As the capital of Australia, Canberra city is home to some of the country's most fascinating aspects of history and culture. It's a great place to take the family and discover plenty about the country's heritage, plus there are all sorts of fun to keep the kids occupied. Here are just some of the interesting things you can get up to when you visit the country's capital.
This museum is focused on the country's social history, delving into Australia's Indigenous cultures, as well as the history of European settlement. A range of exhibitions illustrate this history in a captivating and interactive way. There are a host of permanent galleries such as 'Big Objects', which is themed to Australia's history of travel and features old cars, coaches, steam engines and planes. Then there's the First Australians permanent exhibit, which gives you a glimpse into the diversity of language and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Stop by between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The museum is located on Acton Peninsula on Lake Burley Griffin, which is just a short drive from the city centre.
Want to see where all the country's political dramas go down? Head to Parliament House on Parliament Drive. It's worth a visit for its stunning architecture and grounds alone, spread out over a 32 hectare site on Capital Hill. There are a number of things you can experience when you visit. You can take a free guided tour or head to the Chambers to watch politicians in action during Question Time. Parliament House is also home to a number of permanent and temporary exhibitions. One current temporary display is the 'After 200 Years' photographic exhibition, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Visitors can also view the permanent Magna Carta exhibition, which displays the 700-year-old Latin manuscript that delves into issues of liberty and constitutional law, and forms the basis of today's form of government.
An inextricable part of Australia's history is its involvement in wars, such as World Wars One and Two. The Australian War Memorial encompasses a shrine, museum and archive dedicated to commemorating those Australians who fought and served in wars. Head to Treloar Crescent at top of Anzac Parade to find this facility. Explore the Commemorative Courtyard, Sculpture Garden and the Memorial's Main Building. There are galleries that illustrate the lives of those who went to war through various memorabilia. It has a particular focus on the effect on individuals, families and communities. There also also periodic exhibitions that provide insight into particular wars, such as Afghanistan: The Australian story and Nurses: From Zululand to Afghanistan.
Take a break from the galleries and museums and spend some time soaking up some gorgeous natural landscapes at the National Arboretum Canberra. You'll find this 250 hectare site at the western end of Lake Burley Griffin, which is just six kilometres from Canberra's central city. There are more than 48,000 trees on site, with 94 forests featuring rare, endangered and symbolic trees - both Australian and international. More than 100 countries are represented within the collection of species. You can take a free guided walk with a volunteer or stroll through the grounds yourself. Why not pack a picnic and enjoy running around outside with the kids? Or you can satiate hungry bellies with a visit to the Sprout Cafe or Conservatory Restaurant. Other must-see highlights include the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia, which houses fine miniature trees and forests. Then there's the Pod Playground, which is incredibly fun for kids, featuring cubby houses, acorn-shaped pods to explore and rope tunnels, climbing nets and tube slides. Enjoy an enlightening trip to Canberra with the family by discovering these incredible sites.