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Travel Guide: Canberra Itinerary Ideas

12th Oct 2011 2:33am | By Editor

The galleries and museums are all worth a visit.

Canberra in 2-3 days

Day 1

Start at the National Musuem for a quirky, interesting and must-see take on Australian history, culture and lifestyle. Hire a bike (nearby to the museum) and do the 16km loop around picturesque Lake Burley Griffin. Head to vibrant Kingston for dinner – wander around the block and marvel at the array of restaurants. Just about any will serve up good food. Follow up with a drink at Filthy McFadden’s

Day 2

Check out the Australian War Memorial, then take the 30-40 minute walk up the bushland of Mt Ainslie (directly behind) for a great view over the city. Head over to the grandeur of Parliament House (checking out the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on the way), and fill in any time at Old Parliament House. Have dinner in the city, and ensure you leave time for a drink at the fabulous Wig and Pen for sensational beers brewed on the premises. For the grungiest but most atmospheric bar in Canberra head to the Phoenix, or if you fancy a stylish cocktail or glass of wine, head to the Hippo bar.

Day 3

The Botanic Gardens, on the base of Black Mountain, are well worth a wander, then head up the mountain to the 195m tower on top - there's a great view of Canberra from the viewing platform. The National Gallery of Australia has a great collection and often features blockbuster special exhibitions, after which pop into the grand Hyatt Hotel for a drink in classy surrounds.

Canberra in one week

Days 1-3

Give yourself extra time at some of the bigger attractions. The National Museum and War Memorial could each occupy a full day (without becoming boring), while the National Gallery and High Court could occupy another day.

Day 4

Drop by the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and chat with some of the residents there. They’ll welcome tourists who show an interest in learning about the ongoing issues and problems facing indigenous Australians. Then head into Old Parliament House, then up to (new) Parliament House.

Day 5

Check out the National Film and Sound Archive, and the National Archives, which both have great displays and temporary exhibitions (they’re both much more fun than they’re boring names suggest). The Austrlaian National University, with its a vibrant undergraduate culture and a great bar is worth a wander around.

Day trips in and around Canberra

The Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve has some great short and long walks and is a great place to spot local wildlife. A few km down the road is the Canberra Space Centre, a collection of giant satellite dishes, with the biggest a very big 70m in diameter.

There are several wineries around Canberra, which do a pretty decent job of producing cold-climate reds and whites. If you’ve got a car exploring three or four would be a great day out.

Nightlife

It’s worth spending a night in Dickson, with its collection of Asian restaurants and the always funky Trinity bar.

Ditto for Manuka (actually in the suburb of Kingston), which has plenty of restaurants and a couple of decent bars.

The Hyatt Hotel is a grand example of beautiful art deco architecture and style. It’s pricey for food, but for a few drinks it’s hard to beat.

Tilley’s Devine Café in the inner north suburb of Lyneham is a deserved Canberra icon. It’s an atmospheric café and bar, that’s great for food and/or drink any time of the day or night.


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