Vibrant hues of red and yellow fill the landscape of Australian Capital Territory, a small enclave within New South Wales. This federal district is home to Australia’s capital, Canberra, along with a canvas of rugged bushland that changes colour with the seasons. While most visitors come here to visit Canberra, there is a lot to see and do outside the capital. Vineyards stretch out along the Molonglo River while heritage towns have preserved the atmosphere of a bygone era. Nature reserves offer excellent hiking trails, and the scent of the wild is never far away.
Australia’s planned capital city is both the starting and focal point for most visits to Australian Capital Territory. Many of the attractions are neatly laid out in the heart of the city, including the National Gallery of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, Old Parliament House, and the National Science and Technology Centre. A little further out visitors can find the excellent and informative Australian War Memorial, plus the free-to-visit National Museum of Australia. Leave the city behind, and nature rolls out, especially on the scenic drive towards Murrumbateman, or to Queanbeyan, which is located just across the state border in New South Wales. Various heritage towns can be found in the Southern Highlands, where kangaroos and exotic birds roam freely.
Canberra International Airport is centrally located, and it’s easy to use a bus or taxi to cover the few kilometres to Canberra’s city centre and Parliament House. The airport has dozens of daily flights from Sydney and Melbourne, along with regular connections from major cities across the country. A train from Sydney to Canberra runs at least twice a day, and there are a once-daily train and bus between Canberra and Melbourne. Canberra is relatively small, and there is an extensive local bus network.
Canberra was built as Australia’s capital in 1913. Roughly halfway between the country’s two major cities, Sydney and Melbourne, the city was pre-planned from the outset. Over the years it’s developed from the seat of the government to a thriving centre of business and commerce.