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Holiday Guides for Oceania - Australia

Canberra Holiday

Despite not being the first Australian city most people think of, Canberra is full of surprises which justify its capital city status.

Australia's capital is also probably its least well-known city but those who have been there know that there is far more to the place than many think.

Often dismissed as a home for bureaucrats, Canberra is host to a wealth of treasures in the form of art galleries, museums, shopping and arts.

Located between Melbourne and Sydney in a territory carved out of New South Wales, building on it only started in1913 which has led to the well-planned streets and low traffic problems that visitors enjoy today.

It was designed by Walter Griffin during the growth of the garden city movement and manages to incorporate large areas of bush into the city's population of only 325,000.

Griffin built it upon earlier Victorian settlements that are now incorporated into the city which was named after the Aborigine word Kambera, meaning "meeting place".

Canberra now serves as the meeting place for the whole of Australia as it is where the country's parliament is located.

Despite only opening in 1927, the old parliament building was surpassed by new one in 1988 on Capital Hill.

Both now offer a superb view from Anzac Avenue, which frames the two buildings along with the International Flag Display across Lake Burley Griffin.

Anzac Avenue itself offers a notable tourist attraction, with the imposing Australian War Memorial at the foot of Mt Ainslie.

At the other end to Anzac Avenue is Constitution Avenue, which together with Kings and Commonwealth Avenue forms the Parliamentary Triangle.

Attractions based around the triangle include Australia's National Gallery, National Museum and National Archive, along with top hotels and the Albert Hall.

Significant collections are on view at the National Gallery and Museum, whilst the Albert Hall is used for entertainment.

In addition to the cultural attractions on offer in Canberra, the central area is also noted for its shops, restaurants and cafes, favoured by the locals and tourists alike.

Nightlife is popular in Canberra as it is a young city – the average age is only 32 and the warm summers invite people to go out.

Due to this, cultural events are popular, such as the National Folk Festival, the Royal Canberra Show, the Summernats car festival and the Celebrate Canberra festival held over ten days in March.

In addition to festivals, sport plays just as important part of life as it does in the rest of Australia, with the Canberra Raiders and the Brumbies offering rugby league and union.

Soccer, hockey, netball, basketball, cricket and Australian rules football in the form of the Kangaroos are also offered, giving distraction around the year for any sports fans.

Getting to Canberra to enjoy what it has to offer is simple as the airport is well-served by flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Once inside the city, bus transport is said to be good but people can stroll around safe in the knowledge that the capital has a below-average crime rate and most acts are against property rather than persons.

Being located in the south of Australia, Canberra has good all-year round temperate climate similar to that of northern Europe while maintaining a cosmopolitan atmosphere.