The ultimate arts and culture checklist for Canberra

From impressive national art collections to intimate galleries where you can meet the makers, Canberra sure knows how to put on a show.

Get your hit of exceptional arts and culture at some of Australia’s most iconic museums and art galleries very soon when Singapore Airlines launches its direct flights to Canberra from Singapore on 20 September.

National Gallery of Australia
There are more than 160,000 works in the National Gallery of Australia’s collections, all of which belong to the Australian people. There’s something for everyone, with the permanent collections rotated regularly and outstanding, often exclusive travelling exhibitions gracing the light-filled galleries. Even if you just see the Australian works (don’t miss John Olsen’s astonishing Sydney sun), you’ve witnessed some of the creativity that has shaped the nation. But, of course, you should venture further to view Jackson Pollock’s Blue poles. Coming soon, Versailles: Treasures from the Palace, 9 December 2016 to 17 April 2017.

Canberra Glassworks
Canberra Glassworks is Australia’s only cultural centre that is wholly dedicated to contemporary glass art, with a workspace for glass artists and a gallery for those interested in the craft of working with this delicate material. Explore exhibitions in its two dedicated spaces, watch art in the making in the Hotshop, sign up for a class, or browse the shop for something to take home.

National Portrait Gallery
Considering the idea of a portrait gallery wasn’t really floated until the early 1990s, the breadth and quality of the National Portrait Gallery, which opened in 2008, is exceptional. The gallery shares the history of Australia, revealed by the people who shaped it and the artists who captured their images. One of the most popular artworks here, Howard Arkley’s portrait of musician Nick Cave, was one of the first commissioned by the gallery.

Nishi Gallery
Nishi Gallery in the creative NewActon city precinct is a blank space for artists and curators to display all types of visual art and also plays host to some performances. This contemporary gallery is nestled next to Parlour Wine Room, perfect for an alfresco drink afterward.

Craft ACT: Craft Design and Centre 
Make your way over to Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre and trawl through the unique handcrafted items on offer. Featuring products by local crafters and design artists, you’ll find only the most cutting-edge designs, located in one convenient space within Canberra’s city centre.

Australian War Memorial
A shrine and an expansive museum dedicated to the men and women who have served for our country, many people consider the Australian War Memorial to be one of the most important landmarks in Australia. In fact, it has just been named by TripAdvisor users as Australia and the South Pacific’s top landmark. Discover the stories of individuals involved in overseas conflicts and connect with events that helped to shape Australia. Don’t miss the moving Last Post each day when a different person who gave their life is remembered.

National Museum of Australia
Everything you ever wanted to know about Australia – its history, land, culture and people – is exhibited within the walls of this architecturally stunning museum. Some of the country’s most important historical collections spanning the environment, sport, Indigenous culture and fashion and are under the one roof. Check out the Phar Lap collection (the racehorse’s huge heart is on display) and wander the various galleries, expanding your knowledge at every turn. From September 2016 you can see A History of the World in 100 Objects, a ticketed exhibition featuring objects from the British Museum.

Beaver Galleries of Australia 
Once a local secret but now considered a national treasure, Beaver Galleries of Australia can be found in Deakin. Its extraordinary selection of artworks attracts visitors all year round. With a regularly changing exhibition program, four gallery spaces and a sculpture garden, you’re guaranteed to see something new each visit.

National Library of Australia
Of course there are books, but there’s so much more to Australia’s largest library. Discover what the library describes as ‘the greatest collection in the world’ relating to Australia and its people. Rare books, magazines, photographs, artworks, maps and oral history… you’ll find it all. In the Treasures Gallery you can see Captain James Cook’s Endeavour journal, an original manuscript of Waltzing Matilda and the landmark papers of Eddie Mabo.

Parliament House
This is where the decisions affecting Australia are made. Take a guided tour of the House and watch democracy in action from the public galleries when Parliament is sitting. While that’s significant in itself, this extraordinary building on Capital Hill offers much to explore and enjoy. Hanging in the Great Hall, the tapestry of an Arthur Boyd painting of eucalypts is truly magnificent. One of the largest tapestries in the world (20m x 9m), it took 14 full-time weavers at the Victorian Tapestry Workshop two years to complete it.

For more information about art experiences in Canberra go to

Canberra is an eight-hour flight away from Singapore. From September 20, Singapore Airlines will commence direct flights between Canberra and Singapore four times a week. Contact your travel agent for more details or visit For more information about Canberra,

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