Must see places from Canberra

A trip to Canberra isn’t complete without stopping at top tourist attractions like a garden that houses one-fifth of Australia’s native plant species, and a zoo offering animal encounters. Other must-see places from Canberra include the National Museum of Australia and Questacon.

On a peninsula jutting into Lake Burley Griffin, the National Museum of Australia spotlights the nation’s social history in a remarkable purpose-built conversation piece.

1. National Gallery of Australia

One of Australia’s best art museums, the National Gallery of Australia is a feast for art lovers. Its renowned collection includes Blue Poles by Jackson Pollock, a Monet Waterlily, and several Ned Kelly paintings.

Named for the city’s architect, the pristine lake in Canberra’s center has 6 man-made islands and is beloved by locals and visitors alike for its serene atmosphere and wealth of outdoor activities. On a sunny day, you can walk along the scenic waterfront paths, bike through its park-fringed shores, or fish and sail on the glistening waters.

Nearby Parliament House, an iconic building that highlights the Australian democratic process, is open for free tours. Also nearby, the National Museum of Australia, a conversation piece inspired by a jigsaw, spotlights the nation’s social history.

2. Questacon

Known as Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre, Questacon is all about making science fun. The facility consists of multiple galleries with interactive exhibits.

The Foyer area is home to a humanoid robot and the Clockwork Universe where you can experiment with kinetics, a light harp and kaleidoscope. Awesome Earth explores natural disasters and geology with a quake maker, the Cloud Chamber and a Sediment Tank.

Kids will love the MiniQ section where they can create sounds by walking through light beams, play air hockey and woosh down a six meter slide. A visit isn’t complete without a performance by the in-house theatre troupe the Excited Particles. Their puppet shows are geared toward children and mix education with fun. They present shows throughout the day and are included in your admission.

3. National Museum of Australia

The National Museum of Australia is one of the newest cultural institutions in the country but it was almost 100 years in the making. It was formally established under the National Museum of Australia Act 1980 but it wouldn’t be until March 2001 that a purpose-built museum opened.

The Museum profiles 50,000 years of Indigenous heritage along with settlement since 1788 and key events like Federation. It also houses a range of other fascinating exhibits including bark paintings, stone tools and the heart of champion racehorse Phar Lap.

It’s a must-see for anyone visiting Canberra but especially for kids. Get a crash course in Australian culture and history in just an hour-long visit. You can even check out the scavenger hunt that helps you discover more of the Museum.

4. National Zoo and Aquarium

One of the most unique and family-friendly attractions in Canberra, the National Zoo and Aquarium is the only combined zoo and aquarium in Australia. Visitors will discover both native and exotic animals on a 7 hectare spread and can pat a cheetah, feed a bear or explore the world’s largest inland saltwater tank at this animal sanctuary.

Those interested in learning about the country’s role in space exploration can check out the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla, an hour south of Canberra. Budding astronauts can learn about the types of food that are eaten by astronauts during the course of a mission and explore models of different spacecraft.

The Canberra Kokoda Summit Trail is an easy, paved hike near the Australian War Memorial that allows you to get up close with grey kangaroos and rock wallabies while taking in the incredible views of this methodically-planned city.

5. Mount Ainslie Lookout

A hotspot for photographers, Mount Ainslie Lookout offers picture-perfect views of Canberra, framed by picturesque mountain ranges. The lookout is at its best at dawn and dusk, but you can enjoy it anytime during your visit to the National Capital.

You can walk, cycle or drive to the lookout, which is free of charge. The hike is challenging, but the rewards are worth it: You can see the iconic Lake Burley Griffin and some of the city’s most important monuments. If you are lucky, you might even spot a kangaroo!

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