Canberra isn’t a number one tourist hotspot. It is usually described as being home to boring bureaucrats and busy politicians. This is a pity because Australian capital hides more treasures than meets the eye.
The new cool: NewActon urban precinct
NewActon is a living proof that Canberra is way ahead of other cities when it comes to excellent architecture and design. It is an innovative urban precinct peppered with galleries, hotels, cafes and eateries. NewActon shouts ‘cool’. An absolute must is a visit to a pineapple-shaped Nishi gallery if you want to indulge in art exhibitions and performances. A great follow-up is enjoying the spectacular architecture of Hotel Hotel, and grab an afternoon cocktail on its ground floor, in Monster Kitchen and Bar.
South of the South: Manuka & Kingston Foreshore
The historic precincts dating back to the 1920s are pacesetters of Canberra’s dining and entertainment scene. A casual Sunday coupled with best views in the coffee haven of Manuka is always a great idea. Another option you can choose is a slow afternoon in a prime waterfront location in Kingston, which has a vibrant atmosphere. The ‘Foreshore’ offers plenty of excellent gastropubs, like The Dock and Walt & Burley, to nourish your body and soul. When it’s time to get moving again, stroll around the famous Old Bus Depots Market located in an old industrial building and enjoy the kaleidoscope of colors and tastes. A great way to end the day is to stroll or cycle around the waterfront and soak in the scenic view of Lake Burley Griffin.
It is not a bad idea to get acquainted with what has set the Canberra’s reputation as the city of diplomats. A top choice on your must-see list should be the Australian Parliament House. Marvel at the architecture of the foyer and the beauty of the intricate vast tapestry in the Great Hall. Get to know bits of exciting Australian history in the Marble Hall where portraits of the prime ministers are on display. Another great spot to get to know Australian political past is the Museum of Australian Democracy (Old Parliament House), a former government building, where you can see the well-preserved Prime Minister’s Office. A driving tour around Yarralumla diplomatic area with its many embassies is also a great excursion. While you’re in Canberra, don’t miss to visit the Australian War Memorial commemorating the nation’s role in the World War I.
A few minutes away from the business hub of Civic quarter, there is the inner-city suburb of Braddon. If you decide to spend an afternoon here, you can treat yourself with a great shopping therapy. After that, make a turn to the Lonsdale Street to enjoy some of the best cafes and eateries in Canberra. The best coffee you’ve ever had? Probably at Lonsdale Street Roasters.
The region around the city is equally stunning and worthy of your Sunday day trip. To make best use of your time when visiting multiple locations, decide for a charter bus rental. One of the first stops should be one of the amazing local wineries. Canberra is known as a wine wonderland, and for a reason. Make sure you taste the local Shiraz Viognier or Riesling. A visit to Clonakilla Estate, north of the city, is a Sunday well spent.
A breath of fresh air: Namadgi National Park
Want to get a feel of the Australian Alps? Southwest of Canberra is the Namadgi National Park, which takes up almost one-half of the Australian Capital Territory. If you’re into camping, cycling, rock climbing or good-old walking and ski touring in winter, this is the place to be for all who seek fun and recreation. The park also has many Aboriginal sites to introduce you to their unique culture and art. Another great stop for nature-lovers is the National Arboretum, a 250-hectare site that is home to a variety of trees, including the rare and endangered species. For a perfect end of the day, climb the Mount Ainslie, and enjoy the amazing sunset and city panorama.