"A Capital Idea" Top 5 Page for this destination Canberra by iandsmith
Canberra Travel Guide: 932 reviews and 2,534 photos
Dorothea Mackellar (whose famous poem includes the title words) must be rolling in her grave!
Then again, maybe not. After all, Canberra has a lot of parkland, though not very much of it has a sunburnt appearance. Nay, the gardens are watered using equipment that every taxpayer can be proud of; which is just as well, since we paid for it.
There are many who will tell you Canberra is a dull place, filled with boring bureaucrats, no night life. Like every rumour, there is some truth in it but, having said that, you make your own fun in life.
I believe one of the immediate impressions that people glean is that there are no people or bustle immediately apparent as you drive through and that leads to this "dead" impression. However, the town is designed that way, thanks to the winning design of the ex-American Walter Burley Griffin. You don't get traffic jams in Canberra, unlike the crap you have to put up with in ill-conceived places like Sydney who have had so many chances to get it right and still continue to err.
No, Canberra, once you get used to going around in circles, is a great place to drive, cycle or walk.
In the background here is the Telstra Tower. It rises 195 meters above the summit of Black Mountain and provides 360-degree views of Canberra and the surrounding countryside. Panoramic views of the city can be seen by day and night from two open viewing platforms or an enclosed viewing gallery. It will be on your top ten list of things to do in Canberra and it contains all the usual kitch tourist paraphernalia.
I think it's sad that many VTers will turn off immediately at the sight of this heading but, for me, it's so often what separates great cities from the mediocre. Where, for instance, would Rome be without Roman architecture? A lot poorer I would suggest.
I digressed. Canberra has a wealth of architectural delights; some planned, some imported but all approved. I class the National Library as one of Australia's 3 iconic buildings, along with the Opera House and Flinders St. Station (bound to open up some controversy there). You can love it or hate it, but, once you're in Canberra, you can't ignore it.
Situated lakeside with no blocking trees to hide its magnificence, it's a standout. It took me a while to come to terms with it. I used to think how fantastic to have an Opera House type building reflected in the waters of Lake Burley Griffin but this edifice has a power all its own. The solid bold straight lines of this building carry a strength and power few others can match. It exudes steadfastness yet, enclosed within its walls is the knowledge of nations; looking out from within are the previously unnoticed wonderful stainglass windows, seemingly at odds with the simple lines outside; exhibitions promote variety. It is a building of contrasts, but you have to look to see.
As an added bonus there are works of art located all around the building. Why, there's even a Henry Moore sculpture! Who said Australia doesn't have culture.
Then, if you move to some of the suburbs you'll see lots of other divergent works, notably some orthodox churches.
- Pros:Lack of pollution, wonderful parkland, easy to drive around, classic buildings
- Cons:Can be very cold in winter
- In a nutshell:Better than most Australians will admit to.
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Canberra Travel Guide
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