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Your opinion about Canberra

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1. Posted by felicity83 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I would like to have your opinion about Canberra ? Other travellers told me that there's nothing interesting to see or to do over there. That Canberra is a business city that's it that's all.
Do you have the same opinion about this city ?

Spending 4 days there is it too long ?

If you have an other opinion about it, can you suggest me activities ?

thank you for your help

2. Posted by gnangarra (Full Member 59 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I was there less than a month ago and yes as a tourist you could easily spend 4 days there, but it does depend on where your interests lay.

Australian War memorial and ANZAC drive this is a full day, dont forget to stop in at St Johns Church its just behind the New Zealand memorial it has a very nice pipe organ and a museum. Where ANZAC drive meets the lake is the classic Canberra photo of the two parliaments house across the lake. Have a look at this photo on Wikimedia Commons for a view from Mt Ainslie looking over the War memorial down ANZAC drv and across lake Burley Griffen to parliament houses. Recommend that you go to the War Memorial on a week day the crowds are less especially if you want to take photographs.

Another day easily can be spent touring the old parliament house, national gallery, national library they are with 5 - 10 minute walk of each other. Also theres a science centre and a place where you can board the ferry and take a tour around the lake, neither of which I had the time to do.

Another day is National Museum, National Film archive and the Botanic Gardens, personally I went back spent another whole day in the botanic gardens and did the walk upto the Telstra tower.

There is a bus service that pickups from hotels in the morning and then circles around these places that you can hop on and off as please it runs monday to saturday.

As for eating I didnt have a bad meal at any restaurant or pub, personally I liked Debacle in Braddon, $10 taxi ride from the City centre, there was also an Irish pub in the middle of the city that was good. As I was on limited time I used taxis to do the bigger hops parliament house to botanic garden , war memorial to parliament house, hotel to national museum all were around $15 and less then $20. each attraction will call for taxis for you. Be careful when buying souvenirs as the prices can vary significantly for the same item from place to place....

3. Posted by hetsluv (Inactive 1 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

hey i think 4 days is not enough 2 spend ur time in canberra.its a beautiful place n u wud really enjoy it there...hey u have any ideas about mackay??hows d place??i heard its a awesome place 2 do surfing,bars,play in casinos and lots more..ur ideas?anybody who can help me??

4. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5157 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

It really depends on how much time you have available for seeing the rest of Australia. If you're only in Australia for a month, I'd recommend skipping Canberra altogether. It's a nice city, with an impressively planned layout (plus countless cockatoos in the 'suburbs') and some semi-interesting sights and museums, but it just doesn't hold a candle next to Melbourne, Sydney or actually most anywhere on the coasts, and so you'd better spend that time there.
On the other hand, if you'd have a year in Australia, then yeah, by all means spend four days of that time in Canberra. Take things slow, amble along, explore a bit. It's really pretty this time of year with spring coming up and all the trees along the lake blossoming pink and white.

5. Posted by gnangarra (Full Member 59 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I can understand the response of Sander but thats what personal choices/interests are about. I suppose Canberra as a tourist destination is more focused towards Australians and Australian interests much like Washington draws more internal tourists then it does international.

The thing is if you have 4 days in Canberra then yes there are enough activities to fill your time.

If are looking for suggestions as to where to go then maybe some pointers as to what interests you and how long you look at being here.

If your planning on a short stay ~ 1 month(4 weeks), anything less then 2 weeks just goto one city and explore the surrounding regions. For a month I'd say goto Sydney, Melbourne, and then either Canberra, Adelaide or Brisbane/Gold Coast. spend a few days in each as they are all different internal airfares atm are less then A$50 one way between each, check out the fares for Tiger airways and Jetstar for the cheapest ones I've flown on both and have no problems recommending either.


6. Posted by BedouinLeo (Inactive 698 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I really like Canberra. The most unlikely of capital cities on arrival, but once you've had a walk around it for a day you will want to stay for longer. Amazingly clean city compared to Sydney too, although a lot smaller too with a population of less than a tenth of Sydney's.
Depending on your interests, there are some lovely museaums in Canberra.
telstra Tower with its very Eastern European look can be seen from just about anywhere in the city and over the other side from the hill is Lake Burley Griffin. its possible to row out on to it. Nice and traquil with a few little bars no more than a few minutes walk away.
The |Anzac War Memorial is a very haunting place and well worth a visit.
Captain Cook Fountain has similarities to the one in Geneva.
If you are into clubbing, then The Academy is one of the cities very best.

7. Posted by NinjaSmurf (Budding Member 29 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi felicity83

I thought gnangarra gave some really good information about a visit to Canberra, but I thought I might also add a few words to the information already given.

Like others who have responded to your post, I also think it is where your interests lay and how much time you have that decides what you should see in Canberra. No one really mentioned seeing the Parliament House itself, but I think it is also a really nice place to visit.

If you're in town between the 12th September and the 11th October check out the Floriade, which is at Commonwealth Park by Lake Burley Griffin. Floriade is quite popular with both locals and interstate people alike. It's a great place to just relax in the sun and have an ice cream while wondering around the flower beds and side shows. Admission is free Mon-Fri 9-5pm and Sat-Sun 9-5:30pm. From the 23-27th September they have the Night Fest, which requires tickets. For more information go here:

You have to eat, and Canberra has more restaurants/cafe per capita than other city/town in Australia. So take advantage of it while your around. There are lots of great places to try out. Manuka, Kingston and the City, boast the largest selection of restaurants and cafes, but there and lots of other great finds hidden in the Canberra suburbs. For more information on these restaurants and cafes and for their reviews go here:

There is also a bit of a wine district around Canberra. Many of these wineries have cellar doors where you can try their wines and also have restaurants or cafes attached to them. So if you that is your thing, your first stop would be

If you can make it out this way, the popular Poachers' Pantry is a gourmet smoke house that specialises in smoked meats. You can go up to the counter of the cafe and try (free) their smoked meats along with wines from their neighbour Wily Trout. Their cafe is open for brunch Sat-Sun from 10am and for lunch Fri-Sun from 12:00pm. For more information click here:

If you're into clubbing I'd recommend the UniPub on London Circuit. The ground floor is where the pub is, the first floor a bar and grill, the second floor is the pool bar, the third floor the lounge and the fourth floor is the club where you can dance. They also have cheap $6.50 meals from Monday to Thursday on the first floor. For more information go here:

For cocktail bars/lounges check out the Hippo Bar in Garema Place, Knightsbridge in Braddon, Trinities in Dickson or The Julep Lounge in Manuka. For more information on this go here:

This is already too much information. Obviously you shouldn't aim to do everything, just select the things that you would be interested in doing and you'll have a blast

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Sep-2009, at 22:30 by NinjaSmurf ]

8. Posted by rantan (Budding Member 11 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

We may have a reputation of boring, but I still reckon Canberra is well worth a visit for anyone visiting Australia :) Of course, I'm incredibly biased as it's my hometown, but it is a beautifully planned city and a very different speed from the other capitals. The War Memorial you can spend a day in alone. If you are only spending a month or so in Australia, cutting down to 2 or 3 days might be best, as it is a small city and pretty easy to see. On top of the attractions mentioned above, there are also a lot of embassies which are very cool to look at - and we have our fair share of nice waterside spots to picnic, relax or take photos.

I'm not even going to get into the nightlife, because that's TOO highly contested here - we may not have many clubs, but which are the best is a sure way to cause arguments if there's other Canberrans here (which I assume there are, or just well-informed outsiders ;) )