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With its 350,000 inhabitants, Canberra is one of the world’s few planned cities. Canberra is a city in a park with golden autumn leaves and glorious spring blooms. Surrounded by native bush land, Canberra is perfect for getting back to nature. Following the Federation in 1901, Canberra was chosen as a site of the national capital. The initial design for Canberra was the work of Chicago architect, Walter Burley Griffin, with wide, tree-lined avenues and spacious open park lands. Many national institutions and monuments are located close to the shores of Lake Burley Griffin – the focal point of the city. The city enjoys four distinct seasons and visitors will enjoy a different experience depending on the time of year they choose to visit. It is close to mountains and native bush land and is often referred to as ‘the bush capital’. Originally a public service town, the national capital is now also a major university and research centre with an emphasis on high technology industries.
Over half the area of the Australian Capital Territory, ACT, is a national park, with a well-developed and maintained network of walking trails through mountain ranges and sub-alpine forest. A spectacular way to see the city is to take a hot air balloon ride high over Lake Burley Griffin. The surrounding region offers more than 30 wineries, historic townships, beautiful coastlines and the famous Snowy Mountains.
Canberra features a large number of restaurants and cafés with a rich variety that reflects the cosmopolitan nature of the city. The main precincts for restaurants are in the city centre and the trendy suburbs of Manuka and Kingston. Excellent restaurants are also located throughout the city, including many with an Asian focus in Dickson – Canberra’s Chinatown. The Canberra region is the centre of a burgeoning wine region featuring high-quality cool climate varieties such as Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinot.
Having a cup of coffee with your mates is a popular pastime in Australia, and there are many places to choose from. You can have tasty caffeinated drinks or delightful bread and pastries. When in Canberra, one won't need to walk around empty-handed for too long when they are craving a coffee or a snack.
Canberra has a reputation for being a bit staid and conservative, but underneath the seemingly stiff exterior there is a strong party atmosphere forged by the capital's younger inhabitants. A large university population helps fuel a busy nightlife scene.
Apart from the large Canberra Centre in the city centre, most shopping is centred around large malls in the major suburban areas of Woden, Belconnen, Tuggeranong and Gungahlin. These malls contain a mix of department stores such as David Jones, Myer and Target. There are also smaller boutique chains catering to all tastes.
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