Canberra has two parliament houses: the Art Deco 1920s Old Parliament House and Canberra’s focal point, the new 1980s Parliament House.
Dug into the surrounding green flank of Capital Hill, the grassed roof and triangular metal flagpole of Parliament House are a national symbol.
The building’s central foyer is flanked by the House of Representatives on the east and the Senate on the west. Inside, native timbers, marble, mosaics, tapestries and embroidery feature in the spacious and lofty interior.
Take a guided tour, and if Parliament is sitting you can watch the proceedings from the public gallery.
If you have time, visit the imaginatively curated Old Parliament House adjacent. Clattering typewriters, ringing phones and overflowing in-trays re-create the drama and atmosphere of Canberra’s political life in decades gone by.
One of Australia's most popular museums can be found at the Australian War Memorial.
A visit to the mosaic Hall of the Memory and Commemorative Courtyard with its Roll of Honor is a moving and poignant experience, enhanced by the huge collection housed in the museum.
Pictures, dioramas, models, relics, weaponry, uniforms and machinery evoke the experience of war, including a sound and light show in Anzac Hall.
Guided tours explain the role played by Australian soldiers during the two world wars, as well as more recent conflicts.
The National Gallery of Australia has a stunning permanent collection of Australian and international art, and hosts travelling exhibitions.
The permanent collection focuses on four areas: Australian art from colonial to contemporary, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, Asian and Indian art, and art from across the globe.
Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly series of paintings are prominently displayed near the entrance to the gallery, and Australian Impressionists such as Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton are also well represented.
Step outside to the sculpture garden to admire works by a range of artists, including Rodin’s Burghers of Calais.