Canberra plans

Mum and I plan to spend four Late February days in Canberra, staying in the Canberra Motor Village. Dad has other commitments and won’t be coming. I’ve been researching things to see, and thought I’d put them together in a blog post where people who’ve been there can comment with further recommendations and advice. [Note: I’ve updated this post since originally writing it.]

I was about thirteen the last time I was in Canberra, and that was en route from Sydney (where I’d attended the original 1990 Whovention). So we didn’t do much.

My draft list of interesting places follows. I’ve divided it into two sections: one for places in located central Canberra and one for everything else.

Central Canberra

First, here is a Google Map showing all of the places listed in this section.

  • [A] Australian National Botanic Gardens (official site). Botanic gardens are always good to visit, and each has its own character. Behind the gardens is Black Mountain, which has walking trails and a lookout tower.
  • [B] National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia (official site). A small exhibition of small trees, but who isn’t fascinated by bonsai? The current location in Commonwealth Park is temporary, but it’s there until January 2013. Can also walk around and explore Commonwealth Park more generally.
  • [C] Old Parliament House, containing the Museum of Australian Democracy (official site) and Old Parliament House Gardens. Even if one’s interest in (or patience for) politics is strictly limited, one can hardly spend several days in Canberra without going here. Might also visit New Parliament House just to walk on the roof.
  • [D] Ten Centuries of Manuscript Treasures exhibition at the National Library of Australia. Original manuscripts by famous people in history, on tour from Berlin. I expect it to be a lot like the permanent exhibition I visited at the British Museum. There are night time sessions on Thursdays. [Update: I’ve booked tickets for Thursday 23rd.]
  • [E] National War Memorial (official site). Although I’ve been told this is outstanding and worth three days to itself, it doesn’t really sound my thing. But Mum’s keen to go (particularly in order to find the names of relatives) and I’m happy to go along. There’s bound to be something interesting that I can discover serendipitiously.
  • [F] Changi Chapel (speaking of war memorials). This testament to history interests me primarily because I enjoyed the TV series. It’s on the grounds of the Royal Military College Duntroon, between Lavarack Harrison Road and Miles Road (this took some google-fu to discover, as most maps put it some distance out).
  • [G] Mount Pleasant Lookout. I’ve done a little research to determine the best lookout from which to take a photograph of Canberra, and am leaning towards Mount Pleasant as the one to choose.


  • Gold Creek Village (map) in northern Canberra is a hub containing several attractions, including the National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra Walk-in Avery, Australian Reptile Centre, Aboriginal Dreamings Gallery, Aarwun Gallery, and most intriguing to me, Cockington Green Gardens (official site). This features model buildings in a garden setting. Let us note in passing that Gold Creek Village attractions tend to have substantial entrance fees.
  • Scope Mount Stromlo (official site) where the famous Mount Stromlo Observatory was destroyed by bushfires in 2003, has been undergoing a rebuild since 2004. It features a cafe with a view and I’d like to have lunch (or coffee) there one day. (Also, a walk around.) That said, a friend has told me it’s disappointing and shouldn’t be visited with high expectations.

Here is a Google Map showing the relative locations of Gold Creek Village, the Canberra Motor Village, and Scope Mount Stromlo.

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