The Australian story encompasses indigenous dreamtime legends, belief-defying exploits and modern innovations; Mother Nature plays a starring role.
More than a few crucial chapters take place in Canberra, the country’s cultured capital. It’s home to Parliament House, national attractions and other heritage heavyweights. Canberra’s tale is ever-changing, as the city and its surroundings continue to evolve. Best of all, everyone’s invited to be a part of it…
If you want to discover the Australian story, the country’s capital city is a pretty good place to start. Unlock the country’s 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 tip… ‘Culture-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 you’re 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 Lap’s heart). Admire striking Aboriginal art at the National Gallery of Australia, where the country’s largest collection of indigenous Australian artworks resides. In the National Portrait Gallery, don’t miss sculptor Benjamin Law’s 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 Cook’s Endeavour journal, an original manuscript of Waltzing Matilda and the landmark papers of Eddie Mabo, a famous indigenous campaigner. You can also drool over a dizzying stash of books, photographs, 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 Jackson’s film, Over The Front. Honor Australia’s fallen servicemen and women by placing a poppy on the Roll of Honor and experience the powerfully moving Last Post closing ceremony.
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 Australia’s 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 world’s 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 you’re visiting in February, don’t miss the National Multicultural Festival: a fun, free, family-friendly event that’s held in the city center, with music, dance and theater performances, art exhibitions, stalls, pop-ups and other special events. Make sure you don’t miss out on any of the city’s 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, explore 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, malls and other tourist attractions, thanks to Singapore Airlines’ Boarding Pass privileges – all you’ll need to do is flash your Singapore Airlines boarding pass…