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Canberra is a modern city – there is no old quarter and few restored buildings. The city was designed by Chicago architect Walter Burley Griffin, who submitted the design without visiting the site. Burley Griffin planned that his creation should blend with nature rather than imposing itself on the landscape.

Canberra is often overlooked by many backpackers, bypassing the capital in favour of more exciting destinations. Although the city doesn’t have much charm or atmosphere, there are a lot of things to see.

In 1988, Canberra’s main landmark – Parliament House – opened, replacing an earlier building dating from 1927. Other attractions include the Australian War Memorial, the High Court, National Gallery of Australia, Old Parliament House and the new National Museum of Australia.

Local transport

Canberra is a sprawling city and most attractions are spaced too far apart for walking to be a practical option. You’re best off with a car or bicycle although Canberra has an extensive bus network.

Canberra’s buses, run by ACTION (tel 13 17 10), provide a good coverage of the city although the frequency of the services makes it a time consuming way to get around.

A single bus ride costs $4.50. Ask the driver for a transfer ticket if you need to transfer to another bus route; transfer tickets cost no more than regular tickets and allow you to change to other bus routes within a 90-minute period. Day passes are available on board buses or from newsagents for $8.60.

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