Canberra is the Capital of Australia and the seat of the Commonwealth Government.  It is located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and is about 250 Km from Sydney and 650 Km from Melbourne by road and is an interesting destination for tourists.  The ACT is surrounded by the state of New South Wales (NSW). It is only a 2 hour drive,  to the east, from Canberra to the NSW south coast with its holiday areas and fishing villages.  It is also only 2 hours drive, to the south, to the NSW snow fields.  The ski season is from mid June to Early October.

The ACT has a population of around 350,000, the majority living in Canberra and its suburbs.  There are some small regional centres.

There are many national institutions in the ACT including:

The Federal Parliament

The National Library

The National Art Gallery

The National Film and Sound Archive (formerly ScreenSound Australia)

The National Museum

The National Portrait Gallery

The Australian War Memorial

The National Botanic Gardens

The National Science Museum (Questacon)

The National Zoo and Aquarium

The National Archives

The Australian Institute  of Sport (which trains elite sports people).

There are also a number of other tourist attractions such as:

Mt Stromlo Observatory

Tidbinbilla Space Tracking Station 

The embassies & diplomatic missions, many of which are located in Yarralumla, O"Malley

Cockington Green minature village and in the same area, Gold Creek Village & Federation Square.

A liitle out of town is Lanyon Homestead and the Nolan Gallery

There are also quite a number of wineries in the Canberra /Murrumbateman/Yass Valley districts with some excellent cool climate wines.

There is a great new, world standard,  Mountain Bike Course at Stromlo

There are excellent recreation areas around Canberra's lakes and parklands. These include Weston Park, Lennox Gardens, Stirling Ridge & Commonwealth Park. On the outskirts of Canberra, camping facilities can be found at the Cotter with a long toboggan ride and picnic facilities. There can be snow here in winter.

There are a number of scenic lookouts in and around Canberra.  The main ones are Black Mountain with Telecom Tower, Mt Pleasant (in the Royal Military College Duntroon), Red Hill and Mt Ainslie.

Tidbinbllla Nature Reserve and Namadgi National Park are a bit further out but worth visiting for Australian Flora and Wildlife.

Canberra Floriade 

There are a number of tertiary educational institutions including:

Australian National University

University of Canberra

The Australian Defence Force Academy and

Duntroon Military College

The road system in Canberra can be a little confusing in certain areas of the city and suburbs. However, the roads to the major institutions are well sign posted.

There are excellent cycling paths throughout Canberra. The paths around Lake Burley Griffin have access to the majority of tourist attractions in the parliamentary triangle as well as the National Zoo & Aquarium,  the National Botanic Gardens,  ANU & CBD. 

The are many private and public primary and secondary education facilities.

The headquarters of most Commonwealth Government Departments are in the ACT.

The Canberra suburbs are based  around town Centres - Canberra Central (North & South Canberra & CBD), Belconnen, Woden, Weston Creek , Tuggeranong, Gungahlin and Molonglo each with its own Major Shopping Mall.  There is an excellent bus service accessing all residential areas from and via town centres. The Canberra Centre in Civic  has around 150 shops.

There are a number of large lakes in Canberra each associated with one of the Town Centres. Lake Burley Griffin, the largest was named after the Landscape architect who designed Canberra. It  is near Civic and splits Canberra in half.

  Canberra - Baloon Festival

The others are Lake Ginninderra, Lake Tuggeranong, Gungahlin Pond and Yerrabi Pond.

Carillion, Canberra 

As Canberra is inland and around 600 Meters (2000 feet) above sea level its climate is very wide ranging. Temperatures can be as high as 38C (100F) in summer and as low as minus 5C (20F) in winter.  There is no distinct rainy season and rain may fall any time of the year  but average rainfall is not high. The area, like a lot of southern and central Australia, has been experiencing a drought for the last 5 years.

Accomodation in Canberra ranges from 5 Star hotel/motel to backpackers. Check  Trip Advisor's accommodation reviews first as with other locations some of Canberra's hotels can be below standard, expensive and be lacking in service. There are a number of Bed and Breakfasts and Caravan Parks.

Access is by air from Sydney and Melbourne. The airport is about 6Km from Civic. A number of interstate coach sevices also service Canberra.  There is a rail sevice from Sydney. The road from Sydney is Freeway for the whole journey and an easy 3 to 3 1/2 hour drive.  You can also travel by road from Sydney via the NSW south coast. Melbourne is reached via the Barton Hwy and Hume Hwy/Freeway and is about and 8 hour drive.  Melbourne can also be reached by a much longer but scenic routes, either via the Snowy Mountains or the NSW South Coast and Gippsland in Victoria. Both these trips would require an overnight stop.

For further information on the surrounding area have a look at the Queanbeyan Inside Pages at http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g25...