We asked some people in the know what to do to get the most out of your Canberra experience.
Beverly Growden, General Manager, Canberra Glassworks
- Visit Canberra Glassworks. What it offers that’s different to most institutions in Canberra is that it brings you close to artists and the making of art. You can feel the heat from the tank furnace as the glassblowers gather glass in the hotshop.
- Head to the Parliamentary triangle for national institutions. I love Canberra for its closeness. Visitors can get close to the very best of Australian art and culture in the many national institutions. I particularly love a regular trip into the Parliamentary Triangle to explore them.
- Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve & Namadgi National Park. In Canberra you can also get close to nature. A trip to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve or Namadgi National Park, will reveal historic Aboriginal rock art, koalas, platypus, and don’t forget to look up for the wedgetail eagles.
- Swimming in the Murrumbidgee River. I live in the south which is close to Canberra’s swimming spots along the Murrumbidgee River like Point Hut Pond or Pine Island. Who needs the beach?
- Visit Corin Forest Recreation Park. I love Canberra winters, embellished by tips of white on the Brindabellas. This place is nestled in the mountains and provides a great picnic area, tobogganing in summer or snow play in the winter months.
Liz Bendeich, General Manager, Canberra Convention Bureau
- Join a Sunday morning yoga class in Glebe Park followed by breakfast at the Cupping Room, where world barista champion, Sasa Sestic and his team produce seriously good coffee. Afterwards, browse through the homewares stores and vintage op shops along Lonsdale Street, Braddon.
- Long Saturday lunch in a private pavilion at Pialligo Estate, a farm with an awardwinning market and herb gardens, vineyard, olive groves and smokehouse. Just a 15 minute drive from the city centre, the Pialligo area is a little pocket of country life and ideal for browsing through garden nurseries, orchards and homeware gift shops.
- Cycle around Lake Burley Griffin with a stopover at the National Portrait Gallery for afternoon tea. A bit more cycling before finishing up with a glass of wine and taking in the water views from the deck at the National Museum of Australia.
- Truffle hunt and visit to a cellar door nearby. Go and experience a real truffle hunt where you have the opportunity to dig for a truffle. Be sure to go to one of the local restaurants for a delicious truffle lunch afterwards. Canberra Truffles can organise a Twilight Hunt or Weekend Hunt and cook for groups.
- Give your group a unique team-building experience at Canberra Glassworks where they can make their own stylish paperweight or glass tumbler. Then take them to BrodBurger for the best burgers in Canberra!
Stephen Wood, Manager, National Convention Centre
- Explore the relatively undiscovered secrets of one of Australia’s best emerging wine regions. The Canberra wine region is only 35 minutes’ drive from the town centre. Be sure to include Poacher’s Pantry and their Wily Trout vineyard, Clonakilla and their amazing Shiraz Viognier, and Gundaroo’s Capital Wines with the award-winning Grazing Restaurant.
- Award winning Pialligo Estate. They truly deliver a paddock to plate experience in their fine dining restaurant; with a winery on the estate, as well as an olive grove, orchard and market garden – it is truly unique.
- Enjoy what is possibly Australia’s best and smoothest airport experience at the new award winning Canberra Airport. Book a high value flight with one of the world’s best airlines Singapore Airlines. Direct flights starting in September from about $650 return from Canberra to Singapore.
- Get outdoors and breathe in the fresh air. Cycle, walk or glide on a Segway around Lake Burley Griffin and take in the national icons – the National Gallery, National Library, High Court, Portrait Gallery and New and Old Parliament House. Get more adventurous on a mountain bike and try out the world-class mountain bike facility at Mount Stromlo.
- Kick back and relax over a glass of wonderful local cool climate wine or a craft beer at one of the funky new precincts such as Braddon, New Acton or the Kingston Foreshore.
Dion Bisa, Assistant General Manager, East Hotel
- Local Wine Heaven – I really encourage you to indulge in the Canberra wine scene. Some of my favorites are Nick O’Leary “White Rocks” Riesling, Collector “Rose Red City” Sangiovese, Mount Majura Vineyard Tempranillo and to top it all off, the well-known Clonakilla Shiraz/Viognier, to name just a few.
- Stunning Views – I am fortunate enough to live five minutes’ walk from the base of Red Hill. Once I’ve finished cursing and swearing my way up the 250 steps and some, I get all the benefits… the most amazing views across the south of Canberra and total peace! I recommend this small adventure for a great way to get the heart pumping and for the serenity!
- Voyeurism – The National Portrait Gallery is where you get to stand face to face with people. Perhaps my past life as a psychologist comes into play here, but my mind runs at a hundred miles per hour as I analyze the faces, the clothes, the background, the expression and the feeling portrayed. It never disappoints.
- A Girl’s Gotta Shop! – You cannot miss out on my all-time-favorite shop in Manuka called the Department of the Exterior. This small boutique owned by Susan Taylor has been supporting selective Australian and New Zealand labels for 10 years.
- Hmm Truffles – June to August is the official truffle season in Canberra. During this period there are truffle dinners, cooking classes, wine pairings and truffle hunting, Love it!
Leanne Gollasch, Director, Conference Logistics
- Kingston Foreshore – a vibrant new precinct on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin consisting of elegant restaurants, cafes and funky bars. It is a great place to meet after work with friends or to entertain clients with lunch. The restaurants come to life at night with live music, great food and a relaxing, fun atmosphere.
- National Arboretum – See Canberra from a different perspective with stunning views from the main building. With unbelievable views of Parliament House, Captain Cook memorial fountain and the surrounding suburbs, the arboretum is a beautiful place for a welcome reception on the deck as you watch the sunset over Canberra.
- Tidbinbilla – a short 30 minute drive from the CBD where you can get up close and personal with koalas, emus, kangaroos and maybe even a platypus. A perfect place to bring international guests to see Australia’s unique wildlife in their natural habitat. If time is of the essence, the award winning National Zoo and aquarium also offers an up close animal experiences.
- Wineries and restaurants Pialligo – award-winning wineries and restaurants are just five minutes from Canberra’s airport. Multiple choice of cuisines to choose from to entertain intimate gatherings to large groups.
- Parliament House / War Memorial / National Museum/ National Gallery / National Portrait Gallery – all these tourist attractions are free. Also excellent venues for events.