- 호주 캔버라
Welcome to Canberra, the ‘Bush Capital’. Being the capital city of Australia, Canberra is a small city of 400,000 people surrounded by nature reserves, low mountains, and sparse woodlands (otherwise known as ‘the bush’ in Australia), hence the name ‘Bush Capital’. The most popular story behind how the city got its name claims that it came from Kambera or Canberry, which is claimed to mean "meeting place" in Ngunnawal, one of the Indigenous languages spoken in the region by Aboriginal Australians before European settlers arrived. Unlike many other capital cities, Canberra is sparsely populated, young, and with lots of green in and around the city. The proximity to nature is one of the many reasons Canberrans and visitors love the city.
Get Intimate with Nature
A short five-minute drive away from the central business district (Civic) is the Black Mountain where the Australian National Botanic Gardens are located at its foothill. At the botanic gardens not only you can see exotic trees, shrubs, and flowers that are unique to Australia, but also enjoy a cup of tea or coffee in the cafe surrounded by these plants. There is also a spa centre in the gardens where you can enjoy relaxing massages and spa treatments. If you are the sporty kind, you may follow the trail and hike from the gardens to the peak of Black Mountain where Teltra Tower is located. You may also bump into families of kangaroos and wallabies on your way. The viewing deck of the Teltra tower is one of the best places in Canberra to get a view of the center of the city.
If you do not mind driving a bit more, a one-hour drive south from the Civic gets you to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, where you can do some bush-walking and encounter mobs of kangaroos (a group of kangaroos is called a ‘mob’). If you are lucky and stay quiet enough you may be able to see platypuses, an egg-laying, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal, in one of the ponds. The platypus was once thought of by European scientists as a hoax made of several animals sewn together!
Meet Multitudes of Cultures
Back to the city, on the other side of Civic is the man-made Lake Burley Griffin which separates Canberra into North and South. On the shores of the lake are a multitude of parks linked up by trails where locals and visitors enjoy picnics, jogging, cycling, or sometimes special events held in these parks. The most popular events are the Floriade Flower and Entertainment Exhibition in spring (September/October), and the ‘Enlighten’ Light Art Festival in autumn (March) every year. If you visit Canberra during winter (June to August), you may also catch the chance to take a ride on a hot-air balloon! At one section, the shores of the lake cross the Anzac Parade which leads to the National War Memorial. This is where the Anzac Day dawn service is held every year on April 25 to commemorate those who sacrificed themselves in defence of the country. The memorial is one of the best museums in Australia and an excellent place to learn more about Australian history, especially to those who are interested in military history.
Looking straight from the front gate of the National War Memorial across the red Anzac Parade and Lake Burley Griffin is the political center of Australia, the Parliament of Australia and the Old Parliament House of Australia which was converted into the Museum of Australian Democracy. The National War Memorial, the Old Parliament House and the current Parliament of Australia sits on a straight line and was deliberately made so when the city was being designed in the early 20th century. The Museum of Australian Democracy is not only another excellent place to learn more about Australian history, but you can also go into the meeting chambers and sit at where government ministers, the Speakers, and the Queen used to sit.
Indulge Your Inner Foodie
The area around the Parliament is dotted by embassies and diplomatic missions from countries all over the world. For those who are interested in the multitude of cultures, the various embassies in Canberra regularly organize joint open-days where people can visit and try the countries’ cuisines together with their traditional national performances and arts on display. Many of these buildings are built to reflect their traditional national architectural styles such as the Korean Embassy, the High Commission of Papua New Guinea, and the Thai Embassy. The public are often invited to join the regular cultural activities, performances, and dinners organized by the diplomatic missions in Canberra. The many student bodies in the Australian National University (ANU), situated near Civic, also regularly organize cultural events and performances that are open to the public, making ANU not only a place of higher learning and world-class research but also a vibrant community that is eager to share and welcoming to visitors.
Even if you are not a fan of nature and cultural activities, you would certainly appreciate the diversity of cuisine you can enjoy in Canberra. Despite its small population, Canberra is surprisingly multicultural, and one up-side of being multi-cultural is the many different tastes and delicacies that comes with it. Within a 10-minute walk radius from the Civic, you can find restaurants, food trucks, and food courts serving cuisines of Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Burma, Ethiopia, Italy, Mexico, and India. If you do not mind venturing into the suburbs you will also find cuisines from the Philippines, Nepal, Greece, and Turkey, and many more. Once you are done filling up your stomach with food, you can walk over to one of the Irish pubs to continue with a drink or two with your friends. Canberra is also filled with a variety of independent cafes and coffee shops where you can get all-day-breakfast, each offering a different culinary experience for foodies. You can often see long queues outside these cafes on Saturday mornings when families and friends are trying to get avocado toasts or eggs benedicts for brunch.
If you are looking for a place to visit where you can quench your thirst for intimacy with nature, explore new cultural experiences, and fill your palate with multinational delicacies, may I suggest you to meet them in the Bush Capital for your next trip? Let us meet in Canberra!
By Brian Li, Ph.D. Student, Dept. of Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology
Brian Li 고고인류학과 박사과정 firstname.lastname@example.org