Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I ♥ Canberra

Canberra often gets a bad rap for being a “boring” city. I am often questioned by people "... but what do you do there?" I think the problem lies in the fact that even though Canberra is the capital city – it is a small city and you can’t have the same expectations of it that you do of cities more than ten times its size. Sydney has a population of 4.5 million compared to Canberra’s 350,000 and you really can’t expect the same experience when visiting the two. When you come to Canberra you have to come with an open mind and I think if you are able to do this you will really be able to appreciate the culture and hidden gems the city has to offer.
Culture
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If you are an art and/or history lover you could easily spend a weekend in Canberra visiting the museums and art galleries. A personal favourite of mine is the portrait gallery. Not only do I find the works engaging but the new building is a delight to spend time in. If you can only fit in one museum I definitely recommend the War Memorial. It has an atmosphere that I can’t quite describe but hours can be spent there soaking in the history.


Other places that might interest you are the National Museum, which I believe has been renovated in the last year – plus you get to see Phar Laps heart. There is also the Australian Mint, Questacon, National Gallery of Australia and plenty more.


It is also worth checking out if there is anything on at the theatre whilst your here. In addition to the Canberra Theatre Centre there is the Street Theatre and a number of other local theatres.


Shopping
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If you enjoy shopping at malls Canberra has really stepped things up in recent years. My favourite shopping centre is the Canberra Centre as it has a variety of department stores to high end retailers. The newly refurbished Belconnen Westfield is also worth a look. There is a DFO at Fyshwick which can be a bit hit and miss but if you’re a bargain hunter its worth heading out to.


If you want to shop a little more off the beaten track there is a great number of local boutiques to check out. I would recommend heading to Lonsdale Street in Braddon were there is a great range of more unique stores, I definitely recommend checking out The Burgoseis Pig. Areas such as Manuka and Kingston also have alot more boutique stores and also some great cafes if you feel like a wander. I would also suggest checking out Alice be Curious in New Acton and a vintage clothing store in Lyneham called Alice’s caravan.


You would be hard pressed to come to Canberra and not be able to find a market to visit. My personal favourite is the Gorham House markets on Saturday’s from 10am – 4pm. They are a little quirky and alternative and often have some great second hand finds. Other markets include the handmade markets held every three months, the Old Bus Depot markets held from 10-4pm on Sundays and the Hall markets held on the first Sunday of every month.


The great outdoors
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A great thing about Canberra is you really get to experience all four seasons of the year. If you want to escape to a beautiful Autumn landscape then Canberra is perfect. Want to experience a sweltering hot Australian summer day then come here in January. Not only does the weather provide beautifully articulated seasons but there is heaps of ways to get outdoors and experience it.


Lake Burley Griffin is always beautiful to walk around but if you want more of an adventure try out one of the numerous tracks that make up Namadgi National Park. If you want a work out a walk up Mt Ainslie always seems to do the trick. This winter there will also be an outdoor ice rink in the middle of Garema Place, I am the worst skater in the world but I am tempted to try it out.


Food
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Canberra really has some delicious food, and I don’t really have enough room to go through all the places I love so I have decided to stick to my favourites. On a budget I definitely recommend the Burmese Curry House in the city, delicious curries for $7 with rice. I also recommend Blue Olive for lunch as they have really delicious sandwiches, my favourite is the Rembrandt – chicken, pesto, capsicum and mushrooms yum! You may also want to grab a hamburger from Brodburger which is currently located by the lake at Bowen Park but is moving to Glassworks later in the year.


For the sweet tooth I would recommend trying out Dobinsons in the city which has delicious tarts, its hard to resist whenever I walk past. Silo in Kingston also has yummy pastries. If you’re in Manuka pick up a Creme Brulee from Zuccheros. There is also Koko Black and Max Brenner locations around the city. If you are a tea lover please go to Adore Tea in Gold Creek it is one of my all time favourite places.


There is no shortage of dinner choices depending on what your in the mood for. If its Italian I would recommend Belucci’s in Dickson (get the mars bar parfait for dessert).I have also heard Italian and Sons in Braddon is superb and have enjoyed some lovely meals at Le Rendezvous in Manuka. If your more in the market for Asian cuisine I would recommend Jimmy’s Kitchen for Chinese, Pho Phu Quoc for Vietnamese and Lemongrass in the city for Thai.


For more fine dining my favourite place to go is Ellacure in Bruce. Delicious food and friendly staff, if you have enough people the banquet option is great. I have also had nice meals at Urban Pantry, La Cantina and Pulp Kitchen. I have also heard really good things about Pod food at Pialligo and Grazing out at Gundaroo.


I hope that this has showed you some of what Canberra as to offer and if you find yourself in the city I definitely encourage you to make the most of your time here. If you are ever visiting and want to know anything feel free to email me.

6 comments:

  1. My Dad's family live in Canberra (I'm an Adelaideian!) and when I last visited them I noticed how much more vibrant and alive the city had become. I loved it! It helps that I'm a history person... :P

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  2. I've only been to canberra once, but I quite enjoyed it. I never really understood why it got a bad rap.

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  3. I will have to go to Canberra again. I went years ago and I'm sure I would appreciate it a lot more. I vaguely remember being there but I'm sure it's changed over the years. I'm sure it's a lot like Brisbane which people used to always refer to as a huge country town (haaaa).

    This was a great look at your city :)

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  4. I like this post! I think Canberra seems like a really interesting city!

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  5. I really enjoyed this post and it's made me want to come visit! Nice job :)

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  6. I had a dream a little while ago that Gracie and I came down to visit you! One day I will come down and say hello!

    x Jasmine

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