What are some of the highlights of the local calendar? The changing of seasons in themselves are my favourite highlights of the Canberra year. It’s one of the reasons I love living here so much. Roadside blossoms and picnics by the lake in the spring, picking blackberries and swims at Point Hut Crossing in the summer, blankets of colourful fallen leaves and the first smells of wood fires burning in the autumn, and views of snow on the mountains and the plates of local truffles in winter.

Lean and Taj at Lake Burley Griffin.
Lean and Taj hang out by the Lake. Photo: Lean Timms

My favourite place to unwind is... going for walks along the lake with my German Shepherd, Taj. We often head to Yarralumla for sailboat watching, wanders through the English Gardens in Weston Park and getting a plant-fix at the Heritage Nursery.

My favourite spot to get my caffeine hit is...  Barrio. Love this space and all that the boys do. Their batch brew is mean as is their house-made almond milk, which I love having with their gypsy tea. It's a cup of comfort for the cooler months. 

I can spend hours at... the Capital Region Farmers Market. I look forward to getting my groceries there every Saturday. Chatting with the farmers about their produce and searching for what’s new in season is always a weekly highlight.

Capital Region Farmers Market, VisitCanberra
Lean loves doing her weekly shop at the Capital Region Farmers Market.

More Australians should visit the... National Portrait Gallery. Every time I leave there with a better understanding of the identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity of the Australian people.

The most unbelievable breakfast can be found at... Rye on Lonsdale St. The breakfast board. Scandinavian interior. Generous, well-done pot of loose leaf tea. Yep. Yep. Yep.

There’s always a lot of fun to be had at... Bar Rochford for wine and wax. Nick’s unique wine list with its emphasis on natural, biodynamic, organic, single vineyard wines is second to none. Orange in the summer or a juicy Mencia in the winter. Stay a little later in the evening on the weekend and you'll be treated to a DJ pulling vinyl and playing smooth beats. Soul night particularly fun - this girl likes to dance!

Bar Rochford
For a drinking spot oozing with charm and character and an extensive wine list to boot, Bar Rochford is hard to beat.

Which local shops are worth checking out? For a last minute or unique gift I go to Shop Girl Flower Girl in Ainslie - pick yourself up some locally blended tea from Endeavour Tea. I can always find something for my design friends in the boutiques in the Ori Building and Lonsdale St – Hive for design lovers, Timber & Taylor for ceramics and KIN tucked away behind The Hamlet for local, hand-made jewellery. I also have a soft spot for the NGA shop, too. They stock some really great local designers and makers, perfect for out-of-towners and for folks visiting from overseas.

When I want to dine out... I have too many favourites. For dinner and date nights, I love blow-your-tastebuds-away share plates that are playful, seasonal and fresh. My current faves are Temporada, Vincent and Bar Rochford.

Lean Timms photo of Vincent
Vincent is home to delicious share-plates

If I want a sweet treat, I visit... Frugii Dessert Laboratory. Along with making everything from scratch, Mr Frugii has quite the adventurous spirit when it comes to flavour. There’s always something fun to try. Although somehow I always end up with plain Jane (i.e. classic) vanilla.

The most beautiful place near Canberra is... Namadgi National Park and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. This city is so lucky to border the Australian Alps, and half or full day bush walks in either of these two parks are a great way to get out and soak up some of our iconic landscape.

The best place for a nightcap is... Monster at Hotel Hotel. Applewood Gin or a sweet Vermouth, a cosy fire and a bed upstairs if you want it.

Namadgi National Park. Photo: Lean Timms.
Namadgi National Park borders the ACT and is home to some amazing walks.

Thanks Lean! Share your favourite Canberra places with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram or use the #VisitCanberra hashtag.