Trip Planner: South Pacific / Australia / Australian Capital Territory / Canberra / Old Parliament House
Built in the 1920s, Old Parliament House is a beautiful national heritage-listed building and a treasured icon. Every part of the building tells a story. Today, it is home to the Museum of Australian Democracy unpacking the secret of our greatest national success story. The story of Australia’s democracy, what it is now, how it got to be this way and what it might become in the future is told in bold and arresting fashion through a range of engaging exhibitions, family activities, tours and events. Inside Old Parliament House is also the Terrace Café and Hoi Polloi restaurant. Take a look at our Canberra driving holiday tool to schedule your visit to Old Parliament House and learn about what else to see and do during your holiday.
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Old Parliament House reviews
Fantastic! So interesting. Walk the halls of former governments with an interesting take on history! Really enjoyed this. more »
This was better than I expected. Maybe it is my generation (late 50’s) but I was engrossed by the history to explore. So much to read and watch. Displays and exhibitions are really well done. So much.... more »
It a number of years since I have had the pleasure of visiting Canberra and specifically the old Parliament House. To anyone visiting our Nations' Capital this political monument is a must see and... more »
Wonderful historic building preserved like a movie set of 1960s Australian politics. Some fun interactive bits mixed in for kids, and other interesting exhibits and tour opportunities for those who want to spend more time. Situated on well-appointed grounds with some amazing views of the lake and war memorial.
This building and surrounding areas used to be the head of Australia, where all the big decisions were made. It was built initially on the bottom of Capital Hill because it was intended for the public to always be above the government, representing Australia’s open democracy. This was until the government decided to built the new and improved Parliament House on the top of the hill. The inside is very pleasant and reminiscent of Cold War-era government architecture (e.g Kremlin). There is a cafe and restaurant located inside, as well as a very nice and expansive garden outside the building. Definitely a recommended place to visit if you’re in Canberra and studying politics.
My 3 year old and i love exploring old parliament house, especially Play Up! A purpose built area for children. It's a very welcoming space! Staff are all lovely and very relaxed with children exploring. The cafe also makes great coffee, very impressed they have lactose free milk!
This place is really good if you're interested in learning something about australian democracy. I joined a guided tour and the guide was very friendly and didn't mind that I asked a lot of extra questions. It also has a less touristy feel, than the war memorial or the other museums I went to in Canberra.
We took the guided tour and our tour guide made this a great stop. He had interesting little bits and pieces to add and was able to tailor the tour to the people in the group. If you are thinking of coming here I would say take the guided tour for the extras that you will get. Hopefully you will get Murray like we did. Just a note that the first room is difficult to hear in because of echo and other things going on but the rest of the tour is easy to hear.
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