2 January 2020

2019 Year in Review - Lifestyle

| Amy M
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The most popular posts under the lifestyle banner on The RiotACT in 2019 were all about the good things in life, from decadent places to eat and drink to spots to take visitors. We delved into reality TV, checked out interesting places to stay, and showcased what the region has to offer.

And in number one spot in 2019? A story that highlighted some fabulous romantic, rustic or luxurious glamping locations around Canberra where you can ramp your camping experience up a notch and immerse yourself in the great outdoors without giving up any modern amenities.

10. School of Music head is making the sweet sounds of change at ANU

Associate Professor Ken Curio

Associate Professor Kim Cunio, head of the ANU’s School of Music. Photo: G Jacobs.

The new head of the ANU School of Music is a refreshingly straightforward person, wrote Genevieve Jacobs in October. Associate Professor Kim Cunio has been in the role for just under a year and still spends a substantial chunk of his time just listening to people.

“I’m still managing the emotional reactions, the beliefs and the legacy of a very difficult time,” he says. “Running the School itself is just the tip of the iceberg. I spend a huge amount of time in the community. I go to lots of concerts and talk to people until they’re tired of talking. But we can’t live in the past.”

9. Raku and Mooseheads take top gongs at 2019 ACT Hospitality Awards


Raku has been serving delicious modern Japanese cuisine since September 2017. Photo: Supplied.

In July, the ACT Hospitality Awards were presented to the best in the industry. Thirty-three awards were awarded to Canberra’s top hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars and industry workers.

Lachlan Roberts wrote that modern Japanese restaurant Raku took out the top award, with Buvette awarded the best wine list, The Dock named the best sporting entertainment venue and Molly awarded the best cocktail, lounge or small bar.

8. Towering fibreglass animals and 55 activities at zoo’s new playground

The zoo’s new adventure playground

The zoo’s new adventure playground for kids aged 2-12 includes 55 interactive activities and life-sized animal sculptures. Photos: National Zoo & Aquarium.

A new adventure playground for children opened at the National Zoo & Aquarium in January, complete with life-sized fibreglass animals and 55 interactive activities for kids to enjoy, and Glynis Quinlan checked it out.

The AdventureLand playground aims to become a destination playground in the heart of Canberra and features cubby houses, a large tree house with a three-metre-high slide, net climbers, flying foxes and more.

7. Drought be damned, the Queanbeyan Show must go on

Show Society VP Josh Williams, Paul Nicholl from Bayldon Ag, Elwin Bell from Bell's Amusements and Show Society president Eddie Zarb

Show Society vice-president Josh Williams, Paul Nicholl from Bayldon Ag, Elwin Bell from Bell’s Amusements and Show Society president Eddie Zarb are ready for this weekend’s Queanbeyan Show. Photos: Michelle Kroll, Region Media.

The Queanbeyan-Palerang shire is in drought and less than 30 minutes from Canberra there are farmers hand-feeding cattle. Others are finding it hard to even source food for their stock. Some have little or no internet, no water and no rain to fill the dams that are dry. Yet as Michael Weaver wrote in November, the Queanbeyan Show brings together farmers to showcase everything that is great about living on the land.

6. Unusual and exotic places to stay within a few hours of Canberra

The Shed at Broger’s End

The Shed at Broger’s End is a converted machinery shed doubling as a luxurious eco-haven. Photo: Broger’s End website.

From a remote lighthouse on the South Coast to a tiny house in the Southern Highlands and a shed in Kangaroo Valley, there is a whole range of unusual and exotic places to stay at within a few hours’ drive of Canberra.

Glynis Quinlan went on the hunt for some weird and wonderful places to stay in not too far from Canberra and came up with these four – although we know there are many more. Take a look and start planning your next short break.

5. Top 10 Canberra places to take visiting family and friends

Canberra sunset

Canberrans are having more visitors than ever before. But where are the best places to take them? Photo: VisitCanberra.

The statistics bear it out – Canberrans are having more visitors than ever before. According to the latest tourism research figures, just over a million people out of the record numbers who visited Canberra in the 12 months up until September 2018 were visiting friends and relatives. This means that not only is Canberra proving to be an increasingly attractive drawcard for visitors but that residents are becoming very busy hosting those visits, wrote Glynis Quinlan.

4. The koels (and their call) return to Canberra for spring

A female koel in Duffy

A female koel in Duffy. Photos: Ian Fraser.

Ian Fraser loves the sound of the first koel of spring, with their ringing COO-ee or manic ascending whoopa whoopa whoopa welcome signs of the warmer weather. But his pleasure in the arrival of the noisy bird is far from universally shared by all Canberrans, he wrote.

3. What really goes on behind-the-scenes of reality TV, as told by local artist Kirrah Amosa

Kirrah Amosa

Kirrah Amosa found out the hard way that reality TV is not all that it is cracked up to be. Photo: wearefoundau.

It might look all glitz and glamour but for many contestants, like local artist Kirrah Amosa, reality TV is not actually reality, wrote Lachlan Roberts. In June, Kirrah appeared on Channel Nine’s popular singing competition The Voice to perform in front of superstar coaches Kelly Rowland, Boy George, Delta Goodrem and Guy Sebastian, despite her initial hesitation to audition for the show. But she found out the hard way that reality TV is not all it’s cracked up to be.

2. House Rules heads to Gundaroo and Canberra to renovate a crumbling 1800’s cottage

House Rules

Katie, Alex and baby Hallie in front of their crumbling 1800s cottage which is badly in need of a makeover. Photo: Channel Seven.

Channel Seven’s hit program House Rules headed to Gundaroo and Canberra in 2019 as competition frontrunners Katie and Alex Middlemiss handed over the keys to their crumbling historic cottage to fellow contestants for a makeover.

Glynis Quinlan reported that the nation’s capital earned some solid screen time as the teams made the 40-minute drive to Canberra to go shopping in stores such as Beaumont Tiles, Early Settler, Highgrove Bathrooms and Fantastic Furniture, with Katie and Alex’s cottage ultimately doubling in size and value.

1. Six romantic, rustic or luxurious ‘glamping’ adventures within three hours of Canberra


This luxury tent at Jervis Bay has a wrap-around deck, private bathroom and fire pit. Photo: Glamping Hub.

Australia’s love for the outdoors is being reflected in a growing trend towards glamping (or luxury camping) with Canberrans joining in the move to enjoy this form of nature-based accommodation, wrote Glynis Quinlan in our number one story of 2019.

According to online booking platform Glamping Hub, glamping has never been more popular and Canberrans have an array of opportunities to try it out within easy driving distance. Here’s more about them.

Join us tomorrow for a look back at the top motoring articles on RiotACT in 2019.

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