Canberra is like a brand new city altogether with all the new developments. Here’s a guide to get you covered, from food to accommodation.
The modern-day Canberra is breaking away fast from its mundane past, with new exciting hotels and food venues popping up everywhere. Here's everything you need to know for a perfect weekend getaway to the capital of Australia.
Starting with accommodation, QT Canberra is an obvious choice for its top notch service and proximity to Canberra's cultural hubs. The QT Brand takes its signature art deco quirkiness and Canberra's political setting and churns that into a colourful politically inspired hotel. Portraits of prime ministers and heads of state are mashed together into a kaleidoscopic wallpaper featured everywhere in the building.
The rooms are really spacious, and some are even equipped with a great view to Lake Burley Griffin. Each also comes with a QT Old Fashion cocktail making kit. QT Canberra also features a one-hatted Italian restaurant, along with a prohibition-style speakeasy. There is also an old fashion barber shop to get you ready before making your way around town.
Self-described as ‘’eco-chic’’, Ovolo Nishi is located within the Nishi complex, which is one of the most sustainable buildings in Australia. It’s essentially a micro city here. Besides the super comfy and eclectic guest rooms with great lakeside views, there’s also an art gallery, a bar, a theatre, a gym and several hair salons. You can also borrow bicycles to roam around the city for free.
The foyer houses the award-winning Monster Kitchen + Bar, featuring an indoor fire pit that’s especially inviting on colder days. The food menu is very diverse and all dishes are available throughout the day. Ovolo Nishi is only a five-minute walk from QT Hotel so you easily come for a drink or two.
If you're looking for a more economical option, The Little National, would be an exceptional choice. It's a basic, yet sophisticated little hotel that offers you a beautiful and clean space to rest for the night. The room is compact but the sleek minimalist design turns it into an airy and comfortable nest, especially with the floor to ceiling glass window. The hotel is next to a bus stop and in close proximity to the National Gallery and Parliament House, making it ideal for guests who do not have a car.
The Shine Dome is within walking distance of QT Canberra and Ovolo Nishi. Now looking all retro and weathered, it’s a cool place for some creative snaps. The building was erected in the 50's to celebrate the height of scientific progression at that point in time. The dome stretches out like an umbrella over an artificial pond, its design was inspired by the Sputnik I that singlehandedly started the space age.
National Gallery of Australia
Housing over 150,000 artworks and counting, The National Gallery of Australia is one of Canberra’s greatest attractions. Other than admiring the rich collection of works, you can take a stroll around the premises, which includes the gallery building as well as the Sculpture Garden resting on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin. The gallery building is an exemplary piece of 20th-century brutalist architecture while the garden is an attraction on its own, exhibiting outdoor artworks amidst rare native plants.
Barrio Collective Coffee
If you're looking for a morning coffee or an afternoon perk-up, Barrio serves up some of the best coffee with special house-made almond, cashew and macadamia milk. The guys here carefully source the beans from all over the world and only roast in small amounts so that they can experiment with each batch. There are few other options here, including teas, juices and a small food menu.
For desserts, you can head to Frugii Dessert Laboratory, which is right next door. It's a family owned ice creamery with an extensive range of cakes and ice creams. There are also vegan, gluten free and nut free options for everyone. Everything here is made in-house, including bases, extracts, pastes, powders and chocolate, you name it. Frugii also avoids any kind of added flavours or colours and that's why the ice cream and desserts here taste really light and fresh.
Pialligo Estate Farmhouse Restaurant
If you've had enough of the city and long for some country vibes, the Pialligo Estate Farmhouse is just minutes away from the Canberra centre. The Farmhouse Restaurant is within the enormous Pialligo Estate, along with an olive grove, vineyard, an orchard and multiple formal gardens. Driven by the paddock-to-plate concept, the estate grows everything on site so you can see where your food comes from. The main building features formal dining while the pavilions are for brunches and lunches. On colder days, there is a large brick fireplace indoors, so you can have a warm and cosy time while overlooking the lush sweeping greeneries outside.
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