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Canberra may be smaller to its north than Sydney and Melbourne to its south, but there is still plenty to be explored. It is a colorful and delicious destination surrounded by tropical bush and parkland. The little town vibe means it’s easy to get through, and the locals are glad to share the best of their food, wine, beer, and attractions.

You’ll find museums, galleries, breweries, and futuristic architecture within the city limits. Still, the peaceful essence of the mountains, valleys, and everything lies only minutes away. It’s no wonder the locals enjoy the lifestyle and the scenery here.

There are 14 flights to Canberra from around the world each week. Singapore Airlines fly regular flights from Singapore to Canberra, and Qatar Airways operates daily flights from Doha to Canberra. There are also weekly domestic flights coming from major capital cities in Australia. Canberra is a three-hour Sydney drive, and an eight-hour Melbourne drive. If you want to get off the beaten track and visit one of the many country towns along the way, there are plenty of scenic routes. Including luxurious hotels and serviced apartments to budget-friendly motels, caravan parks, and B&Bs, there is a wide variety of accommodation in the capital.

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Walk along Lake Burley Griffin’s foreshore and visit fantastic galleries such as Australia’s National Gallery, Questacon ‘s interactive science center, Australia’s National Library, and the Old Parliament House Museum of Australian Democracy. There are regular guided tours at Parliament House, where you can also touch the heart of politics. Take your time from Capital Hill to enjoy the view. The nearby Australian War Memorial holds an impressive exhibition and gallery collection.

As Australia’s capital city, Canberra houses many of the nation’s most prominent arts, including a rare Aboriginal art collection. Australia’s National Gallery is Australia’s pre-eminent public art curator. It holds over 7,500 Australian, Asian, and Aboriginal works of art across 13 different galleries. The fascinating National Portrait Gallery is situated nearby, showcasing a wildly diverse body of portraiture that initially began as a temporary exhibition called Uncommon Australians. Marvel at the National Dinosaur Museum’s dinosaur skeletons and fossils, and see rare and native animals in the National Zoo and Aquarium.

Canberra has amazing outdoor parks around it. Mountain bike paths and walking trails are to be found in the rich agricultural wine country. Many rivers provide excellent opportunities for fishing, too. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve’s heavily forested valley is only 40 minutes from Canberra. Still, it is teeming with wildlife, including emus, kangaroos, and cockatoos. Uriarra Crossing is even closer to the city (a 20-minute drive). Travel, picnic, or fish along this short, beautiful portion of the epic 1,600-kilometer (994-mile) journey from the Australian Alps to the Murrumbidgee River.

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Consider a stay at Jamala Wildlife Lodge if you just want to get up close and personal with wildlife, however. This spectacular hotel-located city center inside Canberra’s National Zoo and Aquarium-has glass-walled bungalows overlooking animal enclosures, and tree-house suites with balconies overlooking the giraffes of the zoo.

The food and wine scene in the capital is excellent, from truffles to brewing beers and smoked meats. Check the local drops at the bountiful Canberra Wine Region’s many tasty and award-winning wines. Check out the Truffle Festival and Farmers Market in the Capital City.

Canberra has fairly newfound popularity as a culinary destination. Canberra has developed its own culinary brand over the past decade, focused on an evolving cold climate wine zone and an explosion of local craft beer. Make your first stop at the Bespoke Brewing Co. pub, where you’ll find a wide variety of available beer and cider, all brewed on-site. Instead, at Capital Brewery, indulge in the new beers and burgers. You can discover seasonal variations, taproom releases, and the flame-grilled aroma of Brodburger’s mouth-watering menu. A short drive from the city center of Canberra will take you to beautiful wineries, such as Lerida Estate, Mount Majura Vineyards, and Capital Wines. Book a night at Naked Cubby Co Bell Tents.

The annual Floriade festival occurs between September and October each year over a month (exact dates vary) and attracts worldwide flower lovers and garden experts for its vibrant displays. Across 8,000 square meters (two acres) of inner-city parkland, over one million bulbs bloom into stunning, carefully orchestrated color and texture displays in what is Australia’s largest spring celebration.

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