Canberra is laid out on either side of Lake Burley Griffin. This manmade feature is flanked by impressive government buildings and crowned with a jet of water that reaches nearly 150 meters into the air. Named for the Chicago architect who planned Canberra, the lake (along with Black Mountain Reserve) is a favorite place for locals and tourists to go for outdoor activities. Paddling, jogging, hiking and cycling are all popular pursuits.
Attractions in the ‘Bush Capital’ include many war memorials and museums that are easily reached from hotels in Canberra. The best of these are the National Museum, National Library and National Gallery. Science institutes like Questacon and the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex also receive plenty of visitors. Most major attractions are close to the lake in the ‘Parliamentary Triangle’.
In a place where so many of Australia’s most influential people come together, it’s no surprise that Canberra boasts such a diverse dining scene. The surrounding countryside has nearly 150 well-established vineyards, and these vintages are favorites at tables across the city center. The best bars, clubs and lounges are near Garema Place and on Bunda Street. There’s also an old-fashioned casino in Canberra. As these places cater largely to Canberra’s residents, tourists are sometimes caught off guard by their hours. Most establishments close on Sunday, with many bars closed on Saturday night.
These weekend closings sometimes lead to discount room rates on Saturdays and Sundays. As most tourists come for the architecture and museums rather than the nightlife, weekends are the best time to book accommodation in Canberra. But even during the week, rooms in Canberra still cost much less than those in Melbourne and Sydney.