Quick trip or weekend getaway and you want to see the best of the nation's capital? Thrifty's got you. From the city's must-visit cafes to iconic tourist attractions and a dose of nature, check out our handy guide below to make the most of your 48 hours in Canberra!
Breakfast is the best way to start the day and Canberra is brimming with options. From breakfast rolls at Intra, ONA Coffee at Highroad or cafe classics at The Cupping Room, take your pick and get ready to treat your taste buds. Once you’re caffeinated, it’s time to set off for your first activity of the day. Visiting the nation’s capital on a Sunday? You’re in luck! Discover the Old Bus Depot Market for the best of Canberra’s locally made jewellery and crafts as well as freshly grown produce. As the name suggests, the Market is held in an industrial old bus depot on the Kingston Foreshore and has been a Sunday tradition for many Canberrans since its opening in 1994. With rotating themes throughout the months including ‘multicultural’, ‘designer’ and ‘collectable’ Sundays, and over 2,000 unique stalls, the Market has it all and is the perfect place to pick up a bargain or two while visiting the area.
Next, it’s time to get out in the fresh air and connect with nature. Take a pleasant stroll through Commonwealth Park on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin which divides the Civic and Kingston regions. Here you can see the Captain Cook Memorial Globe, admire sculptures made by renowned artists and score some picturesque shots of the lake for the ‘gram. As dinner time rolls around, you’ll want to check out the trendiest food hall in all of the ACT - Verity Lane Market. With six vendors to choose from, each driven by skilled chefs with a passion for world-class cuisine, let your palate decide as you find yourself a seat in this historic Florence-inspired building.
From Korean-style fried chicken to authentic Indonesian delicacies and classic stone-fired pizzas, you won’t have to travel far to experience flavours from across the world! Craving a post-dinner view to wrap up your night? Take a short drive to Mount Ainslie Lookout just outside the city and watch the sunset while you reflect on the day’s adventures. Here, you’ll get a panoramic view of the city centre, including landmarks like the Australian War Memorial, Anzac Parade and the Old Parliament House.
Whether you’re an early riser or prefer to skip the alarm, there are heaps of breakfast and brunch places open in the CBD for a quick bite before you start your day. For a meal enshrined in history, head over to Gus’ Place in the Inner North. Established in 1967, Gus’ is an institution in Canberra that won’t break the bank with brunch options from brekky burgers to classic toasties and croissants.
After you’ve fueled up, head over to the local grocery store and pack a picnic to prepare for a day trip to the Namadgi National Park. Just under an hour’s drive in the rental car from the city centre, Namadgi comprises scenic views, areas to picnic and plenty of trails for keen hikers. If you’re brave enough (and want to spend a day hiking), you can tackle the eight-hour climb to the highest peak in the ACT - Mount Bimberi - or if you’re looking for a shorter trek, there are over twenty tracks and trails to explore the area. Other activities in Namadgi include fishing, horse riding, snow play in the winter and camping, making it an epic spot for visitors of all ages and interests. The National Park is beautiful no matter what time of year you visit and is rich with European and Aboriginal culture. Remember the ‘leave no trace’ principles and leave the Park as you found it.
If you aren’t already tuckered out from your visit to Namadgi, spend the last few hours of the day checking out the National Museum of Australia (NMA) - you are in the country’s capital, after all! At the NMA you’ll find exhibits that reflect on the nation’s history, including one of the world’s oldest paddle steamers, a 4.5 metre taxidermied saltwater crocodile and two floors of First Australians art. More of an art lover? Check out the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) on the water’s edge. Here you can pace the intriguing sculpture garden, browse international statement pieces and impactful Australian art and discover rotating exhibitions from established as well as up-and-coming artists. With two historic institutions right here in the heart of Canberra, there’s plenty to see and soak in without having to wander too far.
There we have it! An epic 48-hour adventure in Canberra! From quirky galleries to picturesque parks, your time spent here will be jam-packed with fun adventures, lifelong memories and thrills, with plenty left to discover the next time you visit.