Say what?! The best landmark in Australia, as voted for by the users of TripAdvisor, is in Canberra.
You read that right – so, what is Australia’s top landmark??
The Australian War Memorial in Canberra was the only Australian attraction to make it into the top twenty worldwide joining the likes of Machu Picchu, St. Peter’s Basilica and Angkor Wat on the list.
Kings Park and Botanic Gardens in Perth was voted the sixth best park in the world, with Melbourne’s Botanic gardens coming in 20th, in the same survey.
The Australian War Memorial is a very poignant place to visit. The names of almost 60,000 service men and women are etched onto the walls of the memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a thought provoking memorial to the lives of those lost in battle.
So, is Canberra worth a visit for the 17th best attraction in the world?
It certainly isn’t high on most people’s list when they think of Australian places to visit but the nation’s capital does have its highlights.
The National Gallery is an amazing art gallery in a nation not exactly renowned for its artistic collections. The Gallery is a huge, sprawling space with a heap of different collections and works from some of the greatest artistic minds in history.
The Aboriginal art section is definitely something to check out – especially for travellers. Aboriginal art varies from tribe to tribe and based on geography and what the history of each tribe dictates. Aboriginal art is intricate and beautiful, on the whole, with the famed dot paintings a highlight.
The modern Australia art collection is also a good look at the Australian art scene which isn’t exactly well known in Europe. The US and European exhibitions contain major works from Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Mark Rothko as well as many others.
Another highlight – which sounds really nerdy but hear me out – is Questacon, the National Science Museum. Questacon is full of hands-on exhibitions which are really fun.
Whether it is playing musical instruments with no strings, or jumping in a building during an earthquake or watching lightening form in a special viewing gallery a trip to questacon is good, nerdy fun!
In terms of night time entertainment, Canberra is a student town and parties like it. Make sure you head up during term time so you can visit booming bars and clubs like great student towns of home.
Canberra is a purpose-built city. Designed by American architect Walter Burley Griffin, the site of the capital was chosen as a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne. As a planned city, it is very picturesque and planned for easy transport.
Lake Burley Griffin splits the city in two with the Australian War Memorial at one end and Parliament House at the other.
Tours run through Parliament House daily and you can explore the seat of Australian democracy on most days – even while Parliament is in session. Old Parliament House has been converted into a museum which isn’t great but if you love politics, check it out.
Lake Burley Griffin offers great scenery for the city and bikes can be hired to explore the capital. Commonwealth Place, at the edge of the lake, has a flag display of every nation that has an embassy or international mission in Australia which is a pretty cool way to test your pub trivia.
On the whole, Canberra isn’t a top destination in but it does have its sights and is close enough to Sydney for a weekend explore. Speak to one of our travel experts about booking a Greyhound to the capital and accommodation and see what you think!