The best function venues in Canberra

Pialligo Fields, at Pialligo Estate

Pialligo Estate offers a variety of perfect venues for your event. Photo: Pialligo Estate.

A special occasion calls for a special venue. The good news is that there’s no shortage of great places to hold your next event in Canberra. Whether you’re planning a wedding, milestone birthday, engagement party or corporate dinner, chances are there’s a function venue in Canberra to suit your needs and budget.

In this article, we’ll show you what to look for in a function venue and list some of Canberra’s best. Let’s get started.

What makes a great function venue?

From decorations to catering and seating arrangements, there’s a lot to consider when planning an event. Getting the basics right, and enlisting professional help at the start (like your venue’s events manager) can help ensure your special day is a success.

But what should you look for when choosing a function venue in Canberra? We recommend keeping the following points in mind.

  • Location. Location will set the tone for your event, so choose carefully. Do you need a formal space for a corporate function, or a relaxed space with a cozy, intimate atmosphere? In addition to aesthetics, consider practical requirements like accessibility, parking and amenities. It’s all about making your guests’ experience as memorable as possible.
  • Food and drinks. It’s no secret that delicious food and quality drinks make for happier guests. Many venues will have in-house chefs and catering staff, while others engage external caterers for events. Either way, they shouldn’t mind if you sample the menu beforehand – though it may cost extra. Read reviews to confirm the quality of the catering, and double check that the venue can cater to people with dietary requirements.
  • Experience and reliability. With practice comes perfection. An experienced and reliable staff – from the manager to the caterers – will help your event run smoothly. From pre-event planning to handling problems on the day, an experienced staff will be able to put your mind at ease, allowing you to relax and enjoy your special occasion.
  • A customised approach. Look for a function venue that is willing to customise your event to suit your needs and your vision. You shouldn’t feel pressured into adopting a cookie-cutter approach if that’s not your style.

The best function venues in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and maintain a minimum average of 4/5 stars on both Google and Facebook reviews.

National Gallery of Australia

The National Gallery of Australia, or NGA, hosts events including wedding ceremonies and receptions, conferences, annual general meetings and workshops. From the majestic and multi-purpose Gandel Hall (up to 900 guests) to the intimate Sculpture Garden pavilion (up to 140 guests), its team can help turn your next big moment into an unforgettable experience.

Catering for all NGA functions is provided exclusively by The Big Group Hospitality Agency, a dynamic leader in the catering and events industry.

As Adrienne Robertson wrote on Google, “A must see when in Canberra. Beautifully curated Australian and international art and exhibits. The building itself is a masterpiece. Absolutely loved it.”

The National Museum of Australia

The National Museum of Australia is a memorable and versatile setting for any occasion. With a range of grand indoor and outdoor spaces, sweeping decks and expansive windows with mountain, lake and city views, it’s an ideal location for weddings, engagement celebrations, corporate functions and cocktail events.

Catering is provided by three-time winner of ACT Wedding Caterer of the Year Broadbean Catering & Events.

Here’s what function guest Garth had to say about their experience at the National Museum of Australia on Google Reviews: “I attended NMA for a function. Broadbean catering were nothing beyond exceptional. Ben and Leslie lead their team in a friendly, efficient and high professional manner. It was a glorious night and the function staff were phenomenal!”

National Arboretum Canberra

Boasting sweeping views, forest spaces and award-winning architecture, the National Arboretum Canberra is an ideal location for your next event. Choose from picturesque indoor and outdoor venues including the village centre, the Margaret Whitlam pavilion, the bonsai garden, the discovery garden or the events terrace.

Ginger Catering is the exclusive catering provider for all National Arboretum Canberra events. Its venue and events team has extensive experience in all kinds of functions and will guide you through the entire planning process.

As Neville McLaren wrote on Google, “The National Arboretum is brilliant. It is an amazing building with a fantastic view of Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin and it’s surrounding gardens (several different species of trees and a large display of Bonsai).”

Hyatt Hotel Canberra

If you’d like your next event to have a touch of opulence, Hyatt Hotel Canberra could be the venue for you. It offers some of the most luxurious meeting and event venues available for hire in Canberra – from intimate gatherings for 14 guests through to gala events for up to 600 guests.

Hyatt Hotel Canberra has its own event management team (including a dedicated wedding team) to take the stress out of the planning process. It will work with you to ensure that your event matches your vision, help coordinate vendors, and even customise menus to suit your theme.

Michelle Norris reviewed on Google, “Beautiful venue, easy reasonably priced parking, very comfortable conference setting with delicious finger food and great coffee to match the service”.

