Whilst Canberra is Australia’s capital city, it does frequently get left out of people’s travel itineraries. But it shouldn’t – it’s got plenty to offer.
NewActon and Kingston Foreshore are two key dining areas in the city. NewActon precinct has won awards for its impressive architecture and urban design. The precinct has landscaped gardens, art galleries, shops, bars and restaurants. After a massive government refurb, Kingston Foreshore is now a popular entertainment hub.
It’s something of a cultural hub, and there’s so much in the way of museums and galleries. To name a few big ones, there’s the Australian War Memorial, The National Museum, Parliament House and The National Gallery. The Australian national collection is at the National Gallery of Australia, which houses more than 160,000 works of art. The collection covers Aussie art, Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander art, Asian art, European art and American art.
And although it may be a cultural epicentre, that’s not to say it doesn’t offer lots in the outdoors activities stakes. The Centenary Trail is a popular walk through Canberra’s urban and natural environments. You can do the trail on foot or bike. It’s a 145-kilometre, self-guided tour, meaning you can just go as far as you please. Some have even done the whole trail in one, which takes around seven days.
To take a different approach to natural exploration, you can hop on the back of a horse and take a ride with Burnelee Excursions. They cater to all levels of riding ability so you can explore the 3,500-acre property at your own pace. This family-owned and run ranch attracts a lot of visitors because of the beautiful scenery on the property and friendly staff.
Lake Burley Griffin is a 664-hectare lake, which has a shoreline of 40.5 kilometres. You can sit around the lake with a picnic, ride around it on a bike or dine at one of the restaurants that overlook it. Or, hop in the water for a row, sail, windsurf, canoe, kayak or dragon boat. You can also fish or have a steer of a model boat.
Wine lovers can take a trip out to Canberra’s wine district to sample some of the area’s best wines. There are over 30 boutique cellar doors that you can get to in just 35 minutes. Many of the wineries are family run and you can see the heart and soul in the business. For example, there’s Helm Wines, run by husband-and-wife team Ken and Judith Helm, which has been around since 1973. Then there’s Clonakilla, which was planted in 1971 by John Kirk. And another must-visit is Mount Majura Vineyard, where you can do a self-guided nature tour through the vineyards (known as a gumboot tour).