Armada Outdoor Bar, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory © The Boat House
Uncover Canberra’s hidden gems
Seek out a new side of Canberra.
By Leah Dobihal
Home to the nation’s Parliament and the Australian War Memorial, Canberra offers more than its fair share of icons. But the icons are just the beginning. From lakeside bars to quaint villages, here are a few ways Canberra will surprise you.
Where: Multiple locations
Peruvian eatery Mr. Papa has gained a cult following in recent years. But its humble beginnings as a single food truck means this eatery stays true to its under-the-radar roots. You’ll find Mr. Papa slinging Peruvian-style burritos and pork belly sandwiches at events, markets and pop-up locations in Canberra, so check the website for their current locations.
About 35 minutes outside of Canberra lies a lesser-known village that’s well worth a day trip. Bungendore has everything you need for a relaxed day out of town. Start with brunch at The Gathering before exploring quaint shops like Manon & Moss. A wine tasking at Lark Hill Winery is a must, or head to The George if a beer is more your style.
When to go
Each October, Lennox Gardens hosts the Canberra Nara Candle Festival, which illuminates the gardens with thousands of candles.
Where: Nara Park
The foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin is beautiful from all angles, but there’s something special about the plot of greenery that is Lennox Gardens. The gardens were designed to honour two of Canberra’s sister cities: Beijing and Nara. In the Beijing Garden, you’ll find a Chinese welcome gate, stone sculptures and pavilions, while the Nara Peace Park offers a traditional Japanese gazebo and a number of cherry blossom trees. Pack a picnic and spend the afternoon under the towering trees.
Where: 810 Norton Road, Wamboin
Nestled in the hills of Canberra is Contentious Character, a single-vineyard winery that promises to give you something to talk about. And with tongue-in-cheek wine names (like ‘No Riesling To Worry’ and ‘Agreeable Wine Stubborn Vine’) and a beautiful vineyard view, the conversation is sure to flow like the wine. Enjoy a full cellar door tasting experience and a memorable meal from the kitchen – the oysters and rosé are a great pair.
Armada Outdoor Bar
Where: Grevillea Park, Menindee Dr, Barton
The Boat House is a popular dining option on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, but did you know you can also sit down for a sunset drink at the outdoor bar? Armada Outdoor Bar rests right on the waterfront and offers casual drinks and dining under festoon lights. Armada is open from Friday to Sunday in the afternoons and bookings are recommended.