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3 Days In Canberra


Canberra makes for the perfect short break, full of food, culture, history and outdoor activities.

Canberra is more than just a city centered on Australian politics or history lessons. Granted, this modern and well-planned capital may be small, but it also boasts a thriving creative culture, sophisticated dining and some of the best museums and galleries in the country.

Add to that the location - between the Great Dividing Range and the Australian Alps - which provides not only an aesthetically pleasing backdrop but also a playground for outdoor adventures. It is a three-hour drive to Canberra from Sydney, or there are regular flights from most capital cities; rent a car at the airport as the city streets are wide and not crowded very pleasant to drive.

Here's how to spend a long weekend in the city of Canberra that is getting even cooler.


Nishi Building, Canberra, ACT © VisitCanberra  Nishi Building, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory © VisitCanberra

Interesting fact

Canberra's nickname 'Bush Capital' comes from its natural setting, with national parks and reserves making up more than half of Australia's Capital Territory.

The best way to understand the city is by cycling along the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, in the city center. Visit the Canberra and Region Visitors Center at Regatta Point to rent a bike and choose from three cycling tracks, depending on the sites you want to see on your trip. The Central Loop (five kilometers / three miles) and the Eastern Loop (nine kilometers / six miles) are almost completely flat, while the Western Loop is a 16 kilometer (10 mile) journey with several hills.

In the afternoon, head to NewActon, a modern district known for its incredible food scene, just a five-minute drive from the visitor center. Dominated by the striking and modern, Japanese-inspired Nishi Building (housing the funky Ovolo Nishi gallery, cinema and hotel), the area is also home to some of the city's oldest buildings.

For lunch, stop by the popular Mocan and Green Grout, with a menu focused on local produce and locally roasted fair trade coffee. Otherwise, Rebel Rebel is a David Bowie-inspired restaurant that stands out in its produce-driven menu design and offerings. Afterward, spend some time at the Nishi Gallery, a cultural space showcasing works by local and international artists.

If you're in NewActon on a Saturday afternoon, be sure to check out the Cellar Door on the Main Staircase of the Nishi Building. This boutique wine market has a collection of stalls where you can sample some of the region's best drinks.

Where to stay: There are many accommodation options to suit all your needs during your stay in Canberra. Located in the Nishi Building in NewActon, Ovolo Nishi offers accommodation with a focus on premium design and craftsmanship with original artwork and custom furniture. Opened in late 2019, Midnight Hotel is a sleek and contemporary property located in the thriving Braddon district. Just steps from Parliament House, Little National Hotel is an experience in minimalist comfort and affordable luxury.


Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT © Tourism Australia  Australian War Memorial, Canberra, AustralianCapitalTerritory © Tourism Australia   Mt Ainslie, Canberra, ACT © VisitCanberra

An insider's secret

The Kokoda Memorial Trail, behind the Australian War Memorial, leads to the top of Mount Ainslie (approx. 1.5 hour round trip). Enjoy views of Parliament House, Lake Burley Griffin and beyond.


If you want to see the movement of this nation, give Parliament House a priority on your list. Explore on a private tour (reservation required), explore public places at your leisure, such as the Marble Foyer and the Great Hall, or see the House of Representatives and the Senate from the gallery. If you're more into art, the nearby National Portrait Gallery is home to an incredible collection of individual portraits that have helped shape the Australian story.

If you have kids or are a fan of science and technology, Questacon is a must-visit. At this fun educational center there are more than 200 live exhibits covering the principles of sound, human biology, light, force, mechanics, mathematics, computer science, Earth and more.

History buffs should join one of the free tours at the Australian War Memorial, which run every half hour from 10am to 3pm. This memorial has several exhibits including a permanent galleryincludes Australia's involvement in all major conflicts, and a number of temporary exhibitions, with relics, private and public records, photographs, statues, airplanes, Roll of Honor and more.

Tonight, enjoy dinner at one of the city's many sophisticated restaurants such as Aubergine or Pilot. Afterwards, have a bedtime drink at Molly's booze or the hustle and bustle of Walt & Burley's lakeside bars and bistros.


National Arboretum, Canberra, ACT © VisitCanberra  National Arboretum, Canberra, AustralianCapitalTerritory © VisitCanberra     indigenous-symbol

If you have time

The thriving Fyshwick neighborhood is home to great bakeries like Wildflour, quirky shops including Canty's Bookshop, and creative spaces like Niche Markets.

For your final day, spend the morning at the Canberra National Arboretum, about 10 minutes from the city center. Featuring 250 hectares of rare, endangered and significant trees from around the world, you can explore them on your own or join a guided walk, there is also a wonderful outdoor children's playground.

Afterward head to Braddon, a trendy neighborhood that has become popular for its Lonsdale Street 'dining street' and boutique shopping. Stop by Lazy Su for a casual pan-Asian lunch of Japanese and Korean flavors with a kitsch 80s vibe, or Grease Monkey for a delicious burger and beer. Coffee lovers must visit Lonsdale Street Roasters to enjoy it.

For retail therapy, visit bisonhome for locally designed ceramics or Timber and Tailor for a range of homeware and lifestyle products made by Australian designers and makers. Furthermore, the Ori Building is home to a collection of boutique shops including quaint flower shop Moxom + Whitney and premium gift shop Hive.

End your shopping trips and long weekends in the capital with a local brew at the Bentspoke Brewing Co. brewery, where you can sample about 18 beers and cider on tap.