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    Things to do in Canberra

    Mr Burley Griffith went a bit over the top in designing a nice neat city and Canberra is over-planned. A map of the city folded in half shows complete symmetry, like a three-year-old’s butterfly painting. It’s very pretty from the air, but at street level it can feel like you’ve walked onto the set of the Truman Show.

    That said, Canberra is still an attractive place to wander about, with plenty of open spaces and greenery. In the centre is the scenic Lake Burley Griffith, with Captain Cook’s Memorial Fountain spurting out a fine plume of water in the middle.

    On the south side of the lake is capital hill, topped by Australia’s unique Parliament House. It looks more like a Hobbit’s burrow than a developed country’s seat of government with the building being buried into the hill. After seeing the inside you can stomp over the top of it. The Old Parliament House is also open to visitors and occasionally kangaroos can be seen on the lawns.

    Nearby is the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, still manned after 33 years and many attempts to remove it. It is a constant reminder to the Aussie government of how badly these people have been treated over the decades.

    Mount Black and its Telstra Tower offer great views over the city. You can get all arty in the Australian Nacanberra imagetional Gallery and Canberra also houses the National Library, the National Archives, the National Science and Technology Centre, the Australian Institute of Sport, the National Museum, War Memorial, and the Australian Royal Mint. If you prefer jaws and claws over art and fart check out the National Aquarium and Wildlife Sanctuary.

    Canberra is a university town and during term time the young students give the city and its nightspots some youthful exuberance.

    Not impressed? Try going to Fishwyck to pick up some educational picture-based literature. Federal and state laws differ, so the territories – Northern and Australian Capital – can openly pedal pornos while the rest of the country has to order them on the net.

    Driving around Canberra is a breeze, as long as you don’t mind doing long gentle loops. Conditions are perfect for cycling with bike tracks running all over the place. Otherwise get on a bus.