Canberra Rex Hotel

Located in the heart of Canberra, Canberra Rex Hotel’s versatile function venues (seven meeting rooms and two ballrooms) are suitable for weddings, board meetings, conferences, banquets and celebrations. Whether you need a space for five people or 600, it has a space to suit.

Canberra Rex Hotel provides personalised service for all events. It also offers comprehensive and value-for-money packages, with catering taken care of in-house by its own executive chef.

As Kell Payne wrote on Google, “Lovely venue for a function, great room with ambience, good food with attentive service and staff.”

The Boat House

Situated on private parklands with stunning views of Lake Burley Griffin through floor-to-ceiling windows, The Boathouse is a private and picturesque venue for your next private event or corporate function. It has three conference rooms, a multi-award winning fine dining restaurant, and a talented kitchen and service team that knows exactly how to keep functions running smoothly.

As Visnja Raznjevic reviewed on Google, “A very charming venue set in a park overlooking the lake (parking is available for patrons). The food menu was well balanced, seasonal and the ingredients worked wonderfully together.”

Hotel Realm Canberra

Hotel Realm Canberra is an award-winning function venue conveniently located in the Parliamentary Triangle. From the national ballroom (up to 800 guests) to architecturally-designed function rooms, your guests can enjoy a range of world-class facilities in a sophisticated and chic environment.

Hotel Realm is a popular venue for weddings, board meetings, conferences, trade shows and awards nights. Part of its appeal is the easy parking – there are over 800 car parks in the Realm Precinct for hotel meeting delegates and event guests.

Cameron Coghill wrote on Google, “Came for a 2 day conference. Great venue in the ballroom. Great lighting and sound for the conference, great food options as they cater for everyones dietary needs. Plus there is the bar downstairs for when it all wraps up. What a way to finish!”

OTIS Dining Hall

If you’d like your guests to enjoy fine food in a relaxed, nostalgic environment, Kingston’s OTIS Dining Hall could be the venue for you. It’s a hatted restaurant run by multi award-winning chef Damian Brabender, and it caters to both smaller and larger groups.

OTIS Dining Hall’s flexible group packages start at $45 per person for lunch and $60 per person for dinner. Its team works directly with you to tailor a menu that every guest will enjoy. Special dietary requests are catered to where ever possible.

Here’s what diner Gabriel had to say about their function experience: “After a small family wedding we had a banquet dinner at Otis and the food and service was flawless and done with great care. Damien (owner) personally made sure the menu was to our liking and made sure throughout the night to check in, all kindly and unobtrusively. We are very thankful.”

Vikings Town Centre

Whether you’re planning a festive cocktail party, a formal dinner or a monthly board meeting, the evocative surroundings at the Town Centre Vikings are sure to impress.

With an abundance of natural light, the Athllon and Rowland Rooms are grand atmospheric spaces, ideally suited to cocktail style events, corporate banquets, wedding receptions and private events. For more intimate gatherings, the sweeping views of the Brindabella Mountains provide a comfortable and stylish atmosphere for private lunches or dinners within the Back of Baamoo, Private Dining Room.

Vikings Town Centre offers cocktail, platter, buffet, banquet and barbecue packages, as well as catering options for conferences.

As Charles Muller wrote on Google, “Friendly, efficient staff. Good servings of great food. Pleasant location – better than many expensive restaurants! Thoroughly recommended!”

With the refurbishments complete, a sparkling new look restaurant, bar and café and an extended lounge is ready to welcome members. Ample free parking is also available onsite.

To assist with planning your function, check out our list of the best event planners in Canberra. You might also like to check out our list of the best catering services, Canberra has to offer.

Your experience with function venues in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the function venues listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I provide the venue with my own decor for my function?
Absolutely, but within reason. Venue managers should have no trouble with you bringing your own table decorations, such as flowers or candles, and some smaller things like balloons. However, if you want to bring some big decorations or re-organise the space, communicate with your venue manager and see what they can do for you.
What info do venue managers need ahead of the function?
The most important information is how many people will be attending your event. After that, it depends on whether or not your venue is providing food and drinks as well - in which case, you will need to talk to them about any dietary requirements that need to be accommodated.
Can I organise entertainment for my function?
Usually, yes! This will take some coordination between the venue and your entertainment - live bands, for example, will require space and easy access to power. As long as you give all parties enough notice, this should be fine.
What extra service can venues provide for my function?
Besides just providing the space for your event, venues can also provide catering and decoration. Most venues will usually have event packages that you can choose from, to help make the logistics of putting on your function that much easier.
Can I make special menu requests of the venue's caterers?
Absolutely! Any caterer will want to know - with plenty of notice - about dietary requirements and allergies. If you want them to make specific dishes, or perhaps you're thinking of providing your own dessert, just make sure you give them plenty of notice to see if they are capable of making those kinds of changes.

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