26 September 2023

Stunning autumn experiences in the nation’s capital

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By Rama Gaind.

The National Arboretum Canberra has more than 44,000 rare and endangered trees across a 250-hectare site. It’s a place of beauty, conservation, scientific research, education, tourism and recreation.

Autumn has crept up on us, and although it’s more the season of the soul, than nature, we can also look on it as a second spring — when every leaf is a multi-coloured flower.

It’s not a time to be gloomy as the world around us — Down Under — will soon be covered in a ‘cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon’. One of the most stunning signs of autumn is the turning of the leaves as green fades and pigments of orange, yellow and vibrant red hues shine through. We need to get out and about as there’s so much to see and do.

Stroll through vistas of autumn leaves as you re-discover an extraordinarily beautiful time to visit Canberra when the stunning cityscape plunges into hues of gold, russet, ochre and crimson as the city’s exotic trees transform. Head to the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, the National Carillon or the National Arboretum to take in the kaleidoscope of colours first-hand. Attend the Capital Food & Wine Festival for a day of fun, food, wine and live music in Commonwealth Park on 9 April.

Find hope and inspiration in art at the National Gallery of Australia. Step into the urban and uncanny world of Jeffrey Smart (until 15 May), celebrate Australian women artists in ‘Know My Name’ (ends 26 June) and learn about how ‘Ceremony’ (until 31 July), for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, is at the centre of Country, culture and community.

9 to 5: The Musical is on at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney.

From Shakespeare to Winehouse, Darwin to Dickens, the Beatles, Brontë sisters and Beckham, the National Portrait Gallery, London holds the world’s most extensive collection of portraits. So no, while they undergo the largest renovation of their building in 125 years, the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra (until 17 July) is thrilled to show over 80 London treasures for an exclusive exhibition in 2022.

There’ll be fame, power, love, loss, innovation and the downright inspirational.

See famous faces from the 16th century to today. Think Mandela, Malala, Churchill, Diana, Bowie, Sheeran, Westwood and more! Then there’s iconic artists like Warhol, Hockney, Emin, van Dyck, Rubens and Freud.

Take the time to celebrate talented Australians at the National Film and Sound Archive which has curated beloved cinema moments, rare behind-the-scenes footage, and costumes of Australia’s creatives in cinema. At ‘Australians & Hollywood’ (to 17 July) learn the tales of craft, talent and ambition of famous personalities including Eric Bana, Baz Luhrmann and Nicole Kidman.

Explore dozens of ancient artefacts from Greece at ‘Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes’, a major exhibition from the British Museum (until 1 May). Hosted at the National Museum of Australia, it features more than 170 objects, ceramics, sculptures, armour and jewellery that have never before toured the Southern Hemisphere.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will open at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre on
4 May.

Celebrate the region’s history with the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival (9 April-1 May). Marvel at sunflowers and starry nights at ‘Van Gogh Alive’ (until 10 April). Enjoy live music at the National Folk Festival (14-18 April) and the Canberra International Music Festival (29 April-8 May). Be amazed by ‘SIX the Musical’ (23 April-15 May), an original, witty, pop-fuelled musical that remixes the history of the six wives of Henry VIII.

Musical theatre

Head interstate for a melodious break. See 9 to 5: The Musical, based on the 1980 film of the same name, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. It really is the quintessential feel-good show for the times. Full of mischief, laughter and affection, it’s gold carat fun!

London’s smash-hit West End musical is playing for a limited season at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney.

For something different, it’s time to believe in magic again with the brand new production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which opens at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre on 4 May. It is the most awarded production in the history of Britain’s Olivier Awards, winning a record breaking nine awards including Best New Play and Best Director. The play has also won six Tony Awards on Broadway, including Best Play.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical! opens at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre on 28 May.

You will be able to enjoy the continuation of Harry’s story, as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child welcomes you back to Hogwarts.

Late next month, prepare to be dazzled as you get the chance to enter a world of glitz, glamour, splendour, romance, eye-popping excess, grandeur and glory. It’s a world where Bohemians and aristocrats rub elbows and revel in electrifying enchantment. Moulin Rouge! The Musical! opens at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre on 28 May.

Winner of 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Baz Luhrmann’s revolutionary film comes to life on stage, remixed in a new musical mash-up extravaganza featuring over 70 songs including many of the iconic hits from the movie, as well as additions from Adele, Katy Perry, Sia, Beyonce, Rihanna and more.

A theatrical celebration of truth, beauty, freedom, and — above all — love, Moulin Rouge! is more than a musical … it is a state of mind.

It was F. Scott Fitzgerald, American novelist, essayist, short story writer and screenwriter, who had this to say in The Great Gatsby: “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”






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