I’m guessing you clicked on this post not because you are interested in visiting Canberra, but because you too thought Sydney was Australia’s capital…
Well, if you’re here to learn more about this city and why it’s the capital, you’ve come to the right place!
Canberra is not only the capital of Australia, it’s the main city in Australia’s Capital Territory (duh). The ACT is one of Australia’s official territories and since it’s only 3 hours away from Sydney, I had to check it out. On Saturday, June 15, I traveled to Canberra via Colourful Trips, the same company that we used to go to the Blue Mountains our first weekend in Sydney! I accomplished something major by doing this trip… I officially visited all six of states and two territories in Australia! Can you name them all?
Canberra is a new, human-constructed and organized city that was positioned geographically between Melbourne and Sydney. Melbourne and Sydney have historically fought over which deserves to be Australia’s capital for years (fun fact: Melbourne was the capital of Australia from 1901-1927), so Canberra was built as a solution.
Our first stop in Canberra was Parliament. The new Parliament house was opened in 1988 and contains over 4,700 rooms! As an International Studies major I really enjoy and benefit from learning about other country’s political systems and was excited to visit both the green House of Representatives room and the red Senate Chamber. I learned that Australia’s Prime Minster changes regularly, and that although Australia is an independent country, it still operates as a Constitutional Monarchy under the English crown since it was once an English colony!
After touring Parliament we went to the National Museum of Australia where we ate lunch and had free time to check out the art before meeting back up for a drive around Embassy Row.
Next, we visited the Australian War Memorial, which sits on a hill opposite to Parliament (similar layout to DC!). I was fascinated by this memorial since its rare to study Australian history in school. I was surprised to learn about the ANZAC’s (Australia & New Zealand Army Corps) heavy involvement in both world wars; it really put the wars in perspective for me because I realized how truly damaging they were to the majority of the world.
Our last stop on tour was a point that overlooked the city of Canberra and its surrounding countryside. If you’ve never visited Australia, you may find this hard to believe, but you can actually ski in the ACT! I could see snow-covered mountains in the distance!
I returned to Sydney late tonight and woke up early the next morning to greet my sister at the airport! Coming up next is a post about our trip together to the Great Barrier Reef!