Guests enjoy a drink and meal on the Kingston Foreshore, one of many precincts in Canberra

Summertime and the living is easy...

Feel the  lure of the open road this summer, and set your sights on Canberra. Just three hours by car from Sydney, the nation’s capital is ideal for a quick weekend jaunt, or even a longer sojourn. With a slew of waterfront cafes, small bars and cultural must-dos on offer this season, there’s no better time to pay the city a visit. Start planning your ultimate Canberra getaway with this guide curated by Urban Walkabout to explore Canberra this summer like a local.

When you’re in NewActon

Pop in to Močan and Green Grout in this inner-city suburb for a coffee or a bite to eat, while watching the talented chefs in action. The popular cafe was conceived as a place that evokes the warmth ad familiarity of eating in a good friends’ kitchen.

Take a wander through the NewActon precinct, see a local art exhibition at Nishi Gallery, enjoy a long lazy lunch at A. Baker, admire the outdoor sculptures and art, and treat yourself to an afternoon tipple at Parlour Wine Room.

When in Yarralumla

Rise early and take to the skies in a hot air balloon to enjoy the serenity as you drift slowly over iconic attractions. Toast your experience with a champagne breakfast at the historic Hyatt Hotel, just as the rest of the city awakens.

When you visit Braddon

Dive into the treasure trove at AGENCY. Craft ACT’s new store focuses on high end product offerings and introduces up to 150 local and national Australian artists and designers. After you’ve explored, you won’t be able to explore the rest of the Braddon precinct or say no to the desserts created by Canberra’s ice-cream alchemist John Marshall from Frugii Dessert Laboratory.

Finish off your day with a beer at BentSpoke Brewing Co. The local craft beers are all brewed onsite and have Canberra centric names like Walt and Barley, Mort’s Gold and Braddon Bitter. The brewery also produces some apple ciders using Batlow apples.

While you’re in the City 

With a Spanish name that translates as ‘seasonal’, Temporada offers a tapas-style menu, featuring locally sourced produce and a wood-fired grill. Artfully plated, the dishes are as much a visual feast as they are delicious. 

Molly is as authentic as a speakeasy comes, with even the point of sale hidden away in an attempt to strip the bar of technology. Once you find the location (the only indication is a set of coordinates outlining its location), sip gin and vermouth, sample their extensive whisky collection and snack on charcuterie platters.

Take a stroll through Kingston

Enjoy a super healthy breakfast at Local Press Cafe, one of a number of dining options on the Kingston Foreshore, while taking in the views of the lake.

Spend the morning watching artists in action on the Hotshop floor, get hands on and make your own glass tumbler working one-on-one with a glass artist or take a behind-the-scenes tour to the engine room of the Canberra Glassworks.

Drop by Manuka

One cafe you won’t want to miss is social media sensation Patissez, which produces over the top FreakShakes like the Cookies n Freaks, made from Lindt white chocolate ganache, Oreo chocolate cookie crumb, chocolate fudge, and perched on top is a giant white chocolate mousse and chocolate cookie sandwich!

Stop in at Pialligo and Majura

Venture only eight minutes out of the city to Pialligo Estate, where you can sample melt-in-your mouth cured meats and seafood produced in the Smokehouse. Pialligo Estate Farmhouse Restaurant is a mecca of locally sourced produce that showcases the best of the region.

Just up the road is the picturesque Mount Majura Vineyard. Their cellar door features a unique seated tasting allowing an interactive yet relaxing tasting experience. Be sure to ask them about their ‘Gumboot Tours’, which will see you donning a pair of gumboots as you take a self-guided ‘nature trail’ through the vineyard.

When you’re ready to shop Canberra

Explore popular twilight fashion market Hustle & Scout, an immersive market showcasing independent Australian fashion labels. Under the same roof will be The Forage, a market which showcases the best cafes, restaurants, mobile food vendors and bars with an emphasis on hawker-style street food. Hustle & Scout, and The Forage happen on a regular basis at the Little National Hotel. 

The Old Bus Depot Markets are some what of a Canberra institution, with their regular Sunday markets promising to stock just about everything you need for this year’s festivities. Stock up on Christmas essentials including wreaths, table centre pieces, candles, handmade stockings, advent calendars, Christmas tree decorations and much more.

Make it a night of theatre and performing arts

Round out your summer in the capital with a night at The Famous Spiegeltent, Canberra’s premier performing arts pop up. From mimes to magic, reggae to cabaret, the headlining show La Clique is not to be missed. The tent will pop up in Civic Square from February 19 – March 14, and comes with more than 40 sideshows as well as the famed Spiegel Garden, perfect for a late summer’s drink.

Explore Canberra precincts

Canberra has many precincts that make up the city and each has a distinct charm and style. Explore lakeside locales, busy city laneways and quiet, leafy suburban surrounds.