Every time I talked about my trip with Aussies, they all asked me why I was spending time in Canberra. Apparently it is not considered a great place to vacation. But since I am interested in history and government, the museums and government buildings are a great attraction to me. Unfortunately, Canberra is like Washington, D.C., far too much to see in one trip.
I arrived in Canberra on the morning of the 26th. Stayed at the Quality Inn Downtown, with pretty typical rooms for that type of hotel. I started walking, going through the City Walk mall, and ended up at the end of Anzac Parade. The walk up the Parade looking at the memorials was well worth the time it took. I started at the far end from the War Memorial and walked back and forth from memorial to memorial. Walking down one side and up the other would also be a nice way to see them. There is a Korean War Memorial and a Nurses Memorial still under construction.
I then spent a couple of hours in the Museum until it closed, then walked back to my hotel in a light rain. I had a very nice steak at the restaurant attached to the hotel, but I can't remember the name and it isn't on my credit card receipts or in my trip diary.
Up at about 8:30 and started walking toward the center of the city. Stopped at the Australian Capital Exhibition and went through it. There was a lot of information on the history and development of Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory. Just outside the exhibition centre there was the Captain Cook Water Jet, which was never running when I was near it, but does appear in a few pictures I took from a distance. From there I walked to the American Embassy, where they would not let me in, but I did get to sign the guest book so the FBI could check up on me. From there I walked to the Parliament House, had a bite to eat at the Queen's Terrace Cafe, then took one of the free tours of the Parliament House. My film was too slow so I was unable to take interior pictures on this tour, but I did get some from the top of the Parliament House.
After walking down from the top of the Parliament House, I went to the Old Parliament, but arrived after it had closed. From there I walked back to my hotel, had another nice meal in the restaurant, and went to bed.
Spent the morning shopping for gifts and odds and ends. Also bought ticket for Murray's Afternoon tour of Canberra. The first place they took us was the Capital Exhibition, then a short tour of the various embassies there in the capital. Next stop was the Parliament House and another tour. This was not a waste of time, since the guide was different and emphasized different things during his tour than the guide I had the day before. We then spent a little over an hour in the National Gallery of Australia (No cameras allowed) which had both modern art and a large selection of Aboriginal art. I could have spent much longer there.
From there it was to the top of Mt. Ainsley to get a panoramic view of the city. A very nice view, even though it was overcast. Then down to the War Memorial to spend time in the museum. Even after spending several hours there is still a great deal of the museum I did not get to see. But that can be said for the entire city. There are museums, churchs, science centres, and much more there I did not have time to get to.
Here are a couple of sites from the Australian Government devoted to the city of Canberra and the Australian War Memorial.