I’ve met a lot of people overseas who end up travelling to Australia. While Canberra is not on the must do lists of all tourists (the Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and the Great Barrier Reef are usually the top tourist spots among the people I know), Canberra sometimes gets a look in for those interested in seeing Australia’s capital.
So where do you take visitors to showcase what Canberra has to offer apart from the landmarks such as Parliament House, Lake Burley Griffin and the Australian War Memorial?
I recently had my sister visiting as well as a friend from Canada. These are a few of the places we went that achieved top marks in their eyes, as well as a few sights and restaurants suggested by colleagues and friends.
Of course this is only a small sample of places to visit and I’m sure there are many more great places to visit throughout Canberra.
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
My Canadian friend was desperate to see kangaroos, and I knew just the place to go. You don’t have to even step out of your car to see kangaroos here. My friend was ecstatic to get up close to lots of kangaroos.
I took my friend out near the Tidbinbilla visitor centre. There’s a short, grassy walk there that takes you past mobs of kangaroos. For any overseas tourists, this is a highly recommended spot.
If I had friends visiting who were also interested in hiking, I’d also take them up to Gibraltar Peak.
A popular one more for the kids but can be enjoyed by accompanying adults. My sister and niece went to Questacon and my four-year-old niece was enthralled for hours (and she is quite hard to please!). Also for kids, the merry-go-round in Civic which dates back to 1914 seems to be another popular attraction.
Mt Ainslie lookout
My sister and my Canadian friend loved the view of Canberra from Mt Ainslie – you can walk or drive to the top. I see many a tourist up on Mt Ainslie so it seems a popular choice. It’s also a great place for newcomers to Canberra to get a good idea of the layout of the city and point out the landmarks. This is a good lookout any time of year but I really like it at around the middle of autumn when all the trees are starting to change colour. Black Mountain is also another great lookout for visitors.
Flint in the Vines, Murrumbateman
The Flint in the Vines restaurant at Shaw Vineyard seems to be a popular choice among Canberra residents and has come up a few times in comments on The RiotACT and in conversations with friends. I haven’t been there yet but would consider heading out there when friends visit with a penchant for wine. The Canberra District has more than 30 cellar doors to cater for all tastes so it’s a good choice for visitors.
Sample great food and coffee
Canberra has some fantastic cafes and restaurants and I’ve had some excellent meals throughout my time in the capital. I live in Braddon so I would most likely take visitors to some of my favourite spots throughout the area. Top picks would be Lonsdale Street Roasters or Eighty/Twenty for coffee and brunch, Chez Frederic for lunch, Eightysix or Italian and Sons for dinner and Bentspoke Brewing Co or Hopscotch for a few drinks. Of course, there’s plenty of great food and drink options throughout Canberra so there’s lots to choose from.
Bungendore and the Wood Works Gallery
For those seeking small town charms, Bungendore is worth a visit and is only half an hour drive from Civic. A friend of mine visiting Canberra from Brisbane said the Bungendore Wood Works Gallery with its impressive display of handcrafted furniture as well as artworks, and the Le Tres Bon restaurant, was among the highlights of her trip to the town.
What are your suggestions of places to go when you have visitors?