When planning a holiday, Canberra isn’t the first place that springs to mind, but getting to know and see our capital city is something that I had always wanted to do…
At the beginning of the year, my little brother made the move to our capital city to begin his year long graduate role in government. I had never been to Canberra before, and I saw his relocation as the perfect excuse to get to our capital city.
Visit my little brother and tick another city off my travel list – win, win!
I have to be honest with you, before I left for my trip over east, my brother really had not sold our capital city to me at all. The way he was describing it (all taken with a pinch of salt of course – my brother has a flair for over dramatisation) made it sound a little like… well… like an unkempt, small, suburban town. Don’t get me wrong, I love visiting small towns, but his descriptions left me with little to no expectations of Canberra.
I guess my brother’s plan worked.
The bar had been set quite low, so Canberra didn’t have to do all that much to impress me.
I liked what I saw. Yes, it most definitely doesn’t compare to the built up Melbourne streets, or the busy and vibrant Sydney shopping scene and night life, but Canberra has it’s own charm. The easiest way to describe it is being ‘a country town with all of the big city stores’. The streets are wide and clear, their is a great hill to hike just 5 minutes drive from one of the city centres, and there is a huge, picturesque lake smack bang in the middle of Canberra. We spent time in the up and coming New Acton area (home to Hotel Hotel and an array of great food vendors), drove around Ainslie in the foot hills, and wandered along the ultra cool Londsdale St, popping our heads into a heap of cool retailers. Canberra reminds me a little bit of Bunbury – so very pretty in many ways, but often over looked.
What surprised me the most about Canberra was the vibrant cafe/restaurant/small bar culture (I told you my brother undersold it all to me!). On my first night, my brother took me to a gorgeous bar in one of the oldest buildings in the city. We settled in in front of the fireplace with a glass of Italian Sangiovese before moving on to dinner at a very busy, modern Japanese eatery. My first night paved the way for our dining adventures while I was there, visiting numerous other award winning cafes and bars before my time was up.
Before visiting Canberra, all I really knew of it was government related. I, of course, visited old and new parliament house while I was there, but there was so much more to discover outside of the ‘school excursion’ draw cards. Just like in any other city, there are oodles of great places to sit and have a wine, fill your bellies, or get that morning cup of coffee to defrost (trust me, you need it!). Being a smaller city, it isn’t too long of a drive from the city centre(s) before you hit fantastic camping or hiking areas, and if you really must get away for a bit, Sydney is just a 3.5 hour drive through beautiful countryside.
As long as my brother lives there, or I have business being there, I think I could easily head back to, and enjoy, Canberra.