A Weekend in Canberra
When was the last time you were in Canberra?
Having recently been named in the top 20 best places to visit by Lonely Planet, there’s no better time to plan a trip or explore the nation’s capital through fresh eyes.
There are a multitude of options for a range of holiday styles – from award-winning restaurants and fresh produce, to shopping for the latest fashion and finding secondhand gems, to exploring the many walking trails and taking in the views of the ‘bush capital’. You may need multiple weekends to discover it all. We’ve put together a suggested itinerary for your next visit. We promise by the end of your trip, you’ll be packing to move here permanently.
Start your day in Braddon for the incredible shopping and food on offer. Enjoy a coffee at Lonsdale Street Roasters and a bite at Sweet Bones, a vegan café that will blow your mind. Head to Rebel Muse for a shop through the latest designer trends or hit up secondhand store ADRA which is full of vintage goods. If the outdoors is for you, get your hiking shoes on and head up Mt Ainslie. The walk takes about an hour return and the views at the top are breathtaking. Book yourself a night at Hotel Hotel, one of Canberra’s most contemporary places to stay and enjoy a few cocktails at Monster Bar. If you’re pining for some good old-fashioned home cuisine, head to Chez Frederick in Braddon to feel like you’re back at the family dinner table.
Couples can choose to relax and unwind or to get out and explore. New Acton is a great place to start, taking in the stunning architecture and incredible restaurants. Stop off at Mocan and Green Grout for a homemade bagel and coffee. Follow brunch with a walk or hire a segway around Lake Burley Griffin, before heading to the National Gallery of Australia to catch one of the amazing exhibitions on display. Head past the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets for all your picnic needs – think French cheese, organic wines, Italian meats and Australian fruits. Lunch can be enjoyed on the lake, via GoBoat where you can hire a self-drive, sustainable, electric picnic boat. Attached to the iconic National Zoo and Aquarium, Jamala Wildlife Lodge boasts an unforgettable experience where you can enjoy close encounters with some of the world’s most dangerous and endangered animals, all from the comfort of your living room or bath.
Pialligo Estate is the best place to start for a paddock-to-plate style breakfast. Not only is the food amazing but the view is second to none. Enjoy locally smoked meats and hand-crafted wines – don’t forget to purchase some extra goodies to take home with you. After lunch you can relax on the bean bags out on the lawn while playing an oversized game of connect four. Put your friendships to the test at the Riddle Room, an interactive
series of puzzles to solve using only the items in your room, progressing through the story to find your way out. Celebrate your victory with a night out on the town. We would recommend QT hotel for some quirky fun and to get ready for the night. Book your banquet dinner at Lazy Su to feast on contemporary Korean (cheeseburger spring rolls = essential) and some delicious cocktails. Wander down the street to dance the night away at Kokomos while enjoying the tropical setting and creative cocktails, or head to 88 mph in Hobart Place if the 80s are more your style.
Need to keep the children entertained? Questacon is an old favourite and with the ever-changing exhibitions it’s a fantastic and educational source of entertainment for people of all ages. Just up the road, the National Gallery of Australia offers an interactive kids area where they can play with art, colour and technology. For lunch, head over to Braddon and visit Grease Monkey or Catch for a delicious burger or fresh fish and chips that will make you feel like you’re by the sea. With any remaining energy, the Arboretum offers spectacular views and an amazing playground for the kids – pack a picnic and watch the sun set over Canberra. If you’ve got your own wheels for the weekend, head to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve to see koalas, wallabies, kangaroos and platypuses all in their natural environment. You can do a guided tour or go at your own pace.
Words by Caitlin Judd