The capitals of Australia and New Zealand both have so much to offer visitors, including incredible city escapes, world-class dining and spectacular natural wonders.
And because you can fly on Singapore Airlines to Wellington via Canberra, and therefore get to enjoy both capitals in one trip, we’ve compiled this feature to highlight the best that each city has to offer.
Even though the modern city of Canberra is relatively young when compared to other major cities in Australia, the capital city has an interesting history and offers much in the way of cultural and natural attractions. When Canberra was founded as the Australian capital in the first half of the twentieth century, a great deal of thought and planning took place.
The result of this careful city planning is an abundance of things to entice every traveller, whether nature lover, museum addict or both. Australia’s premier museums and art galleries can all be found within Canberra’s city limits. These include the National Museum of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia and the fascinating, fun and interactive Questacon (the national science and technology centre). These, as well as the other Canberra cultural highlights (like the Australian War Memorial; above), offer a rich insight into the country’s past, present and indeed future.
For those who prefer the outdoors and more botanically inclined things to do and see, Canberra will certainly not disappoint. Some of the city’s best points of interest for nature lovers would include Lake Burley Griffin (above), the beautiful man-made lake around which the capital is centred, the National Arboretum and John Knight Memorial Park, a 12ha park complete with picnic and barbecue areas, fitness facilities and a playground for kids of all ages to enjoy. An additional must-see Canberra attraction that beautifully marries Australian culture and nature is the iconic Anzac Parade – the perfectly manicured tree-lined thoroughfare that’s Australia’s answer to the famous National Mall in Washington D.C.
Situated on the southwestern tip of New Zealand’s North Island, Wellington has been the Kiwi capital since 1865, having usurped that spot from Auckland. Famed for its harbour and surrounding hilly terrain, Wellington is an undeniably picturesque city.
With such abundant beauty in and around the Kiwi capital, there’s no shortage of attractions to keep tourists occupied. A trip to the Mount Victoria Lookout (above), which sits at some 196m above the city, is an absolute must for first-time visitors. Once at the lookout point, you’ll be rewarded with unending, postcard-worthy views of the city, harbour and their rolling hill backdrop. Access to the lookout is by car, on foot, or bike, through the beautifully green Town Belt, a series of tree-lined park spaces in and around the city centre.
Another of Wellington’s most popular tourist attractions, the Wellington Cable Car transports passengers from downtown Wellington up towards the leafy suburb of Kelburn and the Wellington Botanic Garden, which is a lush garden filled with 26ha of magnificent views, native flora and zen-inducing garden walks and trails.
Other Wellington attractions that should be incorporated into any visit: The Harbourside Market (above), for fresh produce, delicious local breakfast and lunch options, and a host of other artisanal food products. There are excellent beach destinations, such as the centrally located Oriental Bay, the strikingly beautiful Scorching Bay and Lyall Bay, the city’s most popular surfing hotspot.