Discover culture in Canberra. If you’re sinful and sexy you hail from Sydney, if you’re bold and brash you come from Brisbane and those being well born come from Melbourne. But if you’re cultured then it’s Canberra. The good news is that for other culture vultures you can have a feast in Canberra and, the even better news is that for those with more dash than cash, many of Canberra’s attractions are free. The national capital is home to the country’s main art galleries and museums.
Marvel at huge canvases in the National Gallery, such as Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles and David Hockney’s A Bigger Grand Canyon, or opt for a more intimate experience in the National Portrait Gallery, featuring Australians past and present depicted in every medium.
Art, design and craft are thriving in Canberra with a host of other smaller art galleries and centres offering a range of creations and jewellery that most people can afford. Even if you’re not buying, the Old Bus Depot Markets and the Glassworks at Kingston, as well as Gorman House in Civic will excite and captivate you.
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For those serious about culture, a visit to the National Library is essential. Here visitors can browse through the vast reading collection, be captivated by the exhibitions, relax in the café under the beautiful stained glass windows, attend a talk or try and leave the book shop without buying anything. Not far away at the National Archives there are also some fascinating documents, including the nation’s “birth certificate”, signed by Queen Victoria, proclaiming Australia as an independent nation.
The National Museum of Australia provides a fascinating look at Australian culture and its development over the last two hundred years, as well as an appreciation of Indigenous culture. Situated on the shores of the lake, the museum has so much to see and experience that you’ll really need at least a day.
Theatre and cinema are probably more accessible in Canberra than most other cities. Considering the relatively small population of Canberra you’ll be surprised at the sophistication and varied nature of the theatre scene. Drama, comedy, cabaret and a wide range of musical production feature top line Australian and overseas artists. With six cinema centres you’ll have no trouble getting to see the latest releases as well as the cult and genre films at the National Film and Sound Archive.
South Australia may have been called the Festival State but Canberra could easily take the title of Festival City with major festivals in every season of the year. Canberra explodes in colour for Floriade in spring, while in autumn the sight of dozens of hot air balloons of all shapes and designs drifting over the lake and Parliament House is spectacular. Plan your visit around one of the many festivals.