Canberra is the national capital of Australia. Founded in the early 20th century, Canberra has much to interest the visitor:
-- Lake Burley Griffin: The layout of Canberra is centered around around this lake, that was named after Walter Burley Griffin, the U.S. architect who designed Canberra. Places of interest around the edges of the Lake include the Captain Cook Memorial Water Jet, Blundell's Cottage and the Carillon (bell tower).
-- Parliament House: The new Parliament House was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1988. The design was selected following an international design competition and is built into the top of a hill which has been grassed over and surmounted by huge four-legged flagpole.
-- National Gallery of Australia: This gallery features extensive collections of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art; contemporary and colonial Australian art; and representative collections of European, American and Asian art. In the popular Australian mind the most famous (and most controversial) work of art is Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles. The Art Gallery also has a Sculpture Garden with over 50 sculptures set between the Gallery and Lake Burley Griffin.
-- National Library of Australia: This elegant building on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin houses over five million books, many old manuscripts and maps, and a large pictorial collection.
-- Foreign Embassies: Canberra has over 80 embassies, many of which are built in the architecture of the embassies' home countries.
-- Australian War Memorial: This huge Byzantine-style building commemorates the Australian servicemen and servicewomen who lost their lives in the wars Australia has been involved in. It has a 20 exhibition galleries which house an excellent collection of relics, paintings and dioramas. Some of the places you may care to visit inside include the Hall of Memory, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Pool of Reflection and the Roll of Honour.
-- Australian National Botanic Gardens: These beautiful gardens located on Black Mountain contain 600 species of native plants.
-- Australian Institute of Sport: The AIS is the training center for Australia's elite athletes. Tourists are welcome to visit the Sports Visitors Centre with its excellent collection of sports memorabilia and tours of the AIS where you can see the strenuous life of top athletes.
An interesting event which draws thousands of visitors to Canberra every spring (mid-September to mid-October) is the Floriade, a flower festival with flower shrubs and bulbs in full bloom in Commonwealth Park beside Lake Burley Griffin.