October 24, 2017
“Criminally overlooked Canberra packs a big punch for such a small city.” That’s what Lonely Planet thinks. Named #3 best city to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 – ranking higher than any Australian city has ever been ranked before – it’s time to visit Canberra to find out for yourself what a hot destination Canberra has become.
To help you plan your visit and experience all the things that Lonely Planet’s expert authors suggest in their acclaimed Best in Travel 2018 guide, we’ve put together a three day itinerary:
The perfect Canberra day starts with perfect coffee at The Cupping Room. The team at The Cupping Room – including world barista champion Sasa Sectic know a thing or two about creating a splendid brew.
Hire a bike from Cycle Canberra and pedal across to Parkes in the Parliamentary Triangle, taking in the views along Canberra’s majestic Lake Burley Griffin, before getting a culture fix at Canberra’s iconic national galleries and museums that hold the Australian story – a must for any first time visitor to Canberra.
Keep on pedalling, over to the new-on-the-scene Kingston Foreshore where hunger is sure to strike. Grab a burger from much-loved Brodburger, or get deliciously crafted healthy wholefood dishes from Local Press Cafe, right on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin.
Once refuelled, stop in at Canberra Glassworks and see the beauty and versatility of glass in a new light. Housed in the historic Kingston Power House, take a self-guided tour or take an introductory glass course from experts and make your very own paperweight creation.
Return your bike to the trendy hub of NewActon, then sort out your dinner-time hunger at A.Baker, where you won’t think twice about tucking into the five-course ‘Just Feed Me’ and ‘Just Wine Me’ selections, offering a perfect array of locally sourced produce and wine.
Afterwards, step underground to Black Market – a slick bar with touches of sparkle, reminiscent of 1970s New York. It's so underground that if we hadn't told you it was there, you'd never know. But once you find it, you'll find it hard to leave. Parlour Wine Room is another firm favourite to try - also just a few steps from A.Baker, it's perfect for a nightcap and one of their classic yet obscure cocktails.
Spend your night at the deliciously decorated Hotel Hotel in NewActon, the epitome of new Canberra style – where nothing is ordinary.
After breakfast at Hotel Hotel’s Monster Kitchen, allow Canberra Winery Tours to whisk you away to explore Canberra’s liquid geography (aka wine region). With more than 30 cellar doors within 30 minutes’ drive of the city centre, you can see the vineyards, taste the wine and learn a thing or two about how a good drop is cultivated. Try Lerida Estate, Four Winds Vineyard, Clonakilla, Murrumbateman Winery and Mount Majura Vineyard to name a handful.
After your day exploring the wine regions, return to Canberra and stop by the brilliant blend of pop up shops and lively cafes and restaurants that are sprinkled along Lonsdale Street in boutique Braddon. Shop your way through the Ori Building Treasure Trove including Handsome Pretty, AGENCY, Assemblage Project and Rebel Muse and more, then grab a coffee from one of the many cafes along the strip - Lonsdale Street Roasters is especially on point.
Sweet toothed humans must squeeze in a visit to Frugii Dessert Laboratory, where ice-cream alchemist John Marshall has gone bonkers with wacky icecream, gelato and sorbet creations like Tim Tam, salted butter caramel and even peanut butter and bacon.
Prepare to feast at consistently excellent eightysix where you’d be mad if you didn’t save room for their highly photogenic caramel popcorn sundae.
If you choose to leg it back to Hotel Hotel (it’s an easy 15 minutes’ walk from Braddon to NewActon), it would be sinful to bypass Bar Rochford, winner of Gourmet Traveller’s 2018 Bar of the Year, hidden upstairs in one of the capital’s oldest buildings.
Start your day by soaring over Canberra in a hot air balloon, the only city in the world where you can fly over a house of parliament in a balloon. You’ll experience Canberra’s breathtaking beauty and crisp early morning glow, then finish in style with a traditional champagne celebration at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra.
Spend the rest of the morning discovering the Australian War Memorial, voted as the number one landmark in Australia by travellers in the 2016 TripAdvisor awards. The Memorial brings together a world-class museum, a shrine and an extensive archive, delivering a moving and insightful experience for all. Later in 2018, the Memorial will take centre stage as it hosts the 100th anniversary of the WW1 Armistice.
After digesting all that history, head to long held Canberra institution Silo Bakery and Café for some of Australia’s finest breads and pastries. Or choose from their a la carte menu which features simple yet elegant European bistro food.
After re-fuelling, drive just 10 minutes to the National Arboretum, a 250-hectare home to a whopping 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic Australian flora criss-crossed with walking and cycling trails. Confused? You need to visit this place. The Arboretum has spectacular views over Canberra, as well as one of Australia’s quirkiest playgrounds, featuring massive acorns on stilts and play areas shaped like banksia pods. Kids of all ages will have reached playground nirvana.
For good ‘ol fashioned, yet decidedly new-age beers and burgers, head to Capital Brewing Co. + Brodburger in the new Dairy Road, Fyshwick area for a casual feed. Here, Canberra household favourites have partnered to deliver a taphouse, a beer garden, brewery games plus mouth-watering burgers from Canberra’s famed Brodburger. Fur babies and kids are all welcome with a specially made (non-alcoholic) beer for pets with paws and a cubby house and outdoor games for the kids.
Interested to learn more about why Lonely Planet thinks Canberra is so hot right now? See the Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel website. For even more exciting things to do in Canberra, see A Visitor’s Guide: The Ultimate Canberra Bucket List.