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Modern Canberra impresses as brilliant balance of city and bush

October 27, 2016
Modern Canberra impresses as brilliant balance of city and bush

This article was originally published on 16/06/2014

Canberra is unique among centres in Australia and is one of the world’s few planned cities 150 kilometres inland and 571 metres above the Pacific Ocean with a population of 381,000 people.

Canberra is a thriving modern city with fun for the kids, a busy calendar of events and festivals,plenty of outdoor activities and stylish restaurants, bars and shops.

Canberra's city centre has an open air ice rink in Garema Place. Skate in the City opens on Friday June 20 for the fourth year running. Seven ticketed sessions will be held every day starting from 10.30am, with an extra session at 8.30pm on Friday and Saturday nights.

Canberra CBD Limited chief executive Jane Easthope said she is excited for the opening of the much-loved winter experience. "Skate in the City is a great community event for all to enjoy in the colder months and I am looking forward to seeing the rink in Garema Place full of skaters," Ms Easthope said.

The whole Canberra concept is a one-off and this brilliant balance of city and bush is set against the dramatic peaks and ridges of the Brindabella Ranges.

For caravans and Recreational Vehicles(RV's) it is mostly flat, easy going with a road system which makes getting about logical and direct. There are caravan parks between four and seven kilometres from the CBD. Getting about in the ACT is a short learning curve, as Canberra is a clever plan based on the CBD and its surrounding satellite cities being easily linked through roundabouts.

For example coming in from Cooma most things can be reached off the Monaro Hwy. A local joke is when you come off the Monaro at the first roundabout – "The Tharwa you go, the closer you get".

Tharwa Drive links Banks historic Lanyon Homestead, Tuggeranong and Drakeford Drive which becomes Tuggeranong Parkway and heads north leading to Canberra's most helpful landmark for visitors, the Telstra Tower which pierces the sky on Black Mountain.

Its viewing platform offers a 360 degree view of the ACT. The 195m Telstra Tower can be seen from most places in Canberra. If you can see this amazing piece of towering architecture you are not lost.

From central Canberra Commonwealth Ave becomes Northbourne Ave at Vernon Circle which becomes the Federal Highway and the main route to Sydney.

There is also a neat bypass via the Monaro Hwy past Fyshwick and onto the Monaro Hwy near Canberra Airport and then Majura Rd which picks up the Federal Hwy bound for Sydney.

Or to head south turn left onto the Barton Highway off Northbourne Ave in Lyneham near the ACT Netball Centre and head for the Hume Highway.

There is a lot more than politics about Canberra – an eclectic mix of restaurants, wineries,shopping, entertainment, galleries, museums and world-class monuments and attractions.

The Canberra region has about 2.2 million visitors annually.

As GoSeeAustralia found visitors could easily spend several days exploring Canberra's national attractions, many of which are located around Canberra's centrepiece, Lake Burley Griffin.

The Captain Cook Memorial jet shoots water more than 140m into the air and the National Carillon bell tower on Aspen Island can be heard across the lake. Both were given to the people of Australia by Queen Elizabeth II.

Over 40 per cent of the Australian Capital Territory is national parks and bushland. There are 140 kilometres of bike and walking paths which meander through parks, woods and forests; there are quiet waters to canoe, and romantic secluded spots to picnic under the willows.

Take a picnic to the Cotter Reserve to relax beside the Murrumbidgee River; visit Tidbinbilla to spot the wildlife and learn about its conservation role; or venture further afield to Namadgi National Park for bushwalking.

History buffs will love historic Lanyon Homestead which is approached via Tharwa Drive through Banks. Lanyon is one of Australia's most historic grazing properties on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River.

The big, cool homestead is surrounded by gardens. It is beautifully restored and dates from the 1850s. Remarkable pines are included in the garden. It is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 4pm.

Canberra's attractions showcase Australia's art, history, culture sport and lifestyle through vibrant and interactive displays, an exciting blend of exhibitions,performances and local activities and events.

On the ancient lands of the Ngunnawal people, Canberra's name is thought to mean "meeting place" from the Aboriginal name Kamberra.

Europeans first settled in the 1830's and the area was chosen for the federal capital in 1908.

Chicago architect Walter Burley Griffin won an international design competition to plan Canberra.

More information on Canberra's history:

The Ngunnawal people met in the Canberra area for thousands of years before European settlement for ceremonies and to eat Bogong moths.

The Yankee Hat walking track in Namadgi National Park leads to an Aboriginal rock art site. At Mt Namadgi an arrangement of stones is thought to be from the ceremonial life of the Aboriginal people.

Along the Birrigai Time Trail at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, the life of the Ngunnawal people can be found in rock art, boulder shelters and camps.

For more information about things to see and do in Canberra, go to

Editor’s Note: GoSeeAustralia thanks Visit Canberra for assistance with words and pictures for this free Information Article.

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