Canberra is the capital city of Australia, located within the Australian Capital Territory - the ACT is to be found within the state boundaries of New South Wales), southwest of Australia's largest city Sydney. The capital city and its territory have a combined population of about 325,000 people.
Canberra was established in 1913 as a purpose-built capital for the newly federated Australian nation - this brought the rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne for national capital status to an end. The artificial creation of the city was not without critics, however: many said that it was the "waste of a good sheep pasture". Canberra is a highly planned city, its primary design conceived by the American architect Walter Burley Griffin, and built on the shores of an artificial lake (Lake Burley Griffin) - populated at first largely by politicians and public servants, it has taken several decades to develop its own identity and culture. A building spree in the late 20th century, however, and a concerted effort to develop public institutions in the city, has made it a viable destination for the traveller.
As Canberra is the political centre of Australia, Canberra International Airport (CBR) is well served by flights from other Australian capital cities. The following airlines fly to Canberra daily:
From other cities you can fly to one of the above cities and then to Canberra. International visitors would normally fly to Sydney or Melbourne and transfer to a domestic flight to Canberra. Flying time is 50 minutes from Sydney, 1 hour from Melbourne, 2 hours from Brisbane and Adelaide, and 4 hours from Perth.
Countrylink runs services from Sydney to Canberra twice a day. The economy fare is AU$49.50.
Canberra is 300 km drive from Sydney and 650km drive from Melbourne. Drivers would take the dual carriage Hume Highway which connects Sydney and Melbourne and then take the Canberra turnoff just after Yass (coming from Melbourne) or Goulburn (coming from Sydney). Canberra is approximately 40 minutes drive from the turnoff.
Action buses cover the majority of Canberra. Fares are currently (Jan 04) AU$2.40 for adults and AU$1.30 for concessions (Have your student card ready to show the driver). There are also all-day, weekly and monthly tickets available.
Tips for riding the buses:
If you need to change buses to get somewhere, ask for a transfer ticket; it'll let you on to as many buses as you need within 60 minutes of getting on the first bus.
Tell the driver where you need to get to (and how quickly if that's important) and ask them what your options are. Some buses snake through the suburbs and can take a while to cover a relatively short distance while others may be more direct or express services.
the Australian War Memorial, Treloar Crescent, (top of ANZAC Parade, at the other end from Parliament House). ph 02 6243 4211 or 02 6243 4598 (for recorded information). fax 02 6243 4325. The War Memorial is more than a simple memorial. It is one of Australia's premier museums, covering Australian military history from Federation to the present day and including fascinating exhibits of equipment, memorabilia and battle dioramas.
the Parliament House of Australia, top of ANZAC Parade. ph 02 6277 5399 or 02 6277 2727 (for recorded information). Parliament House is the seat of Australia's federal government and legislature and a remarkable piece of modern architecture. Also home to the National Portrait Gallery.
the National Museum of Australia, Lawson Crescent. ph 02 6208 5000. fax 02 6208 5099.
the National Gallery of Australia, Parkes Place, Parkes. ph 02 6240 6502. Located by Lake Burley Griffin, this modern structure is one of the country's largest art galleries. Open 10am – 5pm. Free for all except "special exhibits".
the National Library of Australia, ph 02 6262 1111. fax 02 6257 1703.
the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) , Leverrier Crescent, Bruce. ph 02 6214 1111. fax 02 6251 2680. The AIS is Australia's elite athlete training facility. It is open both for tours and for fitness classes.
Questacon, King Edward Terrace, Parkes. ph 02 6270 2800 or 1800 020 603 (free call, recorded information). Questacon is an interactive museum of science, with exhibits illustrating scientific ideas from the principles of physics to the motion of an earthquake. Entry is $14 adults, $9.50 concessions, $8 children, and $42 for a family of 2 adults and 3 children. Open 9am - 5pm.
Telstra (Black Mountain) Tower, Black Mountain Drive, Acton ACT (5 km from the city centre), tel 02 6219 6111, fax 02 6257 6600, open daily 9am-10pm, admission $3.30 adult, $1.10 child/concession - this functional communications tower rises 195 m above the summit of Black Mountain, providing 360 degree views of Canberra and the countryside around it. Well worth a visit, both day and night, for the fantastic views.
Prime Minister's lodge is generally closed to public and one can only see the part of the garden from behind the wall. There are 'open days', once a year or so, and if you are lucky to be in Canberra on a day, it shoudn't be misses.
the Government Houseis an official residence of General-governor, representative of the Queen and the formal head of Australia. The residence is also closed to the public, exept for the 'open days', but can be observed from the hill off the Scrivener Dam Rd.
Being the National Capital, Canberra hosts the Embassies of other countries. Some of them are architecturally interesting and worth looking at. Particularly:
The Embassy of China
The Embassy of Papua New Guinea
The whole 'Embassy district' in leafy Yarralumla suburb.
There is a lot to do on & around Lake Burley Griffin:
Hire a paddle boat, canoe or kayak and mess around on the lake. Hire is available from:
The Floriade - festival of flowers, an yearly event, not to be missed
The Multicultural Festival - a must to visit, has many evens, such as concerts, performances and a International Food Fare with over 200 stalls selling original food of different countries. Happens every year.
