With just one day in the Australian capital, you can take in parliament, visit key museums, and soak in this pleasant lakeside city surrounded by parkland. Here’s how to see Canberra’s essentials in just 24 hours.
Morning: Tour Parliament House
Canberra is the seat of the Australian government, and politics buffs will especially enjoy touring the Australian Parliament House. The elegant and distinctive building can be seen from many parts of the city, as Canberra’s sight lines were carefully designed when the city was planned. Guided tours run three times a day and vary a bit depending on what is happening in the government on the day.
Afternoon: Cultural Canberra
Spend the afternoon at the National Gallery of Australia or the National Museum of Australia (or both, if you don’t mind less time in each). The National Gallery shows permanent and temporary exhibitions of art from Australia and the region and has a particularly strong collection of Indigenous Australian art from around the country. The National Museum informs visitors about the history, geography, and geology of Australia, and is interesting for kids, too.
Night: Dinner in Civic
Canberra has an excellent collection of restaurants, serving contemporary Australian cuisine as well as Asian favorites. For dinner, head to Civic, the de facto center of Canberra, with the largest concentration of restaurants and bars. The areas around the Canberra Centre mall and the historic Sydney and Melbourne Building Precinct are the most atmospheric places for a casual or more upmarket dinner.