Canberra is Australia's capital, nestled between the alps and the sea.
Aerial view of Canberra looking north across the parliamentary triangle to Lake Burley Griffin and Mount Ainslie

Canberra, the capital city of Australia

After extensive searching, Canberra became the site for the newly federated nation of Australia in 1908 by a ballot in Parliament.

Canberra's Aboriginal heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in the Canberra region for at least 21,000 years. The Ngunnawal people and their descendants are the traditional custodians of the region.

Aboriginal people including Ngarigo, Wiradjuri, Wolgalu, Gundungurra and Yuin met around the Canberra district for ceremony, marriage and trade as well as gathering to collect Bogong moth seasonally.

It is believed the name Canberra derives from the name for 'meeting place' in Ngunnawal language. Many significant sites, artefacts, scar trees and paintings can be found throughout the Canberra plains and nearby Tidbinbilla and Namadgi National Park.

Canberra city's origins

The city was founded in 1913 and the design was determined by an international competition. The winning entry was by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, a young couple from Chicago, USA. 

Since 1913 the city has grown around the central design incorporating Lake Burley Griffin girt by national monuments and collection institutions to become the proud home of the Australian story.

Canberra's surrounds

Canberra is a fantastic base from which to explore the many treasures of the surrounding New South Wales region. Explore historic townships, natural wonders, extensive and varied wine regions, beautiful coastlines of the South Coast and Mount Kosciuszko, Australia's highest peak in the beautiful Snowy Mountains.

Numerous national parks and nature reserves including Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Namadgi National Park make the region ideal for encounters with Australian fauna including marsupials like kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, wombats, possums and over 250 species of Australian birds.  

Travelling to Canberra

Plan an inland Australian drive holiday and make time to linger longer and enjoy all the region surrounding the nation’s capital has to offer. Canberra is an ideal stopover when driving between Sydney and Melbourne, and a perfect base when visiting the Australian alps or the South Coast of New South Wales. 

Aerial view of Canberra looking north across the parliamentary triangle to Lake Burley Griffin and Mount Ainslie


Canberra is the capital city of Australia. Founded in 1913, after extensive searching for the finest area in southeastern Australia, the city was designed by American architects Walter Burley and Marion Mahony Griffin the winners of an international competition. Its planned layout nestles softly into extensive nature parks creating a place according to its designers "not like any other city in the world." 

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A hand holds a red grape fresh harvested at Jeir Creek Winery in the Canberra District wine region of Australia

Canberra District wine region

The Canberra District wine region is rapidly gaining international recognition and awards. From a wide range of soil types and altitude, the region produces distinct nuances to varieties including shiraz, riesling, pinot noir and more. Cellar doors are boutique and within easy drive of the city, maintaining an intimate and friendly approach to producing wine. Come and taste the liquid geography of the Canberra District. 

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Aerial view of the church and historic township of Gundaroo in Capital Country near Canberra

Capital Country

Capital Country is the region of New South Wales that encompasses the Australian Capital Territory. Ranging from fertile, open agricultural land of the southwest slopes to the foothills of the Australian Alps, Capital Country provides ideal drive holiday options with historic small towns, national parks and fantastic food and wine. Explore the region and discover a magic part of inland Australia. 

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A hiker looks over Red Rocks Gorge along the Murrumbidgee River Corridor

Murrumbidgee River Corridor

The Murrumbidgee, one of Australia's major rivers arises in the Snowy Mountains and flows gently through the ACT on its way to join the Murray River. The river corridor offers many opportunities to walk, paddle, swim and enjoy nature along its length. The Centenary Trail takes in an enjoyable walking and mountain biking trail along the water's edge. 

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Hiking on the Main Range of the Snowy Mountains in the Australian Alps

Snowy Mountains

The Snowy Mountains, also known as the Australian Alps, are the roof of Australia. Cloaked in snow in winter and wildflowers in summer, the area is a major recreation and nature drawcard. Canberra sits at the base of the alpine region making it a perfect base to explore the area at any time of the year. 

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View along beach to Camel Rock at Bermagui on the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia

South Coast

The South Coast of New South Wales lies to the east of Canberra. Within a few hours drive of the city you can explore unspoilt beaches, quaint coastal towns and popular holiday locations. Go whale watching, see dolphins and other abundant marine life along the coast, take a fishing charter or simply sunbake on a secluded swimming or surfing beach.

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Lerida Estate WInes - looking from a table laden with food and wine to distant vineyards in the background

The Poacher's Way

The Poacher’s Way is a collective inspired by Canberra district land and life. This self drive touring route is an ideal way to connect to the land and people of the area. Immerse yourself in the lifestyle and passions of exceptional artists, chefs, winemakers, galleries and rural retreats. Sample their produce, see artists at work and explore the land, then settle in for a night with fine accommodation options.

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Visitors wearing day packs stand with a ranger in a rock shelter during a ranger guided walk to an Aboriginal occupation site at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, near Canberra

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Discover Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, is one of the best places in Australia to see native animals in their wild habitat. Unlike a zoo, enclosures are large and allow visitors to walk through and encounter animals and birds that are free to roam. The area is home to some of the oldest known Aboriginal occupation sites in eastern Australia and is only a 45 minute drive from the city centre.

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Hikers stand near the summit of Camel's Hump, a peak which borders Namadgi National Park in the ACT

Namadgi National Park

Namadgi National Park comprises nearly half of the land area of the ACT. This alpine park is dominated by granite mountains, snow capped peaks in winter and is the source of Canberra's pure drinking water. Visitors can hike, camp, climb, and explore nature in the park.

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Aerial view of Canberra looking north to the surrounding country that makes up the Australian Capital Territory

Australian Capital Territory

Australian Capital Territory is the area that bounds Australia's capital city Canberra. From fertile farm and grazing lands, in the east, to the foot of the Australian Alps to the west, over half of the total area is preserved as parks and reserves. Canberra, the urban centre of the ACT, is a thriving modern city of around 390,000 people.
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