A local’s guide to Canberra, Australia

LESLEY EMERSON, passenger sales executive at Singapore Airlines’ Canberra office, shares the buzz on Australia’s scenic capital, from indie boutiques to vibrant festivals.

ART, SCIENCE, HISTORY

Some may think this cliched, but a trip to Australia’s capital is not complete without a visit to Parliament House (above). Used by politicians today, it’s an impressive building with fantastic art.

Besides stately government buildings, Canberra is also home to one of the country’s largest art museums, the National Gallery of Australia (below). It houses paintings by Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.

If you’re after fun for the whole family, head to the sprawling Questacon. This science museum offers more than 200 educational and interactive exhibits.

TIP-TOP VIEWS

Standing at 195m high, on the summit of Black Mountain, Telstra Tower is the place to go for 360-degree views of the city. There are walking tracks to the mountain peak, but you can also catch a bus there.

SEE ALSO: Sky high views

BALLOONS AND BLOOMS

Held annually in March, Canberra Balloon Spectacular (above) is one of the biggest hot-air ballooning events in the world. Indulge in a champagne breakfast while floating over picturesque sites.

In spring, don’t miss Floriade, Canberra’s famous flower festival (September 17 to October 16). See thousands of tulips (below), roses and daisies at this event, which also features live performances and workshops.

WATERING HOLES

Join the locals for a drink at one of the city’s laid- back pubs. Walt & Burley, a great venue at Kingston Foreshore, has a lovely view of the lake and an interesting range of beers on tap.

The Civic Pub is one of my favourite watering holes in the city. An old-fashioned joint, it’s famous for its games of pool. On balmy Friday afternoons, you can find me welcoming the weekend at Speaker’s Corner Bar in Hyatt Hotel Canberra. Sophisticated and relaxing, it has a courtyard and live jazz.