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General

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is Australia's smallest territory, and its rugged bushland is home to the nation's pristine capital city, Canberra.

Canberra retains its own distinct atmosphere having evolved from quiet bushland home for bureaucrats and politicians to a buzzing city offering multicultural cuisine, national treasures such as the National Gallery, thumping festivals and an active student population.

ACT features historic homesteads, parks and hills, thick bushland, wineries and wildlife parks. Half of the territory is protected by way of national park or nature reserves; the Snowy Mountains, jutting out of nearby New South Wales, are a brilliant border to the territory's picture-perfect scene.

Places of Interest

Canberra

Canberra is an elegant city of wide streets, gardens and parkland. The Old Parliament House is impressive and complemented by its replacement, a grand modern edifice completed in 1988, Australia’s bicentennial year. There are guided tours around Old Parliament House (home to the National Portrait Gallery) and the new Parliament House, where visitors can view both the Senate and House of Representatives. Parliament House also offers free guided tours daily where visitors can learn about the role and function of the Federal Parliament. The Australian War Memorial is deservedly one of the city’s most popular attractions, and is the scene of the annual ANZAC Parade; it contains s, galleries displaying relics, photographs and art. Lake Burley Griffin, a vast human-made waterway named after Canberra’s architect, features prominently throughout the city area. Cruises and boating are popular. Blundell’s Cottage (built 1858-60), which predates the lake, is a stone-slab construction calling to mind the location’s earlier incarnation as a sheep station. The new, architecturally radical National Museum of Australia (located on the shores of the lake) displays a vast range of exhibits, chronicling Australian life from the first indigenous peoples through to modern times. It is a further cultural addition to the present National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia and National Science and Technology Centre (Questacon). The Australian Institute of Sport offers guided tours by elite athletes and the interactive Sportex Centre has a fun range of activities, including virtual rowing and virtual golfing. Some of Australia’s deadliest and most colourful reptiles can be seen at Canberra’s Australian Reptile Centre. The centre is open daily and, apart from the permanent displays, features special exhibitions. The National Archives of Australia hold material and Commonwealth records from Federation Day to the present. The Archives also feature special exhibitions and are open daily.

Outside Canberra

There are several hills in the immediate area of Canberra; from the 195 m- (650 ft-) Telstra Tower, topping the 825 m- (2750 ft-) high Black Mountain, there is an excellent view from outdoor and indoor viewing decks. Hot-air ballooning trips provide a unique way to see Canberra's planned layout from the air. Glenloch Sheep Station, located in Belconnen on the outskirts of Canberra, is a popular tourist attraction. Activities include sheep shearing, boomerang throwing and sheep-dog demonstrations, rounded off with a traditional Australian barbecue lunch. The Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex, 40 km (25 miles) southwest of Canberra, contains a collection of space models and memorabilia (including a sizeable piece of the moon) and interactive exhibits covering 40 years of space exploration. The Snowy Mountains are to the south of Canberra, in New South Wales, and provide excellent opportunities for winter skiing and summertime pursuits such as bush-walking, horse riding and watersports.

National Parks & Nature Reserves

Approximately half of Australian Capital Territory consists of nature reserves and national parks. Just 40 km (25 miles) southwest of the capital, the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in Tharwa, near the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex, features a wealth of Australian fauna and wildlife in a natural bush setting. The park is open daily and a number of bush-walking trails are provided where visitors can observe kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, platypus, bush birds and water birds in their natural habitat; visitors are able to watch native birds being fed. Further south is the Namadgi National Park, which is part of the Snowy Mountains and offers spectacular views and walking tracks. The park contains a number of prehistoric sites with Aboriginal rock paintings, as well as a variety of rare sub-alpine species of flora and fauna. The Jerrabomberra Wetlands, a well-known bird and wildlife sanctuary, are situated on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin. During drought in inland Australia, the wetlands, one of the most important bird habitats in the region, become a refuge for large numbers of water birds from surrounding areas. The Murrumbidgee River flows from the mountains in the south through the ACT; the Murrumbidgee River Corridor is a designated park area, popular for picnicking, walking and horse riding.

 

 
 

 



 


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