How to do Canberra in a Day

ms-darlinghurst

Pack your overnight bag and hit Canberra in style

So you want to go to Canberra but you’ve only got one day and a night to experience Australia’s capital? Well read on, this is your ultimate guide to a whirlwind visit to Australia’s largest inland city. Located 280km south-west of Sydney it will take you approximately 3.5 hours to arrive at your destination, factoring in a little pie pit stop along the way.

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Stop along the way

Aim to leave Sydney around mid-morning, with essential road trip snacks and tunes to keep you going until you reach Goulburn. This city is a major service centre for it’s surrounding pastoral industry and a popular stopover for those travelling on the Hume Highway. There are two main attractions. Firstly- the Big Merino, a sculpture that is the world’s largest concrete constructed sheep (apparently it’s good luck to touch his balls!). The second are the pies in Goulburn. Pull in at the “award winning” Trappers Bakery for a chunky steak pie before continuing on to Canberra.

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Where to stay

Check yourself in to Hotel Realm. It’s a modern and sophisticated hotel located a little bit further out of town, in a really peaceful up and coming suburb in Canberra called Barton. Parliment House and the National Gallery of Australia are only a few kilometres away but you don’t have time for that on this trip! Check in to one of their Executive suits and enjoy an awesome apartment style room complete with a separate living room, a giant bedroom with a king size bed, a separate kitchenette and a huge bathroom with a deep spa bath big enough for two. They offer free parking on the weekends and all rooms come with free Wi-Fi, Appelles toiletries (I love that brand) and a Nespresso machine. If you’re lucky enough to score a room with a balcony pop some bubbles and enjoy the sunset. Then run a spa bath and get ready to go out.

Book in for dinner

Hotel Realm has a restaurant on site so if you’re in the mood for French Bistro cuisine and want to spend more time relaxing in your fluffy white robe make a reservation at Buvette Bistro Wine Bar. Not too far from Hotel Realm is a new little restaurant that’s recently opened called Vincent should you feel like getting out and exploring. It’s open Tuesday- Sunday and is really popular with the locals. Take a seat at the long communal bar in the dark and moody restaurant and relax with wines from around the world before dinner. Dishes are designed to share or can be enjoyed individually.

After dinner drinks

After dinner jump in an Uber and head into the main part of Canberra to check out speakyeasy style bar Molly. Hidden behind an unassuming door on Hobart Place this bar is quite hard to find. On a weekend just look for a bouncer standing near an unmarked door and people who look like they’re “in-the-know” streaming into a shady looking back alley. You’ll be rewarded with excellent cocktails, warm hospitality and on certain nights live jazz. Then head back to Hotel Realm, cosy in to your fresh white linen and get a peaceful night sleep in this quiet hotel.

canberra cafe Maple and Clove big breakfast

Breakfast sorted

When you wake up (at a leisurely hour) head across the road to Maple and Clove, an awesome wholefoods cafe. It’s situated in a leafy part of Barton overlooking a nice park. There is plenty of people (and cute dog) watching to be done if you sit outside and enjoy the northern sun with your morning coffee. There is a real focus on using fresh, local, seasonal and wholefood ingredients here at Maple and Clove. They have freshly squeezed juices and all day breakfast. The portions are also very generous. We didn’t even need lunch after eating their Full Breakfast. It comes with poached eggs, free range bacon, baby spinach, roasted tomato, seasonal mushrooms and seeded rye bread ($21). Another dish worth trying are the wholemeal spelt, zucchini and sweet corn waffles served with smoked salmon, smashed avocado, and slow cooked eggs ($20).

Stop off for tea and cake

Canberra Hotel Hotel entrance

Hotel Hotel entrance

Before you leave Canberra you have to pop in to Hotel Hotel for a cup of tea and to check out some unique artworks. This eco-chic hotel has a sleek restaurant and bar in the main lobby with an indoor fire pit. Original artworks line the walls and they have a great selection of gourmet cakes, and sweet treats. 

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Stop for some wine tasting

On the way back to make a stop over at Lark Hill winery. This biodynamic winery was established in 1978 by husband and wife duo Sue and Dave Carpenter and is now run along with their son Chris. They produce a number of varieties but are particularly well known for their Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gruner Veltliner. Stop in at their cellar door for a tasting and a chat with Sue and Dave and pick up some incredible wine to enjoy when you return home. They also have a restaurant on site so if you are feeling hungry book in after some wine tasting in the cellar door.

Needs some road tripping tunes?

Check out my ultimate road trip playlist here.

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