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Worth a Day Trip?

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Edmonton, Canada
posts: 42
reviews: 96
Worth a Day Trip?

I'm considering taking a day trip to Canberra from Sydney through AAT Kings in March 2011. I was wondering how the quality of the parliament tour and the museums are, I'm a big political buff so visiting Canberra is almost a must for me. However after reading some of the comments on this board, I am concerned that it may not be worth the trip. What's everyone's opinion on it?

Wiltshire
posts: 229
reviews: 39
11. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

I did a similar trip (probably about 2003 but nothing much will have changed) and I would agree it needs more than a day, bearing in mind that with the morning tea stop and the evening meal stop on the return journey, the travelling time from sydney to canberra and back is 7 or 8 hours of the day without taking into account the time on the bus in and around the capital.

I'd agree the parliament and the war museum are well worth it, but personally the arts museum left me cold and I spent a lot of the allocated time there sat on a wall watching the fountain in Lake Burley Griffin. The view over the city from Mt Ainslie is good and shows how isolated the city is, but not sure it adds much to the day's experience other than show the layout of where you've already been.

Sydney, Australia
posts: 570
reviews: 6
12. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

I agree with the comments that you should take at least 2 days if you are able to. If that's not possible, then do the day trip, you won't regret it.

If you are a political buff and able to afford the time, both New Parliament House and Old Parliament House (Museum of Australian Democracy) are both great. You don't usually need tickets to attend question time, but if you do get them you are guaranteed a seat, whereas you have to queue up otherwise.

www.aph.gov.au/visitors/public_galleries.htm

Besides what else people have said, Canberra is also quite a pretty city - it's surrounded by mountains and although some of them are still recovering from bushfires a number of years ago, there are plenty of vantage points (either driveable or walkable) where you can see the city, the surrounding hills and the northern Australian Alps to the south. Mount Ainslie is a favourite because it lines up the "axis" designed by Walter Burley Griffin that connected the mountain, the War Memorial, and the old and new Parliament Houses, with the two bridges on either side forming the "triangle".

Canberra, Australia
Destination Expert
for Canberra
posts: 10,492
reviews: 2
13. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

Oh, of course, the axis :-) I was thinking why Mount Ainslie and not Black Mountain? All I came up with, and I'm sure that's part of it, is that Mount Ainslie would take less time.

I'm sure a day tour by coach would be ideal for some people, you get to see a variety of things within a short space of time while leaving the navigating and clock watching to someone else. However for some people IMO it would be too much of a compromise. I know years ago the time tours allotted to the War Memorial for example was one hour, which was barely enough to walk around and that's before all the renovations and extensions. So looking at the details of that tour as an example (thanks for the link Dr Rudi) one might be disappointed that the time at the Memorial is too short and the morning tea stop is too long... or vice versa... personally I can think of a few things I'd rather see ahead of the museum... For someone with a specific interest in politics it would be worthwhile tailoring a visit around that and including the relevant attractions that a coach tour doesn't have time for, and if the visit were spread over two days that would be even better. But of course it depends on how much flexibility the visitor has and their other priorities. Btw for anyone not tied to a coach tour it's worth researching what special exhibitions might be on at various venues at the time of the visit. That said, a coach tour would be the best option for some, and for some no option will be particularly good in the wider context of their trip.

Edmonton, Canada
posts: 42
reviews: 96
14. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

Thank you all for your helpful comments. I agree with some of the comments that a day is simply not enough to take in all of Canberra's sites. I think I'm going to skip the day trip to Canberra as I don't want to feel rushed through all of the major attractions. Thanks again!

Canberra, Australia
Destination Expert
for Canberra
posts: 10,492
reviews: 2
15. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

For someone genuinely interested in some aspect of Canberra but with limited time and no option to stay overnight, flying down and renting car to visit those attractions of specific interest would be the way to go. I wouldn't recommend it in winter though when fog might cause flight delays.

(No idea what the OP really wanted, I note there were no other questions about an Australian trip whatsoever, but it turned into an interesting thread which will be a useful reference for others.)

Edmonton, Canada
posts: 42
reviews: 96
16. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

I'm taking a tour of Australia & New Zealand and was given the option to take a day trip to Canberra to see the major sites. It would leave early morning from Sydney and return back to Sydney late night.

Sydney Australia
posts: 6,580
reviews: 59
17. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

It would be ironic if our enthusiasm for the Nation's capital put you off visiting at all!

I don't know the actually itinerary of your day tour, but if you're into politics I would definitely go. Probably a long day, but better than missing it altogether. And though the tour might not have as much time as you could use at some stops, you would no doubt get a lot of great info in the commentary along the way.

Edmonton, Canada
posts: 42
reviews: 96
18. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

Good point. Would be amusing to take a tour of the Australian parliament even though I haven't taken one in my own (Canadian parliament)

Sydney Australia
posts: 6,580
reviews: 59
19. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

and you know, what I've found from my own (limited) travels outside my own country is that when you do have a look around at home when you get back, you see things much better than when you'd never looked elsewhere. I always find the differences very interesting. Then its interesting to discover why the different countries have chosen slightly different approaches. Doesn't really matter which you do first.

I recently read a very interesting book you might enjoy. Its called "The Scottish Enlightenment: The Scots' Invention of the Modern World" by Arthur Herman. It tells a fascinating story of the great Scottish philosophers and their influence down through generations into the Scottish diaspora right across the world and the influence this had on the political systems world wide. Here in Australia of course Lachlan Macquarie had a very powerful influence bringing the enlightened approach of the Scots to transform a penal colony to the foundations of a modern nation, but it tells about influences all over the place. Really interesting reading if you're interested in politics I should think

20. Re: Worth a Day Trip?

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