Canberra more than just a place for pollies.
The Bush Capital, that’s what some people call it.
Others say it’s in the middle of nowhere, no more than a remote region of NSW.
While neither of those things are technically wrong, there’s a whole lot right about Canberra.
So what might you not realise about this Territory?
1) It has all four seasons
While some people might think this sounds obvious, Western Australians can appreciate that having four distinct seasons is actually pretty special.
Depending on the time of year in Canberra, you may be:
- Walking among cherry blossoms (that’s right, you don’t have to go all the way to Japan)
- Sunbaking or even swimming in one of the many rivers or enormous lakes (there are many sandy banks that almost make it feel like a day on the beach)
- Throwing up a heap of auburn leaves from underneath a fiery red and orange tree
- Getting snowed on while watching the footy in Manuka (no for real, this happened last year)
2) Its surrounded by mountains Gandalf… MOUNTAINS!
Once again, this is something Western Australians are amazed at because, well, Perth is very flat.
Canberra on the other hand is surrounded by mountains (no not just hills).
While driving to parliament house from north to south in the winter, you would see actual snow-tipped peaks.
That’s right, you’re not in Kansas anymore folks.
3) Its restaurant and bar scene is POPPIN
This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise given the clientele the hospitality sector caters for through most of the year.
People like, oh I don’t know, the Prime Minister of the country.
As a result of some fancy folk being in town whenever parliament sits, the Canberra food and drink scene is actually quite impressive.
But besides the high-end Asian fusion, you’ve got just as delicious cheap eats. There are many parts of Canberra full of Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean hotspots that do not disappoint.
4) Its literally the country’s HQ
You know when you hear about the NATIONAL gallery or the NATIONAL museum or the NATIONAL war memorial.
Well, where do you think all these things are?
In the NATION’S capital of course.
Besides being home to Federal Parliament, which is a great place to visit and tour, Canberra is also full of portrait galleries, art galleries, museums and… of course… Questacon – the national science and technology centre.
5) Roadtrips for days
Being in the middle of nowhere, as some may put it, has its advantages. It means you’re surrounded by places to go.
Whether it’s the coast – Bateman’s Bay and Jervis Bay being the most popular – the mountains – Thredbo and Perisher – or the national parks like Tidbinbilla or Namadgi, there is literally SO MUCH TO DO AND SEE.
6) So many animals
The bird life in Canberra is next level. The first morning you are awoken by the dulcet call of a currawong – think of a smallish looking crow – you realise you’re somewhere special.
There are insanely beautiful birds from the Rosella to the Gang Gang and then there’s the animals that don’t fly.
Sure, Perth has Kangaroos, but what about platypuses, wombats and echidnas? Seeing these creatures is not as difficult as you would imagine, especially with all the national parks nearby.
7) All the zoomies
Perth can be a bit hard to get around without a car, but in Canberra getting around can be a huge highlight of a stay in the Territory.
Not only is the city extremely bike-friendly, think an Amsterdam level of bike culture, it’s also small enough to cater for public electric scooters.
All you need is an app and you’re zooming away on a scooter that reaches a comfortable 25km/h.
You’ll find yourself looking for excuses to go on errands just to hop on one of these bad boys.
8) The second hand life
Canberra has a heap of wonderful vintage markets, but where it stands out is in its second hand community.
Now most Canberrans are public servants, even diplomats. So that means the people who are looking to sell things on Facebook or give things away to Vinnies are pretty well off… and stylish.
Sydney and Melbourne probably have a bigger Facebook marketplace and more second hand stores, but you could be driving for hours to get that perfect pin-stripe coat. But not Canberra. This is a city where a 20 minute drive is a trek.
It is legitimately a second-hand lover’s paradise.
9) Wine and beer
Two very important measures of any city.
Canberra actually has a heap of wonderful wineries, many of which have won awards.
Clonakilla is one of the most famous and its Shiraz is – you guessed it – award-winning.
But Canberra is not just a city for your wine connoisseurs. No no, craft beer lovers will be in heaven too.
Remember what we said about those award-winning wines?
Well guess where the home of the best beer in the country is?
Bentspoke, in Canberra.
Bentspoke’s Crankshaft won the 2020 GABS, which is widely known as the official authority on the best beers in the country.
10) Up where the air is clear
There are only a handful of places in the world where hot air balloons are allowed to fly over national parliament – and one of them is Canberra.
It is very much the hot air ballooning capital of Australia.
Not only is it fun to go up into one of these massive balloons, but seeing them all floating above on your way to lunch is pretty cool as well.
The love for hot air balloons has seen artists literally take their creations to the sky, with the world-famous skywhale a result of this.
So where next? For Australia travel inspiration visit sowherenext.com.au.