Canberra, the nation’s capital seems to have a bit of a bad rep as the bottom drawer of holiday destinations. I understand this, I mean, it ain’t exactly the Gold Coast of beaches and bodies in the sub tropics. But Canberra has its charms. I mean it, it really does!!
My mate Coldie has come into possession of a new VW Golf. It is a sweeeeet ride, and she wanted to take it for a ‘run’ so we decided we’d go for a mini-break out of Sydney. Canberra’s a choice because it’s far enough out of town to not feel like Sydney and close enough that you can do it for a day if you REALLY want to… We opted for an overnighter and as we were sharing expenses we went out on a limb and booked a room here.
[image by superciliousness via flickr]
This art deco styled hotel is the premier hotel in Canberra, and didn’t we feel flash rocking up in the Golf (and me, ever the classy chick. with my Gap backpack rather than the overnight case as it had been lent out and not returned… *bangs head*).
There are so many things to see and do in Canberra, and as I’m supposed to be working right now rather than blogging, here’s a brief precis of what we got up to.
The National Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery and the exhibition of Vanity Fair photos. Loved it!
Dinner at the Hyatt, not brilliant, as restaurant/cafe was booked out and they only have one!! Bizarre.
Movies – Coco Avant Chanel. Seems I’m getting quite a fill of French cinema lately, Coco, Hunting and Gathering, The Chorus are all recent watches and I loved them all!
Sleeping in the delicious beds. There are few pleasures I love more than clean sheets. Bliss.
Having room service for breakfast. Cost a bomb but all part of the experience!!
The Film and Sound Archive
The National Museum of Australia
The National Museum is a day’s worth of a visit. I could have spent so much longer there than we did but by the end of the weekend were were feeling a fair bit of information overload.
But for all those people who roll their eyes when you say you’re going to Canberra, give them a slap from me… it may not be the ideal destination for a splashy, exotic holiday, however, it is a great place to visit and the fact that all these museums are provided by the people for the people (the only exhibit we paid to see was Vanity Fair) and as they’re all done so well it really is worth the trip.
Next time I really need to get in a visit to Parliament as I’ve been to Canberra many times and haven’t managed to get there… usually because I’m on a time budget and I want to give it full attention!
Of course it has its limitations… coffee was one, pajamas the other… As I have done when visiting Canberra before I left my sleep wear at home… So, had to do a mad late Sat PM trip to the shops to find some… and do you think we could find a thing at Myer or David Jones??? Seemed like it was mid season or something because even to find a cheap pair of flannelette pajamas for a comfortably upholstered individual was impossible. I ended up with a delightful (and expensive) silk nightie because I couldn’t find anything else before the shops closed. Turns out it was a big ‘sale day’ and all the good stuff had been put out the back so the retailers didn’t have to discount ‘everything in store’… How rude!! Still, a silk nightie seemed appropriate for the Hyatt Canberra so I’m not complaining!!
In the next little while I’ll update my Nextstop Page with Canberra recommendations.
Have you got places you love to go that make other people raise their eyebrows?? Spill in the comments so we can all have a shot at trying them out!!
If you hadn’t have blogged about Canberra it would’ve been my place: I love it. There is so much to see; and it is a wonderful place to get away from Sydney for a while [and well done on the splurging: I’ve only been to the Hyatt for Afternoon High Tea! :)] I never know why people are so down on it: perhaps it’s the Government emphasis.
I found a nice coffee place or 2 in Civic — and there is that decadent Chocolate Cafe: KoKo Black. Mmmm. And I have trouble finding nice pjs anywhere so no advice for me for future Canberra expeditions there.
Aunty Helpful Dictator says
I like to go to Belfast. Sometimes just for the day. After growing up constantly hearing about the violence in Northern Ireland I’ve avoided it most of my life… having this image of the place being grey and depressing, but a little over a year ago a friend and I went there for a concert. I’ve been there about 6 times since, sometimes just for the day. It’s a 2 hour train journey…
Actually its quite a pretty place. Things are much cheaper than where I live and no one has ever hassled me because of my accent, although I’ve never strayed off the beaten track. The shopping is fantastic there… I haven’t yet managed to do anything cultural, apart from when I’m there for college stuff, because I am uncharacteristically distracted by shops. Food tends to be very good and usually good value, and the two hour travelling time on Ireland’s best trainline is so hassle-free it’s just fantastic.
Despite the mainstream thought it has to be my second favourite city on the island of Ireland – second only to Dublin where I live. Other people rate Galway and Cork, but Belfast is top of my list!
It’s funny isn’t it how our perceptions change. I never got into Northern Ireland when I was living over in the UK simply because it was the early 90s and there were still rather unpleasant things going on. We did get to Dublin though and I would so loved to have spent more time there!!! Gah, the world is too large and life is to short to see nearly enough of it… be beaten track places or not!
I want to be anywhere except of where I am right now? Naah, just (sort of) kidding. Stellenbosch is gorgeous and even though I swore I would never live in a small town again, it’s so close to Cape Town yet still so filled with small village charm that you really have the best of both worlds. Besides, it definitely helps that it’s the Mecca of South African winemaking!
In the States, after hearing how people hated it for so long, I fell in love with LA. (Must be because it is so much like SA in terms of weather, waves (I’m still perplexed by the Northern Atlantic’s lack of wave’s on the North American East Coast) and even vegetation. And this is no stretch, I realise, but I dream of going back to San Fran one day.
D.C., however, will always retain a soft spot in my heart. My heart, in fact, never really left the place in the first place…
Next time you’re in Canberra try the Kurrajong Hotel as a place to eat. I’ve never stayed there so I don’t know what the rooms are like but the food is great.