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National Museum of Australia

Explore the vast collection of Aboriginal art and artifacts, learn about the country’s colonial past, and see maps, vehicles, weapons and jewelry. 

The National Museum of Australia documents and interprets the country’s history. It occupies an enormous multicoloured building designed to reflect the different stories of Australia’s past and present. The museum holds thousands of items across dozens of exhibits. They cover everything from Aboriginal history to gold mining, immigration and industrial growth. 

The indigenous halls have artifacts from Aboriginal communities across the country. There are stone tools from past millennia, shields, boomerangs and carved axes. You’ll also see famous artworks from the Papunya region, goods exchanged between European settlers and native people and significant items from recent indigenous history.

In the exhibits documenting the exploration of Australia you’ll get to look at maps from the time when there was only speculation about a southern continent. See a cannon thrown overboard from Captain Cook’s ship in the 18th century and read up on inland expeditions. 

Check out the huge range of colonial artifacts, including convict tokens, old furniture and weapons. There are gems like a document written by infamous highwayman Ned Kelly and the last pair of dueling pistols ever used in the country. 

The agriculture and environment sections feature exhibits about rural life, while the country’s engineering feats are on show in the industrial galleries. The museum is also home to a great collection of vintage cars and one of the world’s oldest functioning paddle steamers. Take a break in the Garden of Australian Dreams, a garden built around a massive, to-scale map of a region in Central Australia. 

History buffs should attend one of the frequent lecture series or a special exhibition. Check the museum’s website for details. 

The National Museum of Australia is on the Acton Peninsular, about 1.5 miles (two kilometers) southwest from Canberra’s central business district. It’s open every day except Christmas Day. Admission is free, and guided tours are available for a small fee. There is free parking on-site for four hours. ACTION buses from Canberra’s central business district service the museum.


Guide to Exploring National Museum of Australia


Top Hotel Deals

See all 294 Properties near National Museum of Australia
Crowne Plaza Canberra £78
Crowne Plaza Canberra

Crowne Plaza Canberra

1 Binara Street, Canberra, ACT
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Canberra City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Glebe Park and National Convention Centre. Canberra Centre and Commonwealth Park are also within 15 minutes.

    Novotel Canberra £76
    Novotel Canberra

    Novotel Canberra

    65 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra, ACT
       
      4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Canberra City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Canberra Museum and Gallery and Canberra Centre. Australian National University and National Convention Centre are also within 15 minutes.

      Hyatt Hotel Canberra - a Park Hyatt £141
      Hyatt Hotel Canberra - a Park Hyatt

      Hyatt Hotel Canberra - a Park Hyatt

      Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla, ACT
         
        5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Capital Hill, this luxury hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Albert Hall, National Gallery of Australia and Parliament House. Commonwealth Park and National Convention Centre are also within 2 miles (3 km).

        Deco Hotel £76
        Deco Hotel

        Deco Hotel

        214 Northbourne Avenue, Braddon, ACT
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Braddon, this hotel is within 2 miles (3 km) of Canberra Museum and Gallery, Canberra Centre and Australian National University. National Convention Centre and Australian War Memorial are also within 2 miles (3 km).

          Avenue Hotel Canberra £92
          Avenue Hotel Canberra

          Avenue Hotel Canberra

          80 Northbourne Avenue, Braddon, ACT
             
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Canberra City Centre, this luxury hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Canberra Museum and Gallery, Australian War Memorial and Australian National Botanic Gardens. National Museum of Australia and Questacon (National Science and Technology Centre) are also within 3 mi (5 km).

            Little National Hotel Canberra £74
            Little National Hotel Canberra

            Little National Hotel Canberra

            21 National Circuit, Barton, ACT
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Capital Hill, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of National Archives of Australia, National Gallery of Australia and Parliament House. Commonwealth Park and National Convention Centre are also within 3 miles (5 km). Kingston Canberra Station is 26 minutes by foot.

              Burbury Hotel & Apartments £87
              Burbury Hotel & Apartments

              Burbury Hotel & Apartments

              1 Burbury Close, Canberra, Barton, ACT
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Capital Hill, this luxury hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Manuka Oval, Parliament House and National Gallery of Australia. Commonwealth Park and National Convention Centre are also within 3 miles (5 km). Kingston Canberra Station is 26 minutes by foot.

                Pacific Suites Canberra £94
                Pacific Suites Canberra

                Pacific Suites Canberra

                100 Northbourne Avenue, Braddon, ACT
                   
                  4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Canberra City Centre, this aparthotel is within a 15-minute walk of Canberra Museum and Gallery and Canberra Centre. Australian National University and National Convention Centre are also within 1 mile (2 km).