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Worth a Day Trip?

Edmonton, Canada
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Worth a Day Trip?

I'm considering taking a day trip to Canberra from Sydney through AAT Kings in March 2011. I was wondering how the quality of the parliament tour and the museums are, I'm a big political buff so visiting Canberra is almost a must for me. However after reading some of the comments on this board, I am concerned that it may not be worth the trip. What's everyone's opinion on it?

Gungahlin, Australia
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1. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

Hi. Just wondering which comments?

.
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2. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

@mb12345

I'll second MacKnee's question.

But, to yours - yes, Canberra is a great destination - if you want to see this country's most important institutions, and some of its best buildings, then Canberra is the place to go.

I assume you're looking at this trip:

www.aatkings.com.au/au/index.php…

Frankly, Canberra merits more than a day, and more than a sightseeing trip. On that tour, I'd be a bit luke warm on the National Museum of Australia - which is a great building, but IMO a lacklustre museum. Depending on your interests, I would have sooner been to the National Gallery, or the Australian Institute of Sport, or the Royal Australian Mint; or the National Portrait Gallery - or as you are a political buff - Old Parliament House (the Museum of Australian Democracy).

So, not only is it worth a day trip, I'd actually encourage you to think about two days, maybe of your own design.

Arlington, Virginia
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3. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

I have to agree with Dr. Rudi that Canberra is definitely worth more than a day if you can possibly arrange that. If you can do your own tour, you will be able to see and do more, particularly things that would appeal to a political buff, than if you go on an organized tour.

We lived in Canberra for a few years and have visited a few times since then. I've done the tour of Parliament House several times and always found it to be a good tour. I enjoyed the tour when Parliament was not in session a bit more because they took us into both chambers and explained a lot about what was in there. However, you would probably enjoy going when Parliament is in session so that you could sit in on the proceedings. If you are going to be in Canberra when the House is in session, I would definitely try to get tickets to Question Time. We did this and, as Americans, we found it fascinating because our Congress does not have anything like Question Time. As a political buff, you should also enjoy it. See the following for more info: http://www.aph.gov.au/visitors/visiting.htm

I, too, am not particularly fond of the National Museum of Australia, but love the National Gallery, Old Parliament House, etc. I also wonder if this tour gives you enough time at the Australian War Memorial. I don't know if that museum would interest you, but I have easily spent an entire day there on more than one occasion.

Edmonton, Canada
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4. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

Thanks for all of your comments and suggestions.

Manchester, UK
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5. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

I'd say that the Australian War Memorial alone warrants a visit to Canberra - it will in turn amaze you, shock you, move you and educate you - it was one of the (unexpected) highlights of my trip to Australia.

Gungahlin, Australia
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6. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

What about the question? I was going to add more but I've found questions get lost if you provide any info, was hoping to avoid that :-)

Sydney Australia
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7. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

Yes, Canberra definitely worth the visit and merits more than one day if you can swing it. I thought the Museum of Australia was excellent. Perhaps not at the top of my list for a quick one day Canberra visit, but I thought it did a great job of giving you a quick series of historical and cultural highlights as an overview that won't take all day to see. A museum that is quite well suited to people who aren't really the museum type.

Canberra
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8. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

I'm in the stay o/night camp too. But I do understand you need transport - if you are not on that bus tour the easiest thing to do is hire a car to get to/from Sydney and drive around.

Your tour has a lot of "driving past" things - with a "quick look out the left - it's the library!" and when it says "view the Lodge" that means "glimpse from a speeding bus" cause it does not have tours for the public.

The Parliament House is a standard tour that is reasonably good. The House is quite interesting - they will talk more about the building and about the Australian Parliamentary system than about politics though. It is a free tour and public sessions are very frequent - ring on the day for the schedule.

The Museum of Australian Democracy (Old Parl House) may be more to your liking for politics and history. I agree - the War Memorial is an excellent museum and kept me there longer than I planned.

Canberra, Australia
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9. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

(New) Parliament House has a copy of Magna Carta on display - one of only a couple of copies outside UK.

And National Archives (also in Parliamentary Triangle) has a standing exhibition of foundation documents of Australia:

naa.gov.au/whats-on/…federation.aspx

Gungahlin, Australia
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10. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

>> I'm a big political buff so visiting Canberra is almost a must for me. However after reading some of the comments on this board, I am concerned that it may not be worth the trip. <<

I am aware of the general perception (not specifically on this forum) of Canberra and agree that it certainly isn't a logical destination for everyone, especially on an average week to ten day trip to sunny Australia. But it is a very worthwhile destination for SOME people. So I was hoping for an indication of what your concerns were, and what the impression from THIS forum was, especially since it appeared that you had a specific interest in visiting. I'm sorry if you took my brief reply the wrong way, it's just hard work to get responses out of OP's.

Good info from everyone. Dare we hope for a trip report?

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