Canberra (Day Trip)
Canberra was selected for a capital of Australia as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne on 1st January 1911. After that, an international competition was held to design the new capital city of Australia. As a result - Canberra is entirely planned city.
Canberra lies 280 km (170 mi) south-west of Sydney and 660 km (410 mi) north-east of Melbourne.
Our journey started at 4:30 am at the Sydney Central Station where we took a Greyhound bus that would take us on a 4 and a half hour journey to Canberra.
Them early morning views...
Fun fact - there is a town called Yass located a good hour car ride away from Canberra. Apparently their McDonald's sign is quite entertaining. ;)
After an almost 5 hour bus ride, we were quite starving so we were eager to find a good breakfast spot. We decided to try out The Cupping Room which was recommended to us. It also has quite good TripAdvisor rating.
This is definitely a popular spot with the locals and tourists as we arrived there just slightly after 9 am on a Saturday morning and we had to wait 15 minutes to get a table! And we were there just in time as the queue (once we were seated) just started getting longer and longer.
I ordered AVO Breakfast ($23.5) which consisted of Avocado, poached eggs, sourdough, whipped goats cheese, olive & almond dust and wood-smoked bacon. The food was absolutely amazing and definitely worth the wait.
After that, our first stop was The Australian War Memorial. We took a bus that left us at the bottom of the ANZAC Parade and then we made our way up to the memorial.
Australian War Memorial
AWM is the north terminus of the city's ceremonial land axis, which stretches from Parliament House on Capital Hill. No direct road links the two points, but there is a clear line of sight from the front balcony of Parliament House to the War Memorial, and from the front steps of the War Memorial back to Parliament House.
Australian War Memorial is dedicated to the members of the armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in wars involving the Commonwealth of Australia. It was open in 1941 and is widely regarded as one of the most significant memorials of its type in the world.
There are multiple free tours available. We took the 11 am 90 minutes tour which gives you an overview of all the galleries.
(That 'triangle' in the distance is the new parliament house.)
The remembrance poppy is an artificial flower that has been used since 1921 to commemorate military personnel who have died in war. Inspired by the World War I poem "In Flanders Fields" they were first adopted by the American Legion to commemorate American soldiers killed in that war (1914–1918). They were then adopted by military veterans' groups in parts of the British Empire: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
AWM is definitely a must do when visiting Canberra. Not only you get to learn about the Australian involvement in wars, you can also enjoy the beautiful architecture. I would strongly recommend to take a tour, especially if you are limited with time. The whole museum is absolutely huge and the tour gives you a good overview of everything that it has to offer.
My personal favourite was The Grave Of Unknown Australian Soldier who represents all Australians who have been killed in war. I really do recommend taking the tour as the guide brilliantly explains how the design of the grave is linked to what the grave represents.
After an educational couple of hours at the AWM we caught an Uber back to the city. Sadly it was raining so we had to stick to the indoors.
But who can complain about the bad weather when you can get this amazing Virgin Unicorn milkshake at Patissez!
The place is really popular and it was really crowded but the shake was totally worth it!
After the sugar fix, we took another Uber to our last destination for the day - Parliament House (PH).
Canberra has two Parliament Houses. The Old PH or Provisional PH served as a PH between 1927 - 1988. Prior to 1927 the PH was based in Melbourne. The Old PH was later turned into a Museum of Australian Democracy.
(New) Parliament House
Australian Coat of Arms consists of kangaroo and emu."It's commonly believed that the reason they are on the Coat of Arms is because they are two animals that are unable to walk backwards, signifying the aspiration and intent as a nation to always move forwards."
We caught the 3:30 pm free guided tour which leads you through the whole Parliament and gives you a good overview of the place and of what's going on.
''The Senate is one of the two houses of the Australian Federal Parliament. It consists of 76 senators, twelve from each of the six states and two from each of the mainland territories. It shares the power to make laws with the other House of the Parliament, the House of Representatives.'' (x)
''The House Of Representatives is one of the two houses of Australia’s Commonwealth Parliament. There are 150 representatives elected by the Australian people. The House of Representatives is the house in which government is formed.'' (x)
I do advise to take the guided tour as it is very informative.
When you are leaving - do not forget to take in the amazing view from the top of the Capital Hill that overlooks the Old Parliament, ANZAC parade and the Australian War Museum.
My favourite thing about the Parliament building? It is actually built into the hill, so that it's a part of the hill!!
Also, don't forget to check out the gift store at the exit and get your crossed flag pin ;)
Canberra is definitely different from either Sydney or Melbourne. The fact that it was designed from a scratch gives it it's own special charm. It is also one of the quietest and least busiest capital cities that I visited.
If you have time - definitely stop here and make a day of it. You won't regret it!
EDIT: If you are planning a trip to Canberra I would advise you to look at Visit Canberra website first o get an idea what city has to offer and to figure out what you want to see or do. This is especially helpful if (like me) are short with time. They also have Canberra Trip Planner app which is very helpful.