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Trees in front of lake with fountain

Canberra, the capital city of Australia, is often usurped by the larger tourist destinations of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. However, to write Canberra off as a political capital would be to overlook its wealth as a centre for culture and art. Like the majority of capitals in the world it has a number of civic and Government buildings that loom large, but what is notable about Canberra is that it is one of only two capital cities in the world built to a pre-determined design and as such there is an unusual feeling of symmetry throughout the city. Canberra is packed with attractions and most of the action centres around Lake Burley Griffin. The temperatures in Canberra vary widely from season to season - which are in reverse from the UK. Summer temperatures, December-February, peak around 30°C while winter temperatures June-August rarely climb above 10°C and slip to around freezing during the night. Flight times from the UK are usually between 22 and 24hrs.

 be sure to check out the Australia National Zoo and Aquarium with it's array of exotic and native animals...

Best for...
With political wealth, culture and art, Canberra is also situated ideally for anyone who wants to explore Australia...

Canberra is perfect for anyone who wants to explore several Australian cities as it sits neatly between Sydney and Melbourne and so you can visit a number of the major Australian destinations without having to travel extensively - ideal for those on a longer break. With its many sights and wealth of history, Canberra holds appeal to families and couples, and there is even a decent nightlife scene to satisfy young partygoers, however, it is a quiet capital compared to its big city neighbours.

What to do...
Canberra is made up of five major towns - Belconnen, Tuggeranong, Woden, Queanbayan and Central Canberra. It is Central Canberra that has the interest of most tourists, though the area can seem relatively quiet because many of the locals live in the other districts.

Canberra is packed with museums, galleries and other places of interest. These include Parliament House on Capital Hill, which has a rooftop lawn and provides excellent 360-degree views of the city. The building is full of extravagance and it is possible to tour the areas of the house, including the Senate, on non-sitting days. The National Museum of Australia is like a giant storybook on the history of the country, while the National Gallery of Australia contains some of the best art in the country, including some Aboriginal works. The gallery sits on Lake Burley Griffin, which is the centrepiece for most of the action during the week.

There are many sights in and around Canberra that make for a fun day out including the Canberra Deep Space Centre, which features a number of interactive features, models and a theatre. Cockington Green has an award winning display of landscapes and miniature buildings, with lots of cafes and playground areas to entertain children. Questacon has lots of interactive exhibits that prove particularly popular among children, while the Michelangelo Tourist Railway gives you a chance to turn back the clock with a steam train ride. And if you're really looking to keep the kids happy then be sure to check out the Australia National Zoo and Aquarium with its array of exotic and native animals.

There are lots of restaurants and things to do at night throughout Canberra. All types of cuisine are available including Chinese, Indian, Italian, Continental and South American. Alanya is great for those who can afford to dine in style, as it serves excellent Turkish cuisine. The Caffe delle Piazza serves Italian food, and if you want to eat on a budget try the Tak Kee Roast Inn. Though Canberra may not be the busiest by day, the action does step up at night with many bars and cafes to choose from along with Toast, which offers pool tables, live bands and DJs. Club Mombasa and Club Asmara are other good clubbing hotspots.