When you only have three days to explore a whole city, it can seem like an insurmountable task.
But if you plan well and have lots of energy, it’s possible to fit in all of the main delights! Canberra is a clean, modern city, with plenty of sights for you to explore, but it also has the benefit of not being as recognisable as Sydney. This means there is less pressure to fit in so many tourist sites and more time to explore the heart of the city.
There are plenty of hotels in Canberra that will put you in a central location, so be sure to book in as close to local monuments and the city centre as you can. This will cut down on travel time and allow you to get to each site much quicker. Start with New Parliament to see an example of strong modern architecture and get a feel for the city as a whole. You can catch a 10am tour, then head on to the Canberra Railway Museum if you want to see the historic trains.
After lunch, drive for around 20 minutes to the Mount Majura Vineyard to sample wine and tour the facility. Later on, the National Gallery offers a huge display of art from Australian culture, from Aboriginal to modern, as well as international works. Be sure to stop off for lunch and dinner at local restaurants along the way – you should go for Australian cuisine where possible to get an idea of this city’s gourmet style.
Head out to Cockington Green in the morning to see an international miniature village which really tickles the imagination. For the afternoon, go on a balloon tour – you’ll have to book in advance. This gives you the chance to see the whole city spread out before you, so you can tour it all at once in just an hour or so. You may wish to reserve lunch until after your ride if you are at all squeamish about heights.
Either before or after your balloon ride, depending on your booking time, be sure to head to the Australian War Memorial. This is the main landmark you will want to see in person, and visiting it is a truly humbling experience. End the day at Courgette or Aubergine, both of which are upscale restaurants with great views.
If you are travelling with kids, take them to Questacon, where learning is a lot of fun and that’s not just a gimmick. There are over 200 exhibits here, all related to science in an interesting and accessible way. For adults, head to the National Portrait Gallery instead: the wide variety of art styles here cover a who’s who of Australia, from movie stars to sportsmen to politicians.
Spend the afternoon at the National Zoo and Aquarium – you will need as much time as possible to visit both as they have such a wide array of animals for you to visit and even interact with.
While your time in Canberra may be brief, you can still fit in a lot of fun and action. You can rest when your three days are up – don’t miss out on the chance to visit any of these fantastic attractions.