Do you live in Australia or are you just a tourist visiting this country? Have you thought of visiting the Parliament House? The Parliament House is the meeting place for the Parliament of Australia. Its unprecedented blend of fascinating and impressive architecture, beautiful landscape and breathtaking art collection definitely makes the Parliament House one of the top buildings in Australia that you may want to see.
In that regard, if you want to be a part of Australia’s democracy in action, then a visit to the Parliament will offer you the unique opportunity to treat your senses. Save for Christmas, the Parliament House is open all year round to the public. Here are 10 things to know if you are planning to visit the Parliament House and remember that you can book coach hire or bus charter services with Transport Network Australia.
1. House opening hours
At the Parliament House, you are allowed to tour the building in most areas. Optionally, you could take a guided tour if you need someone to tell you more about the various locations, art and the architecture in the Parliament House. During the opening hours, you can access Parliament House every day of the year inclusive of weekends and public holidays. Christmas is the only exception that it is closed. The following show the opening hours of Parliament House:
Sitting hours: Monday and Tuesday – 9:00 a.m.
Wednesday and Thursday – 8:30 a.m.
Non-sitting days: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
2-Finding your way to the Parliament House
You have a number of options here. First, you may decide to take a taxi or cab to the Parliament House. If you prefer public transport, you can use a local bus service that will take you to the Parliament House. Most bus stops are located at the House of Representatives as well the Senate side of the Parliament building. You can also use a coach bus or minibus hire service to get to the Parliament House, especially if you are travelling in a group.
3. The Parliament House Walk
Officially opened on 21st November 2013, the Parliament House Walk links the building to the city of Canberra. It is 3.4 kilometres long, running from Jolimont Centre, which is at the city centre. In addition, it has 13 interpretive signs that give clear and elaborate information about a great deal of cultural institutions in Australia, not to mention the history of the Parliament Triangle. If you are looking for a perfect way to take a picturesque walk through central Canberra, the Parliament House Walk will make your jaunting particularly easy and fascinating.
4. Parking services
At the Parliament House, you will find an underground car park that serves the purpose of a visitor’s car park. According to the new management, you can park your car freely if you visit during the weekends, public holiday and within the first two hours of weekdays – that is if you decide to hire a self-driven car. Parking your car during other days will require you to pay parking fees. Incidentally, on parliamentary seating days, visitors will get limited time for car park. Moreover, in the event of big events such as official visits and functions, you are likely to experience a delay when trying to access the car park.
5. Checking out the galleries
In the parliament, there are the House of Representatives and the House of Senate. Visitors are allowed to view the proceedings of these two parliament houses from the Public Galleries in the Chambers at any time when either of the Houses is in session. When the parliament is out of session and open, visitors can visit the Public Galleries at their own leisure.
6. Asking questions in the Parliament
The inquisitive nature of human beings actually necessitates the need for a session where visitors can ask anything about the parliament or the nation that is on their mind. If you are one of the curious people with burning questions, you can go ahead and book for a question session that is offered at the parliament. Once you book for the question session, you will have to wait for the tickets which you are supposed to pick at around 1 p.m. in the afternoon. The tickets are collected at the Cloak Room that is on the first floor just about the House of Representatives Chamber. For question sessions at the senate, booking is not necessary.
7. Lounging at Queen’s Terrace Café
After the whole excursion, you will probably be tired and hungry from all the walking around the Parliament. The right place for you to feel recharged is at Queen’s Terrace Café where you will find scrumptious meals and snacks to restore your full energy. Apart from offering you great meals, Queen’s Terrace Café is also an ideal place to take a break and simply chill out. Once you have had enough rest, you may want to take a magnificent view of Canberra North, East or South offered Queen’s Terrace.
8. Taking a guided tour
There is no better way to explore this iconic building than using the aid of a tour guide. You will not only be able to learn about the history of Australian Parliament but also get around the whole Parliament House in an efficient manner as compared to touring the place on your own. Tour guides know the entire building very well and get facilitate a great flow during the tour.
9. Parliament Shop
On a different note, you can also access the Parliament Shop which offers a wide display of gifts that include coffee mugs (with the Prime Minister), amazing and unique samples of timber marquetry for the building’s architectural art. Furthermore, you can get political-themed books from the shop if you love reading about politics.
10. Venue hire
Parliament House has 14 versatile event spaces that you can hire for any event. Under the Management of Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG), these private areas go a long way to cater for your event needs particularly in terms of size. Ranging from romantic dinners for up to 20 guests to cocktail parties for nearly a thousand people, these event areas will certainly not disappoint you!