Thai Embassy Food Fare - once a year - do not miss this !! Philippines Embassy, Embassy of Sri Lanka and some other embassies do the similar events sometimes.
Diplomatic Charity Basar - held from time to time, not very often though. Great place to buy the things original to the specific countries, sold by the staff of the embassies.
Tip - Watch for Canberra Times newspaper on Saturday for the upcoming events.
Jamison market - every Sunday near Jamison centre, in Belconnen. Fresh produce stalls and flea market. Come and get your bargain. Vinyl records, second hand clothing, furniture, bric-a-brac.
Old Bus Depot Market, every Sunday. Antiques, arts and crafts. Food Stalls.
Fyshwick Markets. Dalby St (Cnr Mildura St) Fyshwick, ph 02 6295 0606. Fresh produce, including fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. Sunday afternoons are a good time to pick up some bargains.
Canberra has never been a shopping mecca, but in the recent years things improved a bit and one doesn't necesserely have to go to Sydney to keep up to date with the latest fashions.
Canberra Centre in civic is a large shopping mall, which hosts two large department stores 'Myer" and 'David Jones' and many speciality shops for fashion wear. 'Ecco' shoes has a good selection. 'Country Road' is here as well as the others. The second floor of the centre hosts 'Laura Ashley' and 'Pumpkin Patch' - a good children clothing shop, 'Bed Bath and Table', to name just a few.
Behind the main Canberra Centre building, there is another one, which hosts 'Target' department store and 'Supabarn' supermarket, along with food outlets and speciality food shops.
Canberra centre has a convenient pay car parking.
Manuka is another shopping area, in Griffith which has 'boutiques' and restaurants. Millers of Manuka boutique sells leading women's fashion brands like Max Mara and ohers.
Kingston is yet another shopping and restaurant area not far from Manuka.
Fyshwick is the suburb to shop for the appliances and technical stuff.
Pide House, 2 Lawry Place, Jamison and Woden Plaza, Corinna Street, Woden. tel 02 6251 3325 (Jamison) and 02 6260 3016 (Woden). Nice, inexpensive Turkish food in a proper restaurant (not a takeaway outlet). The Woden location is open all day (one of the very few in Canberra).
Silo Bakery and Cafe, 36 Giles St, Kingston. tel 02 6260 6060. Best breakfast in town.
Cafe D'Lish, Shop 3, Duff Place, Deakin. tel 02 6281 3533. fax 02 6281 3450. Swiss owner, nice pastries made on premises.
Bruno's Truffels, Unit 2, 106 Mawson Place, Mawson. tel 02 6286 6377. Nice cafe and shop for locally made chocolates.
Belluci's Restaurant, Cape St (cnr Woolley St), Dickson. tel 02 6257 7788. Simply the best.
Four Rivers Sichuan Chinese Restaurant, Unit 66, The Coventry Apartments, 12 Challis Street, Dickson, 02 6162 0667. - Very tasty, authentic Sichuan cuisine. Yum-cha lunches.
Sukhotai in Yarralumla, Yarralumla shops complex - Great, inexpensive Thai food. Eat in and takeaway.
Water's Edge, 40 Parkes Place, Parkes. tel 02 6273 5066.
Aubergine Restaurant, 18 Barker St, Griffith. tel 02 6260 8666.
The Chairman & Yip Restaurant, 108 Bunda Street, Canberra City. tel 02 6248 7109. Australian/Asian.
Canberra YHA, 191 Dryandra Street, O'Connor. tel 02 6248 9155. fax 02 6249 1731. email firstname.lastname@example.org. . Beds in a shared dormitory $21-$23 per night. Double or twin rooms $58-$66 per night. Family rooms $90 per night.
City Walk Hotel, 2 Mort Street, Canberra City. tel 1800 600 124 (free call inside Australia) or 02 6257 0124. fax 02 6257 0116.  Beds in a shared dormitory are $22 per person per night. Single rooms are $45 per night, and twin/double rooms $60 per night.
"canberra grammar school"
redhill, many places to sleep and the chapel is never locked and always heated. worth a look.
Rydges Eagle Hawk Resort, Federal Highway. ph 02 6241 6033. fax 02 6241 3691. email email@example.com. This large resort, about one kilometer outside Canberra, has motel-style accommodation. Rooms include small kitchenettes, and it is possible to get two rooms with an adjoining door for families or groups. The resort has a large pool, a breakfast room and restaurant, and a small spa and sauna area. Double rooms $140 per night without breakfast and $170 with breakfast. Rates may be as low as $110 if you pay in advance and agree to a 48 hour cancellation period via the Rydges Direct system. http://www.rydges.com/locations/RydgesAbout.asp?hotel=RAEAGL
Hyatt Hotel Canberra, Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla. tel 13 1234 (local call within Australia) or 02 6270 1234. fax 02 6281 5998. email firstname.lastname@example.org.  Double room from $190 per night.
Canberra is a very safe city and enjoys one of the lowers crime rate in Australia. Things to be a bit careful about are Woden and Belconen bus interchanges at night.