens

Covering over 50 hectares on the slopes of Black Mountain the National Botanic Gardens have 6,000 species of flora, and all of it native.

Wild Australian native plants are the big feature here.

Here on the right we have a pair of red crested black cockatoos common in and around Canberra..

Cockatoos mate for life.

Aboriginal medicinal plants are a feature of the National Botanical gardens and guided tours are available as well.

The aboriginal people had a large range of natural medicine.

There are 600 species of eucalyptus trees in the rain-forest.

The misty rain-forest environment is an absolute must if you enjoy nature.

You will need walking shoes of course and a waterproof coat or plastic rain coat with a hood.

You will see many beautiful species of trees in the forest that are very tall and unusual with similar species having many different bark textures from completely smoot, to almost animal fur like. if you love the forest, thid id a great place to see it.

The Shine Dome - The Australian Academy of Science
The Shine Dome - The Australian Academy of Science

The Shine Dome - The Australian Academy of Scienc

The Shine Dome

The Shine Dome is a well-known Canberra landmark, with the unusual structure it is popular with the tourist. It was designed by architect Sir Roy Grounds.
The building was completed in 1959, its 45.75m-diameter dome was the largest in Australia.

Planning started on 1 December 1956, the Academy's building design committee met in Adelaide to look over plans submitted by various architects.
The building was to involve a 710 ton reinforced concrete dome, which was to be supported by 16 thin supports.
The base supports are approximately 60cm thick at the base, and 10cm at the top.
 The dome supports itself, with no internal wall holding it up.
 The building cost 200,000 pounds to build.
 The Prime Minister of Australa Robert Gordon Menzies laid the foundation stone, on 2 May 1958, and was originally part of the pier of the Great Melbourne Telescope constructed in 1869 under the supervision of the Royal Society and transferred to Mount Stromlo Observatory in the 1940s.

Inside the building there are two floors, and the Main Auditorium, the Ian Wark Theatre, seats 156 people.

Parliament House in Canberra
Parliament House in Canberra

The Parliament of Australia.

Parliament house is built in the shape of a boomerang and was the most expensive building in the southern hemisphere when built in 1988.

Most of the building is open to the public.

Old Parliament house sits behind the new one and is now a museum.

The new building is very different to anything you will see elsewhere, as is much of Canberra.

The Australian War Memorial located in Canberra (ACT)
The Australian War Memorial located in Canberra (ACT)

The Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial is the people of Australia's national memorial to the members of all its forces and supporting organizations who have died or participated in the wars of Australia.

The memorial which was opened in 1941, includes an extensive national military museum.
The Australian War Memorial is highly regarded and is widely accepted as one of the most significant memorials of its type in the world.

The Memorial is located in Australia's capital, here in Canberra (ACT).
It is the most northern point of the city's ceremonial land area, which stretches from Parliament House on Capital Hill along a line passing through the summit of the cone-shaped Mt Ainslie to the northeast.
There is no direct roadway link between the two points, but there is a clear line of sight from the front balcony of Parliament House to the War Memorial, and from the front steps of the War Memorial back to Parliament House.

The Australian War Memorial is made up of three parts :-

  •  the Commemorative Area (shrine) including the Hall of Memory with the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier.
  • The Australian War Memorial's galleries (museum).
  • Research Centre (records).
  • The Memorial also has an outdoor Sculpture Garden. At the moment The Memorial is currently open daily from 10am until 5pm, except on Christmas Day. But visitors would be advised to check for updates.

Activities in Canberra

Parliament House a birds eye view!
Parliament House a birds eye view!

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