Canberra is full of fantastic experiences for visitors. Set within leafy surrounds, this modern city offers fun for the kids, a busy calendar of events and festivals, as well as stylish restaurants, bars and shops.
Australia's capital city is one of beauty, culture and order, which is obvious as you drive through the ordered rows upon rows of suburban streets with sweeping leafy vistas and beautiful surrounding parklands. It is ideal for a driving holiday with plenty of accommodation and car rental options available, nearby attractions to visit and day trips to enjoy.
Canberra is located almost 300 kilometres or three hours drive south if you choose car rental Sydney, it is easily accessible from all directions as long as you stick to the highway. With great historical museums and galleries to explore at your leisure, you can be sure that you will learn more about the Australian heritage here than probably anywhere else in the world.
If you are looking for a welcoming place to stay, the Canberra Retreat Bed and Breakfast is close to eight kilometres from the city centre and is a great base to see the rest of the city. Cotter Campground is for those looking for some bush camping, but with the trimmings. There is plenty of space here and the facilities are excellent.
One of the best times to visit is September to October, when Canberra's hosts what is now Australia's largest floral festival - called Floriade. Held in Commonwealth Park, there are millions of tulips, annuals and every type of flower proudly on display for tourists from all over the world to enjoy. There are also interactive events and entertainment for the whole family.
There is every type of food outlet, restaurant, cafe and club available here and you will find some of the best restaurants in West Row, found in the Melbourne Building. Two of the main shopping centres are also Kingston and Manuka which offer every type of cuisine imaginable, so make sure you visit.
One of the obvious tourist attractions is Parliament house, which is one of the most well known buildings in Australia, being the centre of government and the countries economic power. The flagpole is over eighty metres high and perfect for that inevitable Kodak moment.
A popular activity for seeing the city from a different angle is to hire a bicycle for the day. Lake Burley Griffin is one of the most enjoyable spots for a picnic and rest while you choose between the thousands of cycling tracks around the city. It really is one of the loveliest cities to visit, with the streets planned so perfectly around the central city, and smooth bike tracks taking you through parks, across bridges and to beautiful look outs.
Known for its great athletes and sporting facilities, Canberra also boasts the Australian Institute of Sport which offers interactive tours at the Sportex exhibition. The Canberra Museum and Gallery is a must, with plenty of exhibitions running throughout the year, and a great collection of history ranging from centuries ago to the recent bushfires, and a diversity of local photography and art. It would be worth at least a few hours to take in its treasures on display.
One of the most enjoyable attractions, especially for the family, is to the National Zoo and Aquarium, which are really two attractions in one. It is centrally located and boasts the largest number of big cats in Australia. There seems to be every type of animal from all over the world here, with monkeys, African animals, Australian natives, birds, reptiles and plenty of unique animals which will keep you enthralled. The Aquarium also gives you a closer look at the Great Barrier Reef, sharks and creatures from the depths of the ocean.
Take a day trip to tour some of the hundred or so wineries located on the outskirts of the city. The countryside surrounding Canberra is beautiful, and is worth taking some time out to explore the national parks and rolling hills stretched with vineyards and rural vistas. Take some time out to enjoy a lunch in one of the wineries and sample the local produce.
It is easy to catch the spirit of Canberra. You can base yourselves here and drive in any direction for an enjoyable day trip, or spend weeks visiting the national treasures just waiting to be discovered. That is the beauty of car hire: it allows to to take your time and pick and choose where you want to go. This city has been planned so carefully that it is a pleasure to drive its streets, perfect at any time of the year, and beckoning you to keep visiting.
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Jenny Brewer is a travel agent whose passion is writing. For more of her articles visit Car Hire Australia