The Localist

A Little Touch of Japan In Australia’s Capital

It’s no surprise that many people are often under the impression that Sydney is Australia’s capital city. It has a vibrant buzz that makes it the ultimate destination, from the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge to the famous Darling Harbor with great alfresco dining choices. Tourists also flock to Sydney to enjoy some fun in the sun, given its countless idyllic beaches.

But Sydney is no capital city.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is Australia’s smallest territory and has one major city – Australia’s capital city – Canberra. Canberra’s location puts it at the heart of the prosperous south-east of Australia, close to major agricultural and commercial centres. The city is 150 kilometres inland and is 281 kilometres from Sydney, which is approximately a 3-hour drive, and quite scenic one at that.

Now whilst many travel guides on Canberra will point you in the direction of the Australian Parliament House and the various interesting museums and war memorials, I want to take you on a different kind of adventure…I want you to explore the clean, green and wide open spaces of Australia’s capital city.

One of my favorite spots in all of Canberra is the Japanese Gardens. Snuggled against Lake Burley-Griffin, it’s a perfect place to picnic in Spring and Summer surrounded by lush cherry blossoms covering the length and breadth of the garden.

A stroll through the park will quickly show that it is the perfect place for people of all walks of life. You will see families enjoying picnics, young children playing with a ball or Frisbee, couples walking their dogs by the lake, and every so often a cyclist will zoom past.

In the very centre of the park you’ll find a large stone lantern that casts a shadow over the adjacent Lake Burley-Griffin. Here you can also learn a little about the history of the park. I’ll leave that for you to discover.

And of course, there is also a beautiful Japanese style wooden gazebo where you can relax if you need a break from walking the path that leads you on a scenic stroll around the garden.

So next time you’re in Canberra, be sure to pack a picnic and head down to the Japanese Gardens, where you’ll experience a little, authentic taste of Japan in the heart of Australia’s capital.

For more things to explore in Canberra see





Images. All photos by Afiyat Mustaq.

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