Travel Guide to Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

by possandruby

Canberra – Australia’s National Capital, is one of the youngest capital cities in the world, proclaimed in 1913. Due to a fierce rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney it was determined that Australia’s capital city and government administration, would be situated in a purpose-built city halfway between the rivals. 

The city is often perceived as a destination reserved only for school excursions and un-exciting political escapades but at present, Canberra has a new lease on life and is emerging as a must visit hot spot.  Boasting a hip food and wine scene, renowned artists and makers and home to many world-class galleries and museums, Canberra is shaking off the dull city vibe and seeing breweries and street art enliven the downtown streets. 

With an accessible airport and regular flights from most other capital cities, a visit to Canberra is easily achieved for a weekend escape or a mid- week break. The downtown precinct is reasonably walkable and a hire car or ride share will get you around to some of the outer suburbs, where there are many new and unique experiences popping up. Here are some recommendations for things to see, places to eat and stay.

Things to see and do in Canberra

National Portrait Gallery 

Established in the late 1990’s this is one of the nation’s newest collections and boasts more than 2300 individual works capturing people from from all walks of life in various mediums. The dedicated gallery is housed in a beautiful, architecturally designed, light-filled space. As happens a lot in Canberra, the building design was chosen as the winner of an international design competition.  The result was an inspiring structure made using local materials.  Wander the galleries free of charge and learn about both the subject and artist along the way. Many Archibald Prize winners and some entrants form part of the collection. The portrait gallery sits across the road from the National Gallery of Australia which is also well worth a visit.

National Portrait Gallery, King Edward Terrace, Parkes, Canberra

Australian War Memorial

Overlooking Lake Burley Griffin is situated the national remembrance monument, recognising Australian’s who perished in conflicts while serving their country.  The space combines a memorial, museum and archive facility all in one location and is a respectful and sombre setting to learn about Australia’s involvement in war. Every day at 4.45pm there is a Last Post commemorative ceremony.  A moving tribute to the fallen where a story of a service person from the Roll of Honour is  shared. While here visit the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier, in 1993 the remains of an unknown, Australian World War 1 soldier were brought home and laid to rest in the Hall of Memory as a symbol of those who never returned from war. Entry to the memorial is free.

Australian War Memorial, Treloar Crescent, Campbell, Canberra

Australian National Botanic Gardens

Get back to nature with a visit to the beautiful botanic gardens, set at the foot of Black Mountain. Here you can explore at your own leisure or join one of the organised tours. The gardens feature plants from across Australia from the arid outback to the lush rainforests. During your visit you may be lucky enough to meet some of the resident water dragons. These harmless lizards enjoy the gardens as much as the visitors and can can be seen basking in the sun or eating the insects around the rock garden. Entry is free and the visitor centre displays a program of activities for each day. There is an eco day spa and a cafe available to visitors.

Australian National Botanic Gardens, Clunes Ross Street, Acton, Canberra

National Museum of Australia

There is a bit of something for everyone at the National Museum from unique visiting exhibitions to events and activities, the program is as diverse as our nation. The permanent exhibition is laid out over two floors and is categorised by a selection of galleries beginning at the Great Southern Land, focusing on Australia’s environment. Each area has interactive displays and is curated in such a way that you can spend as much or as little time as you like in each space. There is a Garden of Australian Dreams, a cafe, and a well-stocked gift shop on site.  General admission is free while costs may apply to some activities and exhibitions.

National Museum of Australia, Lawson Crescent, Acton, Canberra

Places to eat in Canberra

Corella Bar

This small stylish bar/restaurant in Lonsdale Street, Braddon is an exceptional dining experience. The drinks list is extensive and features predominantly Australian suppliers. The service is personalised and exceptional and the team work together to match food and drinks to each guests taste. Choose from dishes that highlight seasonal Australian produce and indigenous ingredients. The intimate space is perfect for an evening of indulgence and lingering over delicious desserts.

Corella Bar, 14 Lonsdale Street, Braddon

Eighty Six (north)

One of two restaurants the north branch is located in the foodie hub of Braddon. The service is friendly and attentive and dishes are created at a rapid pace from the busy open kitchen. The menu is succinct and delicious with a selection of appetisers, mains and desserts. All the dishes are well matched by a strong wine and beer list and signature cocktails.

Eighty Six (North), cnr Elouera and Lonsdale Streets, Braddon

Maple and Clove

In the suburban streets of Barton is the modern indoor/outdoor space of Maple and Clove. Here the kitchen hums and bubbly, helpful staff deliver mouth-watering wholesome dishes to eager diners. Each dish is beautifully presented and created from seasonal, healthy ingredients.  This is a great spot for a hearty breakfast or lazy, long brunch and breakfast is served all day on weekends.

Maple and Clove, 7 Burbury Close, Barton


This stunning restaurant is a hidden treasure in the suburbs of Canberra, the décor is contemporary with crisp white walls, sheer curtains and wooden furniture. The restaurant takes an innovative approach to serving southeast Asian cuisine and the menu is a tour for the tastebuds. Ideal for sharing, diners can choose from small and large dishes to suit any appetite and finish with a selection of incredible desserts. The cocktails are fresh and combine unique flavours and there is a carefully curated selection of beer and wine accompanied by a worldly whisky list with more than 15 options to choose from!

XO, 16 Iluka Street, Narrabundah

Places to stay in Canberra

Little National Hotel

This unassuming boutique hotel is within walking distance from Parliament House and many of the galleries and museums of the Parliament Precinct. A modern and stylish fit out welcomes guests with facilities including a lounge and library – perfect for remote working. Rooms are finished with black and white minimalist  furnishings and comfortable linen and bedding. Quality amenities and a virtual mini bar are available to all guests. Parking is available on-site and can be arranged when booking. An excellent location for exploring the Nation’s capital and close to many attractions.

Little National Hotel, 21 National Circuit, Barton

Have you visited Canberra? Let us know about your experience in the comments below or leave a comment on our social media channels @possandruby on Facebook and Instagram.

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1 comment

Little Wandering Wren May 3, 2023 - 9:37 am

Canberra looks a lot of fun, last time I was there it was with my children and they enjoyed the wonderful museums. Thank you for sharing your ideas, you always find beautiful places to visit and eat!


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