Canberra, as you may or may not know, is the capital city of Australia. It is only about a half-hour flight from Sydney or about a three-hour drive if you travel by car. Canberra, Australia’s capital city, should undoubtedly be your next travel destination, as the New York Times described as a city with a lot to offer.
The capital city of Australia is the bosom of the nation
Officially, the name “Canberra” is an Aboriginal word that means “meeting place,” but no living person can confirm this. Another theory is that it actually means “woman’s breast,” and the city got its name from its location between two mountains. (Imagine the naming officials sneaking away for a private laugh, exclaiming, “I can’t believe they fell for it!”) This should bring endless joy to schoolboys worldwide.
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Who says Canberra has nothing to offer? Canberrans, for the record, have the highest attendance at art galleries, concerts (both classical and rock), theatre, dance, cinemas, musicals, and “other performing arts” in Australia. And guess what? They won’t even have to leave their hometown. Contrary to popular belief, Canberra has a thriving – and, more importantly, a high-quality – arts scene.
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Politician-free zone (almost)
Here’s an interesting fact: Canberra has the lowest number of politicians per capita of any state or territory. Yes, indeed! It has about the average number of local government representatives, but far fewer federal representatives – per capita. Do you dislike politicians? Come to Canberra when the legislature is not in session!
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The capital city of Australia is triathlon Town
Whatever cosmic plan the Griffins had for Canberra, triathlons were probably not on the list. Canberra, on the other hand, appears to be made for sporting events, including a slew of triathlons centered on the scenic shores of Lake Burley Griffin. Perhaps no sporting event makes better use of Canberra than the Sri Chinmoy Triple Triathlon in November, an all-day event in which teams of swimmers, cyclists, and runners (as well as a few ultra-fit solo triathletes) complete three triathlons in a row – one swim in each of Canberra’s three lakes, and three runs and mountain bike courses through the city’s various hills. To be honest, you couldn’t hold this event in Sydney or Melbourne. Not for nothing is it known as the “bush capital.”
Is there any occult significance to Canberra’s design? In the 1920s, Walter Burley Griffin and his wife / creative partner Marion were associated with a number of esoteric and occult groups, which would explain Marion’s fondness for geometric and star patterns. (Canberra’s inner roads have an eight-legged star in the center, implying that there is a secret society worshiping the devil somewhere in the City Centre.)
According to one scholar, Peter Proudfoot, there was a “secret Canberra plan” based on the “cosmic canon of the ancients.” The theory has grown in popularity over time, despite the fact that the Griffins were not known to be members of any such cults when they submitted their Canberra design in 1911. In any case, the geometry between Parliament House and the City, in addition to looking very cool from Black Mountain or Red Hill, could have mystical significance.
Except for John Howard, every Prime Minister has lived in Canberra since The Lodge in Yarralumla became the official residence of the Prime Minister in 1927. If Mr Predictable-and-Safe prefers Kirribilli House, Canberra must be more exciting than people believe.
Most Ridiculous Attraction?
The National Carillon on Aspen Island, most likely. This bell tower, a gift from the United Kingdom, cost Australia more to dismantle and ship across the ocean than it did to build. The Queen then cut the ribbon on behalf of all Australians. (Of course, the Queen! This was in the year 1970.) Until recently, figuring out how to get there required a PhD in map reading. (A new road now exits the Kings Avenue Bridge.) But, as folly monuments go, it’s a beautiful sight. The bells, which play everything from Beethoven to Burt Bacharach, sound particularly good.
The capital city of Australia is perfect place for foods
Canberra was once said to have the most restaurants and cafés per capita in the world. (Paris finished second.) It’s a contentious claim – Adelaide and Perth now claim to have the most restaurants per capita of any Australian city – but there’s no shortage of fine dining. Food writer Barbara Santich even wrote a front-page story about Canberra’s restaurants for the New York Times’ travel section in 1999, which resulted in long-distance reservations at the Chairman and Yip (innovative Chinese) and The Ottoman (Turkish, naturally). Despite this pan-Pacific support, the other restaurants featured have since closed. Fortunately, there are many worthy successors.
According to The Times (UK), the Australian National University is not only a beautiful campus, but it is also Australia’s best university, ranking #16 in the world. That could explain why Canberrans earn more money, have more jobs, and have some of the highest literacy rates in the country. (And they’re wondering why some people dislike them…
Architecture that is cutting-edge.
Canberra is known for futuristic buildings that, unlike most “futuristic” structures, do not look dated and kitsch after 20 years. We’re not just talking about buildings from the 1980s like the High Court and Parliament House, but also older relics like the 1959 “shine dome” that houses the Australian Academy of Science.