Canberra is the capital of Australia, home to a population of over 381,000 people and located 280 kilometres south-west of Sydney in the south-east of the country. It is the biggest inland urban centre in Australia, planned and created in 1908 to be nation’s capital, and designed as a compromise between the two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne. Home to a large student population and many government and media workers, Canberra is a blend of creativity and culture, with various national landmarks and cosmopolitan attractions.
Home to the Australian Government, Canberra City hosts the Parliament House, where visitors can tour the impressive building, appreciate the stunning architecture or watch debates between politicians from the public gallery. Although a young city, Canberra holds the history of national culture, prominently exhibited in the many art galleries, including the National Gallery of Australia, which presents over 7,500 works, including aboriginal art.In addition to a cosmopolitan centre, Canberra is a place of natural beauty, with the National Arboretum displaying Australian plant life, including a collection of bonsai trees, throughout hundreds of forests and gardens. Lake Burley Griffin is another beautiful sight and the best place to enjoy activities like yachting and kayaking, or even an iconic hot air balloon ride over the surface of the water and greater city.
By driving, Canberra City is three hours from Sydney and 6.5 hours from Melbourne, although it is easy to reach via domestic flights to Canberra Airport, which also has direct connections to Singapore and Wellington. There are also long distance buses from key cities, or the NSW Country Link has daily train services from Sydney and Melbourne, which take a longer but beautiful journey through the Southern Highlands. Once inside the city, visitors can navigate Canberra by bus or car, and the well-developed cycling routes also make it easy to travel by bike.
The creation of Canberra began in 1908 when the American architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin won an international contest deciding the design of the city. Construction started in 1913, inspired by the Garden City movement, which preserved local natural vegetation in city planning. Postponed by world conflicts and economic troubles, the development of Canberra was slow but finally became home to the Australian government and developed the independent cultural identity it has today.