Canberra’s History and Heritage

The Australian story is a rip-roaring yarn, encompassing indigenous dreamtime legends, colonial derring-do, belief-defying exploits and modern innovations; its also a tale in which Mother Nature plays a starring role.

More than a few pivotal chapters take place in Canberra, the countrys cultured capital, home to Parliament House, national attractions and other heritage heavyweights. Canberras tale is ever-changing, as the city and its surroundings continue to evolve. Best of all, everyones invited to be a part of it…

If you want to discover the Australian story, the countrys capital city is a pretty good place to start. Unlock the countrys treasure trove of tales and histories at the National Museum of Australia, which is sitting pretty on the tip of the Acton Peninsula, by the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.

Local tipCulture-vultures will love the guided tours at the galleries and museums (many are free), which are always the best way to get more out of the iconic attractions. One of the best is the Ultimate Museum Experience at the National Museum of Australia, which includes lunch and a tour of the museum. The guides really bring the stories behind the objects to life.

Learn about indigenous culture while youre at the museum: admire bark paintings and ochre used by Aboriginal artists more than 50,000 years ago (other iconic exhibits include the Holden Prototype No.1, the test model for the first car ever built in Australia, and famous racehorse Phar Laps heart). Admire striking Aboriginal art at the National Gallery of Australia, where the countrys largest collection of indigenous Australian artworks resides. In the National Portrait Gallery, dont miss sculptor Benjamin Laws plaster casts of the famous Aboriginal chief Woureddy and his wife Truganini, made in the Thirties.

The Treasures Gallery at the National Library of Australia earns its name, containing incredible rare artefacts such as Captain James Cooks Endeavour journal, an original manuscript of Waltzing Matilda and the landmark papers of Eddie Mabo, a famous indigenous campaigner. You can also pore over a dizzying stash of books, photographs, oral histories, music, manuscripts and digital items.

Canberra has more than its fair share of national attractions, including the Australian War Memorial (which reigned as the number-one landmark in both Australia and the South Pacific in the 2016 TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards), where you can watch Sir Peter Jacksons film, Over The Front. Honour Australias fallen servicemen and women by placing a poppy on the Roll of Honour and experience the powerfully moving Last Post closing ceremony.

Fly to Canberra with Singapore Airlines from just £775

Continue your interactive history lesson at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, where you can browse personal objects that once belonged to Australias Prime Ministers, join a free guided tour and sit at the very Cabinet Table used by governments up until Parliament House’s relocation in 1988. See the worlds strongest robots in action at the Royal Mint and tick off other national attractions, including the peaceful Australian National Botanic Gardens and the National Film and Sound Archive.

If youre visiting in February, dont miss the National Multicultural Festival: a fun, free, family-friendly event thats held in the city centre, with music, dance and theatre performances, art exhibitions, stalls, pop-ups and other special events. Make sure you dont miss out on any of the citys cultural lures by reading the ultimate Canberra cultural ticklist

If you have at least five hours in transit at Changi before flying on to Canberra, get a taste of Singapore on one of Singapore Airlines’ free guided tours: a collaboration with Changi Airport and the Singapore Tourist Board. The tours last two-and-a-half hours and depart daily. Alternatively, gad about Singapore on the SIA Hop-on Bus – free for passengers who are on a Singapore Stopover Holiday Package or using their Singapore Explorer Pass. Present your boarding pass within one month of travel, and you’ll also get exclusive discounts on Singapore hotel stays, car rentals, restaurants, boutiques, shopping malls and other tourist attractions, thanks to Singapore Airlines’ Boarding Pass privileges programme – all you’ll need to do is flash your Singapore Airlines boarding pass…

Fly to Canberra with Singapore Airlines from just £775

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