Floriade, a tulip festival in Canberra

Canberra….the nation’s capital.  Apparently it was created because Melbourne and Sydney couldn’t agree on which should be the capital.  So they made a new city and stuck it in the middle of nowhere…or so it seemed to me.

This was not my first visit, or even my second, but it was the first time that I had visited the famous Floriade.  It’s a festival and celebration of spring, so I thought it sounded pretty cool.  Celebrating the end of winter, the fields are planted with tulips, and by the time I got there it was spectacular.

What I hadn’t anticipated was that given it was the 28th year, it would be packed!  Despite the crush of people, it was a really beautiful place to be and to enjoy. The tulips were blooming, and as far as the eye could see there was a blaze of colour. It was the kind of place where it was easy to tune out the crowds and appreciate the beauty.

There are so many other things to see and do in Canberra.  On previous visits I had been to the National War Museum, the Parliament buildings and the Portrait Gallery (all fantastic), so this time I was keen to cover some new ground.

I stayed at the QT, which is in New Acton, bursting with cool hip hotels and eateries.  For me though, the real draw card of staying here was being so close to Lake Burley Griffin.  It’s hard to believe that it’s an artificial lake, because it’s huge.  It’s a fantastic space, and early in the morning before the heat of the day, I went for a run feeling envious that Canberrans (is that what they’re called?) have this on their doorstep.

I also explored the Old Parliament Buildings, which was absolutely fascinating.  As an ex-Parliamentary worker from New Zealand, this was always going to be interesting for me!  Then I walked to the Museum.  You could spend hours here, but I highly recommend one of the tours, which gave me a really good sense of everything that was on offer, and gave a great potted history of Australia.  The guide was great – he made it really interesting and told some fantastic stories which brought it to life.

They say Canberra is finally becoming cool – not sure who dishes out these awards, but I had a great weekend there and I would recommend it to anyone!


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