Often overlooked, Australia’s Capital proves exactly why it was voted third best city in the world.
While Canberra has a stigma of being all about politics and museums, there’s so much more. After being voted Lonely Planet’s third best city in the world to visit in 2018, the world’s eyes have been open to the small inland city.
Where to stay
There are all types of accommodation to suit any traveller wanting to explore Canberra; from architecturally designed masterpieces to well-known chains. But, it’s always nice to give back and family-owned and run East Hotel does exactly that.
Located in the trendy Kingston district, you are only moments away from the city hub and most of Canberra’s main attractions.
The rooms are generous in size with separate lounge room for the apartments along with self-contained kitchen for all rooms. Whether you are a solo traveller or have a family in tow, there's an option for you.
A great bonus is the free bikes that you can take for a spin – making sightseeing very easy. Pedal around Lake Burley Griffin or venture to Manuka or Kingston for a spot of shopping. The free in-house movies are also a nice touch.
What to do
If you're looking for some fun, drop into the Australian Institute of Sport and Questacon. Challenge yourself in the interactive sport exhibit and then be a part of hands-on science experiments. Great for kids and the young at heart.
For those who want a bit more fun in the sun, check out some of the world-class golf courses, take a walk up Black Mountain and soak up the view at the summit or hire canoes and explore Lake Burley Griffin.
Head to Lonsdale St in Braddon and the Canberra Centre for some great shopping and stop in at the abundant cafes when you need to give your credit card a break.
Where to eat
Just downstairs from East Hotel lies MUSE café. Bookings are recommended on weekends as it fills up fast! The menu has everything from freshly-baked pastries to decadent savoury soufflés. The coffee comes quick and smooth – a great way to kick off your morning and fuel your body for whatever adventure you have planned.
Brunch is huge in Canberra and there are not shortages of delicious cafes to tick off your foodie list while you’re here. One stand out is The Front Café and Gallery. Located in the heart of Lyneham, this is a café with heart. Along with the gallery featuring local talent, there are regular live music acts, poetry readings and comedy. With a head chef hailing from Melbourne’s famous restaurant Supernormal, you can’t go wrong with the fried chicken burger – provolone cheese is the secret here.
Dinner is sorted thanks to Agostinis. Housed adjacent to the East Hotel lobby, this Italian eatery has become the first restaurant in Canberra to receive the exclusive Ospitalità Italiana certification (a worldwide recognised brand that indicates the best quality of food and service in Italian restaurants, by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in affiliation with the Italian government in Rome).
Here you can try Italian dishes that you’ll struggle to find elsewhere, like Frico – a typical dish from the Friuli region of Italy that’s made from layers of oven-roasted Montasio cheese and potato. They also offer fresh house-made pasta and gelato.
Agostinis is often filled with a mix of hotel guests and locals, so you know it’s a winner.
After dinner, hit the NewActon and Braddon precincts to discover some great bars like the plush Parlour Wine Room or the underground Black Market Bar. If you can't be bothered venturing out but still want a night cap, Joe's Bar (right across from Agostini's) will take care of you - their cocktails are something else.