Australian Parliament House

Top choice notable building in Parkes & Barton
Image by Andrew Watson / Getty Images

Built in 1988, Australia's national parliament building is a graceful and deeply symbolic piece of architecture. Sitting atop Capital Hill, the building is crossed by two axes, north–south and east–west, representing the historical progression and legislative progression of Australian democracy. There's plenty to see inside, whether the politicians are haranguing each other in the chambers or not.

Visitors are free to explore large sections of the building and watch parliamentary proceedings from the public galleries. The only time that tickets are required is for the high theatre of Question Time in the House of Representatives (2pm on sitting days); tickets are free but must be booked through the Serjeant-at-Arms. See the website for a calendar of sitting days.

Free guided tours (40 minutes) depart from the desk in the foyer at 9.30am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm and 3.30pm. We highly recommend the one-hour 'Behind the Scenes' tour ($15, 10am, noon and 3pm, outside parliamentary sitting weeks), which gives a more intimate look into the machinations of Australian democracy.