Words by Lee Mylne
On a crisp and sunny autumn morning in Canberra’s Parliamentary Triangle, I meet the figures of two men in three-piece suits and hats, heading in the same direction, frozen in time.
One I recognise instantly; his portrait hangs near my room in the historic Hotel Kurrajong and his legacy looms large in the national capital. It’s Ben Chifley, his statue in step with John Curtain’s, commemorating a time in the 1940s when the two powerbrokers stayed at Hotel Kurrajong and walked to Parliament House together.
I overtake the former prime ministers intent on the same destination, where I easily lose a couple of hours at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.
Canberra’s beauty, apart from its symmetry, is in the host of museums, galleries and events to explore. Start with a stop at the National Capital Exhibition on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin. Also on the must-do list: the Australian War Memorial, National Arboretum, National Gallery of Australia, Royal Australian Mint and the Australian Institute of Sport.
Canberra’s hotels offer something for everyone. Indulge in high tea at Hotel Kurrajong, use a quiet workspace at Little National, or dine at Monster in the Ovolo Nishi hotel, which has added 17 new rooms this year. There’s also Vibe Canberra, which is one of the most stylish airport hotels around.
Not only does Canberra have a new light rail network, there’s also a free Culture Loop bus that operates daily from 9.00am to 7.00pm, connecting many of the major attractions and the New Acton precinct.
Best time to travel
From the month-long Canberra Festival in March to the spring flower show Floriade in September, there are a range of events throughout the year to entertain visitors.