It may be Australia’s capital, but there’s more to Canberra than the frequent politician-sightings and Parliament House. Steeped in culture and history, Australia’s largest inland city has a smattering of everything within its geometric contours from food to art to its very own hipster underbelly. So drop the misconception that Canberra is boring, and see what is has to offer!
Here, The Carousel has prepared a list some of the top must-dos in Australia’s bush capital, along with suggestions for where you can put your feet up at the end of the day. On your marks, get set, EXPLORE!
Places to Visit
National Portrait Gallery
Set along Lake Burley Griffin, and housed in the Old Parliament House with a modern extension opened in 2008, the National Portrait Gallery is a great place to immerse yourself in Aussie history, with a collection of some 400 portraits of influential Australians from over the years. It’s also situated right next to the National Gallery of Australia, so you can easily hop from one to the other to get your art fix.
Old Bus Depot Markets
This is arguably Canberra’s best market, and the best way to spend a Sunday if you have a penchant for shopping. Set in a beautiful 1940s-era building, with stalls offering food, jewellery, homewares, art and collectibles – there’s something for everyone. Open every Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
Canberra’s restaurant scene is on the rise, and if it’s a brilliant meal or drink you’re after, Kingston Foreshore is the place to be. Newly developed and with a lakeside locale, there are endless eateries and pubs, so you can let your stomach decide. If you need to work up an appetite, head over to Rum Bar and have a cocktail as you wait.
National War Memorial
This impressive memorial is a place for quiet introspection and tranquillity. Visit the museum and galleries and take a walk through the Sculpture Garden where you’ll find the Lone Pine Tree, grown from the seeds of a pine cone sent home by an Australian soldier to his mother from Gallipoli. At the end of each day, commencing at 4.55 pm, the Memorial farewells visitors with its moving Last Post Ceremony.
The tranquil rural countryside around the ACT is home to its fair share of vineyards – 140 to be exact. With more than 33 wineries within 35 minutes of Canberra, you’re never far from that glass of vintage of your choice. Mount Majura vineyard or Brindabella Hills winery are a good place to start, but you’ll want to visit them all!
Created in the aftermath of the 2003 bush fires, this collection of threatened, rare, and symbolic trees from all over the globe includes the largest collection of cultivated Wollemi pines in the world. The Royals even paid this beautiful place a visit on their recent trip to the capital. Stroll through the Bonsai collection, and finish off with a bite at Sprout Café, or at the Conservatory Restaurant.
You can’t possibly visit Canberra without a visit to the National Science and Technology Centre. There’s heaps to see and do at the Centre, with activities for kids and exhibitions that will enthral and educate parents as well. Take a look at their website for the latest exhibitions and workshops!
For scientific-terrific ideas, see www.questacon.edu.au
Where To Stay
Rest your weary head at one of these stylin’ hotels by TFE Hotels.
Medina Serviced Apartments Canberra 3*
Located in the exclusive embassy district of Kingston, these serviced apartments are a home away from home. A pleasant walk takes you to Telopea Park, the National War Memorial, the National Portrait Gallery and Old Parliament House. Eat out at nearby Kingston Foreshore or cook in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Prices start from $170 per night
Medina Serviced Apartments Canberra, James Court 4*
Equipped with a heated spa and a gym, the Medina serviced apartments are the perfect place to relax after a day of activities. Situated close to the CBD, Capital Hill and Parliament House as well as the National Gallery, Canberra Casino, and the War Memorial, you’ll never be short of things to see and do.
Prices start from $170 per night
Hotel Kurrajong Canberra 4*
Keep an eye out for Hotel Kurrajong Canberra, a boutique, heritage listed hotel in the heart of Canberra currently undergoing refurbishment. Due to open in December, the hotel will house 143 stylishly renovated rooms, as well as four balcony suites.
Prices will start from $180 per night