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Lately Canberra has been staking a claim for the title of Australia's coolest city – and we’re not just talking winter temperatures. Where else can you find superb dining and world-class cultural experiences only a short stroll from wildlife-filled bushland reserves and serene lakeshore views?

Since becoming the nation's capital in 1927, Canberra has grown into a cosmopolitan metropolis, with expansive open spaces interspersed by dense pockets of urban activity. Some of the nation's best art galleries are here, and there's plenty of history too, both past and in the making – visitors can see Australian democracy in action at Parliament House before exploring its bygone days at some of the city's many museums. Dining and nightlife opportunities abound, with Canberra's scene rivalling those of its larger neighbours.

Whether you're just here for the weekend or have a bit more time to spare, there's plenty to keep visitors occupied in the nation's capital.

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Canberra, Australia: nature & culture in the capital