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Capital gains in Canberra
The Australian War Memorial holds many artefacts. Picture: Ruari Reid

There's a lot to like about Canberra and plenty to do if your budget is tight. A visit to Parliament House is an ideal way to begin a visit.

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Once you pass through the security screening, you can take a self-guided tour to see the gardens, architecture, the public viewing galleries and artworks.

Alternatively, you can join a free guided tour which offers a more in-depth experience for approximately 45 minutes.

The National Portrait Gallery provides free entry and showcases 400 portraits of Australians who have helped shape the way we see our nation. Portraits are not limited to oil on canvas - there are watercolours, pressed tin, plaster cast and pencil to name a few.

Admission to the National Gallery is also free. The collection's 160,000 items are held in many galleries and there is something for everyone to admire, from Pollock's Blue Poles to Brancusi's Birds in Space sculptures.

Parliament House, at the heart of Canberra. Picture: Ruari Reid

The National Museum of Australia provides free entry and allows visitors to experience history through many forms of media, from sound, audio and dance. The Circa gallery is a rotating theatre that presents Australian history through photography and film. K-Space provides a DIY, build-your-own, interactive 3-D presentation of what the future may look like. The Eternity gallery showcases stories from 50 famous Australians, providing an emotional component to viewing history.

The Australian War Memorial holds so many artefacts it is possible you will need several visits to see it all. However, it is the stories attached to the displayed items that leave the most lasting impression.

Entering the Hall of Memory to see the tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a moving experience. Visiting the Roll of Honour and leaving a poppy by a name is humbling. The flower-filled walls speak plainly of the sacrifices made in defence of our nation.

Remembering the ANZACS. Picture: Ruari Reid

From the War Memorial, a walk down Anzac Parade will take you to 12 individual memorials that commemorate military conflicts in which Australians and New Zealanders have been involved. A one-hour walking tour podcast is available for free download from nationalcapital.gov.au.

For the sports-minded person the Australian Institute of Sport runs tours of the finest sporting facilities available to Australian athletes. Each tour is taken by a high-performance athlete, and includes entry to an interactive sports exhibition where you can try your hand at activities ranging from luge to rowing.

Questacon, the national version of Perth's Scitech, has more than 200 interactive exhibits in seven themed galleries, including ones for the youngest members of a family. A highlight is the freefall exhibit, where visitors don a friction suit and drop vertically from 6m - all in perfect safety.

Cockington Green is home to an amazing collection of miniature buildings and attractions from more than 30 countries, all set in manicured gardens.

A visit would not be complete without a ride on the miniature steam train.

You can buy a family pass for two adults and three children to all three of these wonderful attractions for $142 - a 15 per cent saving off individual entry costs. Search 3infun.com.au for bookings.

Canberra has something for everyone and you can experience a lot of it for free.