You’ve touched down in a strange new city and you’re keen to check out what it has to offer. Preferably before you’ve even left the airport, just in case you don’t like what you find and want the next available flight out.
Okay, the fate of Canberra’s tourism may not hang in the balance like that, but Canberra Airport has welcomed a new gift store designed to showcase the best of the nation’s capital.
Merchant Canberra is said to “celebrate the amazing range of local chocolatiers, vineyards, ceramics and homewares (just to name a few) that this part of the world has to offer”.
It’s a local chain of Lagardere AWPL, the company behind the Merchant stores in other terminals around the world. Multi-site manager Ben Norton said they hand-picked the items from local businesses.
“Inside the store, customers will find local brands including Bison, Wildbrumby, Helm Wines, Jasper and Myrtle chocolates and Indigenous artwork from around Australia – perfect for those last-minute gifts.”
Bison is known around the world for its simple and coloured glass and ceramic homeware, founded and designed by Canberra’s Brian Tunks. Brian attended school in Scandinavia but trained in ancient history and archaeology here at the ANU. He coupled this with a love for Asian ceramics to create “an Australian design classic”.
Wildbrumby in the Snowy Mountains between Jindabyne and Thredbo is the highest distillery in Australia and produces an award-winning range of liqueur, schnapps, gin and vodka.
Helm Wines was established in 1973 as one of the first commercial wineries in the Canberra District Wine Region, just outside Murrumbateman.
As for Jasper and Myrtle, this family-owned chocolate factory is situated right here in the ACT, in Fyshwick, and makes classic and flavoured bars on top of coated products and drinking chocolate.
“You will also find the finest natural skincare, jewellery, apparel and gifts from around Australia,” Ben says.
There’s even the opportunity for a sneaky pre-flight wine tasting experience.
Merchant arrives at the same time a favourite of the Canberra Airport terminal – Noodles XO – reopens.
The noodle and sushi restaurant serves a range of Asian delights, from dumplings and pho to hand-rolled sushi and their signature laksa. It’s the fifth food and drink option in the Canberra Airport.
Airport Retail Enterprises (ARE) general manager Luke Tulloch said the restaurants were forced to close during the pandemic and their reopening heralds the return to travel as usual.
“The restaurant is a tailor-made offering and complements the high quality and great experience travellers experience at Canberra Airport.”
These openings also coincide with several new airline services, including Jetstar to the Gold Coast, Link Airways to Coffs Harbour and the restart of international services later this year.
Qatar was scheduled to fly daily between Doha and Canberra, via Melbourne, from 1 October, but this has been pushed back to 1 December for “operational reasons”.
“We are always trying to enrich the travel experience for Canberrans and our visitors, with a strong ongoing focus on showcasing local products,” head of property Richard Snow said.
Merchant Canberra is located at Departures, Level 2, Canberra Airport. It’s open seven days a week from 7 am to 8 pm.