Where to stay, eat, drink and play in Canberra

We take the guesswork out of local travel with our tips on where to stay, eat, drink and play. This month, GT heads to the nation’s capital.
Interior of Hotel Kurrajong in Canberra

Hotel Kurrajong

No visit to Canberra is complete without a bit of history, but those who relish being steeped in it might want to consider a stay at Hotel Kurrajong. Designed by John Smith Murdoch – the Commonwealth chief architect also responsible for Old Parliament House – the building opened in 1926 to house public servants laying the foundations of the new capital.

Over the ensuing decades, the heritage-listed property has lived a handful of lives; most famously as Prime Minister Ben Chifley’s place of residence, but also as the site of government offices and the Australian International Hotel School. Today, following a top-to-tail restoration in 2014, it’s a rabbit warren of old-world details and art deco accents with 147 rooms across two storeys, 12 of which have a balcony or terrace.

Convenience is a major drawcard, with Old Parliament House, the National Portrait Gallery and National Gallery of Australia all within a 15-minute walk – and the buzzy Kingston Foreshore precinct is only a tad further. Staying put is a tempting option too: on-site restaurant Chifley’s Bar & Grill is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, and the well-stocked back bar warrants exploration. On chilly nights, a glass of local red cosied up by the lobby’s handsome fireplace should prove just the ticket, while a sunny afternoon would be better spent in the intimate courtyard with a G&T in hand – mixed with the hotel’s very own signature smoked gin, recently launched in partnership with Canberra Distillery.

A sculpture at the National Arboretum

Canberra region wineries

More than 40 wineries can be reached within half-an-hour’s drive from the city, which makes the small but mighty Canberra District well worth exploring. Riesling is the cool-climate region’s marquee white variety, and there’s no better place to see why than the Helm Wines cellar door, situated in a tiny heritage-listed schoolhouse. For benchmark reds, head to nearby Clonakilla for a schooling in superlative shiraz, or to Mount Majura Vineyard where tempranillo is the star. If your idea of a tasting encompasses pét-nat and pinot noir to marsanne, roussanne and grüner veltliner, look no further than the biodynamic Lark Hill Winery in Bungendore.

Activities in Canberra

The capital isn’t short on great spots for a stroll, from museums and galleries both big and small to the ring around Lake Burley Griffin. The one place that trumps them all, however, might just be the 250-hectare National Arboretum, home to more than 44,000 trees, an exquisite bonsai collection, sculpture and some of the best eagle-eye views of the city.

Where to eat in Canberra


Begin the day with a bang in Fyshwick – the beating heart of Canberra’s coffee-roasting culture – by grabbing a cup from Redbrick Coffee or Ona‘s Wollongong Street HQ before some antique shopping or a lap of the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets. In Braddon, a batch brew and a pastry from Barrio Collective Coffee is never a bad idea – nor is stocking up on the dynamite range of house-made condiments. If a sausage and egg muffin with XO mayo or kimchi jaffle is more your speed, Campbell’s Intra has you covered


You’ll find everything from Indian hits and Malay classics to Chinese barbecue and vegan Vietnamese on Woolley Street in Dickson, along with the revered Dickson Asian Noodle House. Off the main drag, family-owned Flavours of Jiangnan does a fine line in hand-pulled noodles and dumplings. In the city centre, ex-Bar Rochford chef Lucy Holm is turning heads with her whip-smart sandwich menu at Sandoochie, where fillings might include butter chicken and an onion bhaji or a potato rösti with French onion dip, cos and pesto.


The sheer beauty of the sashimi platter alone makes a meal at Raku worthwhile, which is to say nothing of the freshness of the thick-cut fish. Otherwise, expect fancified twists on Japanese favourites – tempura zucchini flowers plump with feta, Taiwanese eel nigiri intensified by foie gras butter or chicken karaage shrouded in bonito flakes. In the Corella Restaurant & Bar kitchen, meanwhile, chef Leon Pan is working wonders with native ingredients. Go for the rosella tacos and lamb ribs with bush spices, then stick around for kingfish collars soused in red curry spiked with desert [lime].

The dining room interior at Raku

Hotel Kurrajong

8 National Cct, Barton, ACT

Facilities: Prices from $239 per night for a Classic Room

Gym: Yes

Hotel bar: Yes

Restaurant: Yes

Room service: Yes

Free Wifi: Yes

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