7 August 2022

Kingsleys and 5 other places Canberrans would take visitors

| James Coleman
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National Arboretum

The open spaces of the National Arboretum will host a full program of NAIDOC events. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Your far-flung cousin is flying into Canberra Airport next weekend. So what parts of the nation’s capital are you showing off?

Region asked and here’s what you told us:

1. The usual suspects

Canberra’s place as the nation’s capital means we’re home to the biggest and the best of Australia’s institutions – Parliament House (old and new), the Australian War Memorial, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of Australia and the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

But there are others that are unique to Canberra.

The National Arboretum was created after the Molonglo Valley was razed by bushfire in 2003. The Cockington Green Gardens manages to condense the world into almost two acres of miniatures. The Cotter and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve cement our place as the bush capital, both just a short drive from the city. And then, of course, there’s Floriade.

Reader Peter said he would take a visitor to many of these places but adds Tulip Top Gardens on the Federal Highway and a walk around Lake Burley Griffin.

“The list goes on,” he said. “The ACT really has amazing hidden treasures!”

Tulip Top Gardens

Tulip Top Gardens on the Federal Highway is open during September. Photo: Tulip Top Gardens.

Eric said he would take them around all the garden-themed attractions if that was their thing.

“Also, the lookout at Mount Ainslie, Kambah Pool if they like freestyle swimming, Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets on the weekend for a much cheaper feed.”

Lynnmarie added the Canberra Walk-in Aviary at Gold Creek, Erika the Lanyon Homestead, and Colleen the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex near Tidbinbilla.

“Bike paths around the lakes with lunch stops, dinner in Civic, movie at Dendy’s, Macquarie water slides and an open-air movie night,” Colleen goes on with her dream day.

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Heather throws in Quizzic Alley in Fyshwick, described as Australia’s most magical store with the widest range of official Harry Potter merchandise anywhere in the country.

“Spitshak, Canberra Outlet Centre and my horse paddock,” she adds.

Janna lists Gus’s Place (formerly Gus’s Cafe), one of Canberra’s oldest hospitality venues, dating back to 1967 and the first cafe to introduce outdoor dining.

Priscilla mentions Haig Park Markets and Mount Majura Winery, finishing off with dinner at Raku.

Kingsley's chips

It’s official: Kingsleys is one of Canberra’s biggest tourist attractions. Photo: Region.

2. Kingsleys

Kate says it: “I always think we would just take a visitor to the top of Mount Ainslie and Kingsley’s! My, the rest of the country suffers without Kingsley’s.”

Kingsley’s has gathered a local cult following for its (unbelievable) chicken and (awesome) chips but only ventured into the rest of Australia as far as Queanbeyan.

For Jack, it’s Capital Brewing and then Kingsleys. For Rowie, it comes after “something touristy”.

“Always, always have a feed of Kingsleys.”

It’s not without reason.

In 2021, Kingsleys missed out on the best chips in the nation according to Wotif’s Uniquely Aussie Awards, but only by two places. The best chips “have that crunch factor while remaining fluffy on the inside” and are “not too thin, but not too fat”.

However, Region’s Max O’Driscoll wasn’t sold when he tried them

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Telstra Tower

Telstra Tower provides 360-degree views of Canberra and surrounding areas. When it’s open. Photo: File.

3. Telstra Tower (if it wasn’t closed)

“Well, not Telstra Tower,” Jason says.

“Still can’t believe we can no longer visit Telstra Tower,” Rachel says.

The iconic telecommunications tower rises 195.2 metres above Black Mountain, offering spectacular wraparound views of Canberra and beyond, but it’s “currently closed while Telstra upgrades the building interior”.

4. Fyshwick

Obviously, readers were referencing Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets, Quizzic Alley and, if you had a big weekend, the Container Deposit Depot in Barrier St. Otherwise, this one’s a mystery …

5. Not Canberra

It seems not everyone loves Canberra as much as we do.

Daniel says: “Turn them around and put them in/on the bike, car, bus, train or flight right back home.”

For Karen’s ‘cousin’ it’ll be “straight out the other side”, and it’s “back to the border” for Michelle’s relos as well.

Matt sees Canberra as a springboard to Maroochydore, and Queanbeyan (or Quangers) and Batemans Bay also came up.

Was it something we said?

Have we missed any?

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bluestocking8:22 pm 16 Aug 22

How incredible that Tilley Devines wasn’t mentioned before some of those – an iconic Canberra spot with oodles of history and an internationally renowned supporter of live shows…. a great bar and great food, and what a marvellous atmosphere and vibe, a hangout for intellectuals, families and students welcomed to stay and work all day on coffee. I’m wondering why, given some of the choices here are very poor by comparison. I hope not for the reasons I’m thinking.

• Drill Hall Gallery for Nolan’s Riverbend. (Top of the list.)
• Wine in Nara Peace Park as the sun sets. (Anywhere around the lake.)
• Straight to the Himalyan cedars (or the cork forest) at the Arboretum.
• Canberra’s best restaurants were always in the suburbs so find Kita at the site of iconic Chez Moustache, Narrabundah. (Gems too in Watson, Aranda and Weston Creek,)
• Matchstick pastries at Danny’s Bakery, Narrabundah – they sell out daily for a reason.
• Swing by Llewellen Hall as here often something amazing.
• The Wig and Pen is gone –so Zierholtz, maybe, but Capital Brewing is a poor substitute.

Capital Retro2:05 pm 08 Aug 22

Canberra Tourism appears to be focused on “Ignite your Winter” themes according to short videos on YouTube.

This type of advertising would appeal only to a very narrow demographic. Next to useless.

Capital Retro12:58 pm 08 Aug 22

“The National Arboretum was created after the Molonglo Valley was razed by bushfire in 2003.”

Actually it was the 2001 bushfire that started at Coppins Crossing that razed the land where the Arboretum is.

You’ve left out lots!:

1) A walk up any one of the many hills in the Canberra Nature Park (Mt Taylor, Mt Arawang, McQuoids Hill, Oakey Hill – etc etc etc – Sorry I don’t know the names up North).

2) Cotter Reserve > Deep Space Tracking Station > Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve > Tharwa loop or any one of them on their own own.

3) The Molonglo River by Coombs/Denham Prospect.

4) The Namadgi Natioanal Park

5) Lake Ginninderra, Lake Tuggeranong (you can even take your Kingsleys there to enjoy).

6) The Kingston Foreshore/Canberra Wetlands

7) Old Bus Depot Markets and Glass Blowing

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