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5 Awesome Things You Can Only Do In Canberra

Take a bath beside a bear, and other unique experiences in our nation's capital.

It’s home to the country’s original freakshakes, the beating (at times faltering) pulse of Australian politics and the factory where all of our dollars (or should we say ‘dollarydoos’?) are churned out for us to spend on Stuff We Love like smashed avo and overseas plane tickets. Yep, Canberra has a class and style all of it’s own, and it knows it’s got a bunch of things that you can’t do or see anywhere else in Australia.

Here’s is a list of five of those unique experiences that call our nation’s capital home.


#1 Hang out with 200 of Australia’s brightest young minds

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How do you feel about the concept of a conference at which there are no Powerpoint presentations, no set speakers, no agenda and no audience? You probably feel good about it. I don’t know much about conferences and I feel pretty good about it. From November 1-3, Junket – an unconference which boasts all of the above – will tear through Canberra like a really smart tornado, and bring together 200 young Australian innovators, activists, change makers and disruptors. These bright young things will have little think, a few chats and perhaps even a couple of disagreements about the future of Australia – and with any luck, much headway will be made. Canberra won’t know what’s hit it.


#2 Take a bath beside a bear

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(Photo: Jamala Lodge)

Opened last year, Canberra Zoo’s Jamala Wildlife Lodge offers some pretty intense experiences for those who don’t mind intense experiences. For example, if you feel so inclined, you may opt to spend the night in a Jungle Bungalow (why not just Jungalow, guys?) situated inside lion, cheetah or bear enclosures. You’re protected by glass and wood and stuff, presumably, and you can sit on your couch and have a bear no less than four feet away from you. Intense. Told you.


#3 Grab a drink in a hidden barbershop speakeasy

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(Photo: QT Canberra)

Canberra’s QT Hotel is home to a barbershop, and within that babershop, you’ll find a hidden bar. Lucky’s Speakeasy, as it’s affectionately (and officially) known, is the secluded hideaway you’ll feel lucky (ahem) to retreat to after a day of sightseeing. The website also boasts the line: “Shake hands, kiss babies, and get toasty in the best bar Canberra has to offer.” Stay weird, Canberra.


#4 Have your mind blown by science at Questacon

The following is a short list of things that were fun when I was a kid: Nerf guns, skateboards, slides, wave pools, marshmallows, sea monkeys, slingshots, Micro Machines. Now I’m an adult, those things are even more fun. You know what else is even more fun? Science. Questacon’s ‘adult’ name is The National Science and Technology Centre, and it’s essentially a big old science museum that places an emphasis on interactivity (aka fun).

It plays host to special events like the Spectacular Science Show and Rockets #101 – the latter of which sees one Dr. Blashtov attempt to launch ten rockets in half an hour. In short, Questacon is a big kid’s dreams come true. You could spend a whole day here and only scratch the surface.


#5 Scale the highest mountain in Australia

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(Photo: “Path to Mt Kosciuszko 1 (1)” by Andrea Schaffer from Sydney, Australia – Path to Mt KosciuszkoUploaded by berichard. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.)

Once you’ve slept with bears, had a drink at the hairdressers and got your science fix at Questacon, you should probably stop fooling about and get some exercise – and what better way to get that exercise than by surmounting Australia’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko? Situated a mere two-and-a-half hours from Canberra, this 14.3 kilometre loop will see you ascend through intensely attractive alpine scenery to dizzy new heights. And if you get to the end and think ‘oh, that was easier than expected’, just do it again. That’s the good thing about mountains: they’ll never say no to a good yomp. When all’s said and done, head back down to Lucky’s Speakeasy and kiss some babies. Or whatever.

(Lead image: Jamala Wildlife Lodge)

Do the things. Fy to Canberra with Qantas.