Until recently, it was highly unlikely that any traveler would recommend you to visit Canberra. Australia’s capital has long been underestimated and overlooked, and even considered the least loved city. Too much bureaucracy and crowds, and too little fun and leisure, people used to say. This isn’t the case anymore, and Canberra seems to have risen from the ashes of a dull capital and turned into a vibrant travel destination where you can see and do some pretty cool things. Should you decide to spend a long weekend in Canberra, visiting these places is a must.
Australia’s capital is a treasure chest of fascinating landmarks and cultural places. Make use of affordable Canberra buses and start exploring the city. If you’re into politics, don’t miss visiting the Parliament House and get acquainted with Australia’s political system. During sitting week, you can attend Question Time, which is open for public and then visit the Museum of Australian Democracy to get thoroughly informed. If the weather is nice, the atmosphere gets heated with cocktail parties on the lawn hosted by the Parliament.
Australian War Memorial
The National Gallery of Australia is the home to some of the most renowned works of Asian and Australian art – large collections of paintings and sculptures by international artists, as well as Aboriginal masterpieces. Not far away you can find the National Portrait Gallery, where you can see the entire history of Australia represented in portraits. For those feeling nostalgic, the National Film and Sound Archive features a cinema that shows old hits of Australian cinematography. In the evening, you can pay a visit to Canberra Theatre Centre and treat yourself with some top shows.
CLOSE TO NATURE
Nature is an integral part of Canberra, starting from the magnificent Lake Burley Griffin, which is an ideal mix of culture and nature, with all major national attractions situated near it. You can take long walks and admire the flora and picturesque scenery of the lake. The National Botanic Garden leads you straight through Tasmania rainforest gully where you can see diverse native plants. Another treat for nature lovers is the National Arboretum Canberra, which contains collections of miniature trees by world-class Australian bonsai and penjing artists.
WHERE TO STAY
The number of hotels in Canberra increased recently, with the emergence of Hotel Hotel, QT Canberra, Hotel Kurrajong and the like, which brought a breath of fresh air into the field of tourism and accommodation. QT Canberra is a relaunch of the old Lake Rydges hotel with three new bars and restaurants added. The hotel offers amazing rooms with views of the city or the lake, equipped with practical desks and minibars, convenient for both business trips and holidays.
For a good cocktail, visit Lucky’s Speakeasy Bar, and for exquisite Italian dining go to Capitol Bar and Grill. In the vicinity, there’s also Hotel Hotel, a luxury accommodation with a vintage design that has everything you need in one space – cafés, restaurants, shops, a spa, a cinema – what more could you wish for?
Another great place to stay is Hotel Kurrajong, a mixture of history and modern. It features Chifley’s Bar and Grill, named after former Prime Minister Ben Chifley, who lived there during his time in the office. You can enjoy a number of offers such as High Tea Series, Whiskey Mondays, and Acoustic Fridays.
WHERE TO EAT
Experience Canberra’s rich cuisine to the fullest. A breakfast at Urban Pantry in Manuka is a great way to start a day. If you wish an all-inclusive package, try A. Baker in New Acton, which is a wine bar, a café, a bakery and a restaurant all in one. For dinner, taste the charms of Italian cuisine in Italian & Sons or visit world-famous AKIBA for Asian culinary masterpieces.
Canberra hides more than meets the eye and to be sure of that it’s the best to go and see it for yourself. Head to Australia’s capital for a long weekend of pleasure.
About the author
Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and to surf the Internet. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. Most of her free time at home she spends walking her Labrador Retriever named Max. She is an avid lover of photography who loves to talk about her experiences. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.