Aborigines, and the Ngunnawal tribe in particular, have inhabited the Canberra region for approximately twenty thousand years and the city itself has been home to European settlers since the early 1820s. Yet, despite this fact, Canberra didn't gain its position as the Australian capital until the beginning of the twentieth century. The country had been made independent by Queen Victoria in 1901 and both Sydney and Melbourne had wanted to become the national capital. In 1908 Canberra was selected.
A competition was then held to find the best plan for the new city and the winner, American architect, Walter Burley Griffin was given the honours. Construction on the new city did not begin until 1913. The lake which forms the centre piece of the city today was actually named after him. Furthermore, even after the decision was taken, the first Parliament didn't meet there until 1927 and the transfer of government functions was not officially completed until after the end of the second world war.
Located about two hundred kilometres from Sydney it is now home to more than three hundred and ten thousand residents. Furthermore, it is the location of a vast quantity of national buildings including the Australian War and Captain Cook Memorials as well as the National Library, the National Gallery, the Academy of Science, the High Court, the National Science and Technology Centre and the National University.
But, as well as housing all of these fascinating buildings, it is also a beautiful city. Over twelve million trees have been planted adding wonderful character to the city and that's just the beginning. The surrounding mountains and hills, the breathtaking Botanic Gardens and the nearby bushland which is home to a large variety of native flora and fauna all make for a memorable visit to a city that many disregard as one worth paying a visit.
Canberra has surrounding rural areas and stretches of natural bushland that are home to charming townships such as Tharwa and Hall, award-winning wineries, and nature parks.
Just 45 minutes drive from the city is Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve offers walking trails, Australian animals in their natural habitat, delightful wildflowers during spring and rich Indigenous and pioneer heritage.
Namadgi National Park, also 45 minutes' drive from the city at the northern end of the Australian Alps, has numerous marked trails, enjoy spectacular wildflowers in spring. The Indigenous rock art and Aboriginal shelters are easily accessible. Camping is possible in with fishing and horse riding permitted in designated areas.
Canberra, the urban centre of the ACT, has stylish restaurants, bars, boutique shopping and a vast calendar of events and festivals.
Australia's national government sits here, as does the highest court of Australia. Many of the most important monuments in the country are located in Australia and they're visited by millions of people each year.
Some of these attractions include the Australian War Memorial, Parliament House, the National Gallery of Australia and Canberra's newest attraction, the National Museum of Australia.
there are daily flights between Canberra to/from Sydney and Melbourne.
Canberra is located on a line roughly between Sydney and Melbourne. That is why it can be easily reached by the main highway between Australia' two largest cities, the Hume Highway. The trip takes about 3 hours from Sydney (take the left exit onto the Federal Highway after Goulburn) or just over 6 hours from Melbourne (take the right exit onto the Barton Highway after Yass).
Number of operatorts have regular coach services that connect Sydney and Melbourne with Canberra.
Canberra is accessible by train from Sydney and Melbourne.