Canberra is the purpose built capital cityof Australia, located in the Australian Capital Territory in the south-east of New South Wales.
It is a planned city, with national monuments, museums, and galleries all built around largeman-made lakes.
A bush capital – Canberra is also a great place to enjoy the outdoors,with excellent cycling, gardens, parks, bushwalking and nature reserves.
Canberra was established in 1913 as the capitalfor the newly federated Australian nation – this brought the rivalry between Sydneyand Melbourne for national capital status to an end, after Melbourne had been the capitalfor the previous 12 years.
The Australian Capital Territory was excised from New SouthWales, and put under the control of the federal government.
The artificial creation of thecity was not without critics – cynics have said that it was a "waste of a good sheeppasture".
Canberra is a highly planned city, its primarydesign conceived by the American architect Walter Burley Griffin, built on the shoresof an artificial lake (Lake Burley Griffin).
Populated at first largely by politiciansand public servants, it took time to develop its own identity and culture.
Extensive buildingof national facilities and a concerted effort to develop public institutions in the cityhave made it an interesting destination.
Lake Burley Griffin divides central Canberra.
The central shopping and commercial area, known as "Civic", on the north side and theparliamentary triangle and embassy area is on the south side.
National institutions arelikewise divided, examples being the National Museum of Australia and the Australian WarMemorial on the north side and the National Library and National Gallery of Australiaon the south side.
There are suburbs surrounding central Canberra,and also suburbs surrounding several outlying town centres.
These town centres are, Belconnenand Gungahlin to the north, and Molonglo Valley, Tuggeranong and Woden to the south.
The AustralianCapital Territory also has surrounding towns, such as Murrumbateman, which boasts a strongcool climate wine selection.
The historic villages of Hall and Tharwa are also on theoutskirts of Canberra.
Many people who live in Canberra are not originallyfrom Canberra, having usually moved there to study or take up employment with the AustralianGovernment.
A common pattern is that people from other parts of Australia move to Canberra,study or work for a few years and then return to their place of origin or move on to elsewhere.
As this means a constant influx of new arrivals to Canberra, you should not be reluctant toask for directions and the like from locals – they are more than used to it and usuallyonly too happy to help.