Australian Museum

Lonely Planet review

This natural-history museum, established just 40 years after the First Fleet dropped anchor, strives to shrug off its museum-that-should-be-in-a-museum feel. Hence dusty taxidermy has been interspersed with video projections and a terrarium with live snakes, while dinosaur skeletons cosy up to life-size re-creations.

There are also interesting displays on extinct megafauna (giant wombats – simultaneously cuddly and terrifying), and a sad 'where are they now' exhibit featuring stuffed remains and video footage of recently extinct species.

Yet it's the most old-fashioned section that is arguably the most interesting – the large collection of crystals and precious stones. The hall of skeletons has an intriguingly bizarre tableau of a skeletal man riding a horse, and another sitting in a comfy chair next to his underfed pets. Also worthwhile is the Indigenous Australians section, covering Aboriginal history and spirituality, from Dreamtime stories to videos of the Freedom Rides of the 1960s.