Lake, Australian Capital Territory
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Lake, Australian Capital Territory

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Australian Capital Territory Travel Guide

Key Facts

2,358 sq km (910 sq miles).


412,576 (2019).

Population density

151.49 per sq km.


Canberra (also national capital).

It might be a mere crumb of land on the map, but the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) – as its grand name suggests – gives home to Canberra, the nation's pristine capital. Rarely seen as a standalone travel destination, the city itself retains its own distinct atmosphere, having evolved from a quiet bush-land home for bureaucrats and politicians to a modern and vibrant hub, offering stunning cuisine, strong arts venues and an active student population.

As befitting its status, the city is filled with cultural experiences, including world-renowned museums and galleries. Highlights for Canberra visitors include the National Gallery, the Australian War Memorial and Questacon, the national science and technology centre. You’ll also find some great places to try the cool-climate wines that the ACT is becoming known for.

Canberra accounts for a healthy swathe of the ACT, but the territory also finds space to accommodate the natural beauty of the Namadgi National Park. In the summer, the park offers a spectacular array of bushwalks that meander through its lush flora and fauna. In the winter the Bimberi and Brindabella Ranges receive a dusting of picturesque snow.

Incongruously, perhaps, other local attractions include the large satellite dishes at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, which is set in foothills southwest of the city. They’re still used to provide two-way support for spacecraft in orbit and are one of only three such systems in the world.

The ACT is surrounded on all sides by New South Wales and draws little in the way of tourist attention, but for those who decide to pay a visit, it can offer far more than its rather staid image might suggest. Small it might be, but it’s more than just a geographical curio.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.