About Canberra

About Canberra

Note: Image courtesy of Tourism Australia

Canberra is Australia’s capital city and a unique Australian city with an entirely planned urban landscape. 300 kilometres south west of Sydney, the site was chosen as Australia’s capital in 1908 as a compromise between the two largest Australian cities, Sydney and Melbourne. It’s the nation’s political heart and home to some of Australia’s best historical and cultural institutions.

Unlike most cities which have been developed organically overtime, Canberra’s unique inner-city layout was built from a holistic design. Throughout the inner-city you’ll notice a pattern of geometric motifs such as circles and hexagons, the work of American architect Walter Burley Griffin who won an international competition to design the city.

Canberra was officially named with a ceremony on 12 March 1913. A variety of original and quirky names were suggested for the city including Paradise, Shakespeare and Boomerang City. However, the name of Canberra was eventually settled upon. It is derived from an Aboriginal word thought to mean ‘meeting place’.

The city is home to Australia’s Parliament, High Court and several diplomatic embassies and consulates as well as the Lodge, the official residence of Australia’s Prime Minister.

General information


Spring in Canberra is exquisite. You’ll find flowers in bloom and the weather warming. It’s a time of outdoor fun and exploration, fresh scented air and a gorgeous blue sky. Spring is an ideal time for bushwalking and cycling around the lakes, with the city bursting into colour.

Canberra’s weather in September is generally cold to mild, during spring expect fresh mornings and brisk nights with average temperatures between 6°C – 19°C. For more information about weather closer to the conference, please visit Canberra Weather.

Things to do in Canberra

National Gallery of Australia

Experience one of the world’s most beautiful art museums. You’ll enjoy more than the traditional gallery experience, with many lectures, films, workshops, music performances on offer, as well as Art After Hours – a free event that includes a lively mix of ever-changing performances, talks, films and music.

Mount Ainslie Lookout

To really appreciate the layout of this carefully planned capital, head to the lookout of 843-meter Mount Ainslie. One of the cities most popular vantage points. Along the way, you can pause at the commemorative plaques to learn about historic Australian Battles.

National Museum of Australia

On a peninsular jutting into Lake Burley Griffin, the national museum of Australia spotlights the nation’s social history in a contempary space with beautiful lake views. The building itself is a work of art. Inspired by a Jigsaw, it was intended to underscore the interconnected stories that helped shape the Nation. A major theme of the exhibits is the cultural history of the Aborigines, other highlights include exhibits on the Gold Rush, Australian Industry, clothing and migration.

National Zoo & Aquarium

Canberra is home to Australia’s only combined zoo and aquarium facility, and as you would expect from a zoo located in a national capital city, the National Zoo & Aquarium has gone to great efforts to do the country proud.

Soar above the Capital

For the best view of Canberra, take a scenic hot air balloon flight over the nation’s capital. Take off at sunrise and drift gently with the wind as you experience breathtaking views and see the nation's capital come to life beneath you.

Indulge in food that is almost too pretty to eat

Tempt your tastebuds with Space Kitchen's picture-perfect creations. Unicorn waffles are the latest taste sensation to come out of this 'grammable eatery. Indulge in this little slice of magic before it gallops away.

Lake Burley Griffin

Lake Burley Griffin is an artificial lake smack-dab in the centre of Canberra, created in the 1960s. Many of the cities best-known landmarks are either on the shores of the lake or easily visible from it, and a cruise on the lake is a wonderful way to see the city in a new light and in a tranquil, beautiful setting.

Australian War Memorial

Bringing together a world-class museum, a shrine and an extensive archive, the Australian War Memorial in Canberra is an insightful experience for both young and old. Discover the diverse Australian experiences of war and connect with stories of people and events that shaped Australia. With the purpose of commemorating the sacrifice of Australians who have died in war, the Memorial is a place to pay your respects and discover what it means to be Australian.

For more information about Canberra and day tours, please visit:

Visit Canberra

Tourism ACT

Canberra Visitor Centre

Canberra Guided Tours

AAT Kings