500 free weekends in Canberra

This is not some half-assed marketing ploy. It’s not spam or a load of hot air. It’s the real deal. Australian Capital Territory’s tourism team have come up with a stunning idea to attract visitors to Canberra.  The $A1 million campaign is considered a world first, and offers 500 people (and their families)  a free holiday to the capital on the condition they promote the city on social media. It’s called the Human Brochure.

Hot air ballooning over Canberra is one of the adventures offered. That’s parliament to the left.

These days almost everyone is a citizen journalist – because almost everyone has an opinion and a computer – so that’s not going to be hard.  There are four itineraries on offer focusing on arts and culture, food and wine, family fun, and adventure. The application form asks for details (but not passwords!) of entrants’ Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Foursquare accounts, how often they use them and what they use them for. A panel of judges will choose the winners. Applications close September 21.

The experiences are being offered over two weekends – October 26-27, 2012, and February 15-17, 2013, – ahead of Canberra’s centenary next year.

If you’re reading this from outside Australia:

  • Canberra is our capital city where Parliament is held
  • Built in the early 1900s, Canberra was planned by American architect, Walter Burley Griffin, who won an international competition to design the city. His plan focused on geometrical, circular patterns and incorporating Australia’s natural landscape
  • 280km south west of Sydney and 660km north east of Melbourne, but has no international airport, although domestic flights are frequent
  • With a population of 358,000, it is Australia’s largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall
  • It used to be known as bureaucratic and dull but it’s actually chock full of highly-educated people who love art, culture, food, wine and outdoorsy type adventures
  • Canberra visitors and locals relish in spectacular exhibitions held at Canberra’s National Gallery of Australia, the National Museum of Australia and the National Library of Australia
  • If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, Canberra offers both five-star accommodation and affordable hotels, as well as backpackers. When you arrive in Canberra, you can use public transport, hire a car or walk to explore the national treasures
  • Canberra is known as Australia’s bush capital due to the large amount of natural vegetation in and around the city, which flourishes in Canberra weather. One of Canberra’s main natural attractions is the Floriade festival, Australia’s biggest flower festival, a colourful celebration of flowers held each spring.

More Taste for Travel stories on Canberra and the surrounding region:

Pastries from Silo Bakery, Canberra’s legendary cafe

Capital spot for a smart tart – the best cafe in Australia


Award-winning winemaker Tim Kirk at his Clonakilla cellar door

The wine circuit known as The Poacher’s Way

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