1-day trip to Canberra from Sydney – suggestions

Below is another suggestion that I created for a friend driving from Sydney to see Canberra, Australia’s capital city, and then driving back in 1 day. I personally love Canberra, as I have good memories of the place, and the city has a lot of places to visit that are free or almost free to visit, including the new and old Parliament House, quite a few museums, parks, lakes and mountains. The city area itself is nice and small, and you could include an hour or so to drive around and visit the shopping centre there if you like, but for me, I prefer to skip the city when I drive there from Sydney and back in a day, and so am there only a 6-7 hours. If you are OK to skip the city like me, I suggest you take packed lunch so you don’t have to drive back to the city to get your lunch (cheaper), or eat lunch at one of the attractions itself.
You can get more details on the suggested attractions and other details at http://www.visitcanberra.com.au
Suggestion for a 1-day trip to Canberra:
Leave early. It takes about 3.5 to 4 hours from Sydney, depending on how often/long you stop on the way of course. All the attractions below should show up in the GPS as tourist attractions in Canberra.
  1. Suggest you make Parliament house your first stop.
    1. Address: Capital Hill, Canberra
    2. Free Entry, Open till 5pm
    3. Will take around an hour or so to go around.
  2.  National Museum of Australia
    1. Free Entry, Open till 5pm
    2. Address:  Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula, Canberra ACT 2601.
    3. Interactive Attractions: Circa (rotating theatre), KSapce (lets you design your 3D house/vehicle, and then view it in a 3D theatre – fun for kids)
    4. Can also have lunch here if not taking packed lunch (see for example their weekend menu here: http://www.nma.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/396881/Winter_menu_weekends_and_PH.pdf
  3. Lunch near Lake Burley Griffin. The park with the best view to the lake is Commonwealth Park. There is a nice big fountain in the middle of the lake, and is nice to sit and watch while you eat your packed lunch. If you have spare time, you can also do some paddle boat/kayak hire at the lake (see http://www.visitcanberra.com.au/Getting-here-and-around/On-the-water/Business-Details-Page.aspx?ID=9000757&Title=Lake+Burley+Griffin+Boat+Hire) Or just spend a few minutes there. If not hiring a boat, this attraction could also be done after 5pm after the War Memorial closes.
  4. Australian War Memorial
    1. Address: Treloar Crescent (top of ANZAC Parade), Campbell ACT 2612
    2. Free entry, Open till 5pm
    3. Suggest to spend as much time as you want here.
  5. Telstra tower (Black mountain tower) or Mt Ainslie Lookout (or both if you have time)

Since most of the other attractions close at 5pm, suggest you visit either Telstra tower or Mt Ainslie to view the city from a height. Both are about 10-15mins drive from the war memorial.

Telstra tower details

    1. Address:Black Mountain Drive, Acton ACT 2601
    2. Open till 10pm
    3. 360 degree view of Canberra
    4. Entry fees about $8 per adult, and about $3 concession
    5. Can relax and have some coffee at the cafe there

Mt Ainslie Lookout details

    1. Address: Mount Ainslie Drive, Ainslie ACT 2602
    2. Its a lookout, so free to visit anytime
That’s it. We have been able to do all 6 in the same one-day trip before, but then my husband knew exactly where to drive to and how, so we saved time there.  You should be able to do at least 3 or 4, depending on when you reach there, and how long the days are (the sun should set around 8pm in the middle of summer and around 5pm in the middle of winter.
Have fun!