8 things to do in Canberra under $10
Here are the tips and tricks to maximise your holiday when your budget puts the ‘cap’ in capital city.
Australia’s capital city is kind of like the brainy sibling – the one with all the science trophies and academic certificates hanging up in their room.
So from the get-go, you know there are plenty of stunning museums and galleries – and of course Parliament House – to explore. However, when you’re on a budget, you need to know exactly what’s within your grasp before you blow all your shrapnel on a bus ticket to get there.
We have the ultimate hacks for cracking this city $10 at a time. And while we’re at it, we’ll show you how Canberra is coming into her own.
Spend the day at the National Gallery of Australia
Let’s begin by saying… this gallery is FREE. So no matter how sad your bank account looks that day, you can be sure to get a hit of culture. There are always world-class exhibitions going on that you can research beforehand here, not to mention the heritage building sits on the hem of Lake Burley Griffin, so the scenic surrounds also make for an ideal picnic / make out spot. Keen to know more about Australia’s history? This gallery has the largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collection in the world. BYO specs.
Tip-toe among the tulips at Floriade
Everyone’s happy to see the back of winter by the end – even Down Under, where winters are relatively mild and fleeting. What better way to say sayonara to the cold, than to celebrate the start of warm? Floriade is a month-long festival open for free to the public that is dedicated to just this, where more than a million flowers are planted across 8000 square metres of inner city parkland. But this bad boy is more than just a sight for sore eyes: Floriade is a festival of culture, wine, music, art and all different kinds of delicious treats. Wear your stretchy pants, that’s for sure.
Browse the Old Bus Depot markets
With only a tenner in your pocket, the markets are always a safe destination. This one is so jam-packed with over 200 stalls of food, handcrafted wares and vintage clothing that it’s totally possible you’ll pick up a trinket to your liking. The industrial warehouse setting doesn’t hurt either. You don’t need to be rolling in cash to enjoy the fruits of this market (pun intended), since of course entry is free, so snag yourself something tasty.
Visit the National Portrait Gallery
This gallery is the neighbour of old mate National Gallery of Australia, also perched on the shores of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin. The idea behind this magnificent gallery is to peel back the layers of Australian history through the portraiture of its iconic people. You’ll find the whole gang, from Aussie outlaw Ned Kelly to Olympian Cathy Freeman. If you get peckish, you can refuel at the Portrait Café, and if you get sentimental, you can stop off at The Portrait Gallery Store (just remember, you have a $10 budget). If you’re a bit of a skim-viewer at heart, there are also Collection Highlight tours every darn day. And the best part is, it’s allllll free.
Stop by the heart of the nation: Parliament House
You know that inner dork we all have? It’s time to set them free and watch them shine. Parliament House give free ‘Welcome to Parliament’ tours that’ll offer you a good eyeful of both chambers, the marble foyer and the Great Hall amongst other things. Let’s not forget that the building itself is a spectacle to behold, so if you’re into architecture, it might be worthwhile doing a lap before committing to a location.
Wet your whistle at BentSpoke Brewing Co
Armed with only one blue note, at least you can enter this craft beer haven and know for sure that you won’t get hammered. You will, however, get to sample one of 18 premium beers or ciders. Found in the center of Braddon, this brewpub has no secrets, with brewers exposed to the customers as they work hard to make the good stuff. The crowd go wild for the food menu too, which incorporates beer into the snacks – for example, the ‘Hop Potatoes’ that come in at a cool $9 a basket.
There’s a zone in Canberra known as the ‘Parliamentary Triangle’, which contains some of the most important buildings in the country. (And no sh&t Sherlock, Parliament House is one of them.) Between March 2 and 18 this year, the Enlighten festival will take place, which electrifies this triangle with stunning light installations and free fun such as live music, street art, fireworks and art installation. You’ll need tickets for some things, so make sure you take a good look at the program for what’s free before you leave the house.
Treat yourself at Silo Bakery
If you have a major sweet tooth, you’ll be tempted to elbow little old ladies out of the way, but we encourage you to practice polite restraint. One whiff of the wafting butter fumes and you’ll understand why this bakery is something of an institution in Canberra. Skip the breakfast menu if you’re on a ten-dollar budget, and head straight for the take away pastries and artisan breads. You won’t regret it.