Splurge with a day spa in botanical surrounds, indulge in a petit feast that’s anything but small, be chauffeured on a tour of Canberra’s cellar doors or drift above the capital from the comfort of a hot air balloon. 

Boutique wine tasting

A trip out to Canberra’s wine district to taste the best local drops is a wonderful addition to any winter weekend. Perhaps Canberra’s best-kept secret is its close proximity to more than 30 boutique cellar doors, where more often than not you get to meet the winemakers like Tim Kirk of Clonakilla.Clonakilla makes distinctive, handcrafted wines in limited quantities and is one of Australia’s leading small wineries.

Tim Kirk standing in his vineyard at Clonakilla Wines in Murrumbateman
Meet award-winning winemakers like Tim Kirk of Clonakilla Wines in Murrumbateman

Jamala Wildlife Lodge

Experience the ultimate luxury overnight safari at Australia’s first all-inclusive wildlife lodge experience of its kind. With just 18 rooms, Jamala Wildlife Lodge gives guests exclusive access and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the National Zoo & Aquarium’s beautiful residents. Choose from Jungle Bungalows, Giraffe Treehouses or your own room or suite within the uShaka Lodge. See yourself bathing beside bears, eating with the lions, or feeding sharks.

Decadent day spas

Set some time aside to be pampered at one of the city’s premier day spas. Pick from a range of treatments offered in the capital including facials, massages, body wraps, hydrotherapy spas and beauty treatments. At the base of the tranquil Rainforest Gully within the Australian National Botanic Gardens you will find Jindii EcoSpa featuring four double-treatment rooms as well as hydrotherapy spas, a yoga room and a guest lounge.

Woman having a massage in the rain forest at Jindii Eco Spa
Pamper yourself at Jindii Eco Spa

Not-so petit feast

Spoil yourself with a bountiful spread including savouries, charcuterie, cheeses and decadent desserts on selected Sundays at Buvette Bistro & Wine Bar. The Buvette Brunch features freshly made savouries and sweets including oysters as well as lavish desserts. For an extra $20 you can add bottomless Mimosas.

Hot air ballooning

There’s no better way to appreciate the capital’s charm than from a hot air balloon drifting across the city at dawn. Experience breathtaking views and see the nation’s capital come to life beneath you; Canberra is one of the only places in the world where you may drift over a Parliament House. Celebrate your flight with a champagne breakfast at Hyatt Hotel Canberra afterwards. Balloon Aloft and Dawn Drifters are the two tour companies offering hot air ballooning over the nation's capital. 

A hot air balloon glides over Canberra and Lake Burley Griffin
Canberra’s cool, crisp mornings make summer an ideal time to rise above it all in a hot air balloon.

Hidden bars

When it comes to Canberra's coolest bars, don’t expect obvious signage. Bar Rochford is one of many hidden bars across the capital, with a low-key, unassuming entrance located in the Melbourne Building. Sophisticated with a touch of grunge, Bar Rochford offers a cracking wine list featuring local drops and a menu boasting European and Modern Australian flavours. This is a destination for those barhops who are as serious about their food as they are their drinks. Lucky's Speakeasy and Molly are also worth searching for.

Helicopters tours

Take a pre-designed helicopter package over the Canberra region or tailor-make your own tour with Canberra Helicopters. Experience the flavours that the bush capital offers with many award-winning venues in close proximity by helicopter. Arrive in style for a tranquil brunch or a long lunch with friends at Pialligo Estate Canberra or perhaps a pampered Alpine day trip could be just what you need.

Truffle hunts

Get out in the beautiful winter sun and enjoy truffle hunts throughout the region with the growers and their dogs during The Truffle Festival – Canberra Region. Join a spirited hunt at Macenmist Black Truffles and Wines in Bredbo, Turalla Truffles in Bungendore, Tarago Truffles in Tarago and Blue Frog Truffles in Sutton. The hunts often involve lunches, cooking demonstrations and tastings.

Group of people hunting for truffles with a dog
Experience the excitement of an early morning truffle hunt

Monster Kitchen and Bar

Sit by the fireplace at Monster Kitchen and Bar and enjoy an award-winning menu that charts the seasons and uses ingredients from nearby producers. An obsession with uncomplicated, quality dining and service earned this NewActon gem One Hat in the SMH Good Food Guide 2017, and a place on The Australian Financial Review Australia’s Top 100 Restaurants awards.