It’s no secret that Canberra has rebranded itself in recent years, taking its world-class cultural offerings and mixing them with a side of contemporary cool. Spend a weekend in Canberra’s hotspots and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were rubbing shoulders (in a socially distanced way) with the jet set of Sydney and Melbourne, with stylish bars, chic restaurants and eclectic cafes helping the city establish itself as a bona fide foodie destination.
Add in the quirky architecture of parliament house, the surrounding nature and the numerous national galleries and you have yourself one of the country’s most charming city breaks. Here are our top tips for making the most of your time in Australia’s capital city!
Get Arty at the National Portrait Gallery
From the founding fathers of the nation to Aussie’s Hollywood royalty, the National Portrait Gallery is an homage to all things Australian. Wander the gallery as you learn something new about our past, admire images of our present superstars and get an insight for what’s to come for future generations as you soak up all the things that make Australia an international player.
To add to these Aussie gems is a selection of international heavyweights featured on the gallery’s walls including Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, David Hockney and Mark Rothko, to name a few. According to Karen Quinlan, director of the gallery, this year is an exciting time to visit thanks to a revitalised exhibition program.
Discover the Pretty in Politics
Canberra is a purpose-built political capital, meaning there’s lots to marvel at when it comes to unique architecture. The Parliament House, which was designed by Mitchell, Giurgola & Thorp Architects, was officially opened in the late 1980s, sits atop Capital Hill and acts as a focal point in the city. The design was created to symbolise a profound vision of new Australia, with the structure crossed by two axes, north–south and east–west to represent the historical progression and legislative progression of the country’s democracy.
Walking around is awe-inspiring and, if you’re lucky, you may even get to see sitting politicians battle it out. Another must-see is the impressive embassy buildings that surround parliament, with the China and Papua New Guinea houses being standouts.
The Ultimate Lakeside Dining
Food and architecture sum up Canberra, and no suburb is better equipped to wow than the lakeside dining precinct of Kingston. Situated right on the lake, the new developments are a celebration of modern architecture that allow locals and visitors to live, work and play with constant lake views. The picturesque Kingston Foreshore is buzzing with cafes, bars and eateries throughout the day, ensuring you can stop to enjoy Canberra’s growing foodie scene with some light bites or a three-course dinner.
The old Transport Depot still stands tall despite the area’s modern regeneration, housing the celebrated The Old Bus Depot Markets since 1998. Take some time to check out the unique nature of the Canberra Glassworks, housed in the historic Kingston Powerhouse. Take a self-guided tour to discover some of Canberra's heritage at this contemporary glass centre, the only one of its kind in Australia.
Where to Stay
Canberra is about architecture, history and food, so a stay in Australia’s capital is best enjoyed from Hotel Kurrajong. The most historic hotel in the city, Hotel Kurrajong has watched Canberra grow from an idea into a bustling city and Chifley’s, the hotel’s on-site restaurant, is an institution in Canberra. Known for its delicious food, stellar events and exceptional service, the restaurant and bar host events attended by Canberrans far and wide.
Peace of mind when you stay with us: Introducing Clean Touch.