Guides

Why Summer Is An Amazing Time To Visit Canberra

There’s a buzz around Canberra that isn’t dying down any time soon. It was recently named one of 2018’s top destinations, which left a few people puzzled – how, they asked, did Canberra make the cut?

But the pick was only a surprise to people who haven’t been to Canberra for years. The rest of us knew it was only a matter of time before the city’s quiet charm, delectable food scene, quirky markets, classic cultural heritage sites and the relaxing outdoor pursuits attracted more attention.

Gorgeous summer days is just one of the many things Canberra has got going for it, with long January and February days hovering around the 27-degree mark, and low humidity to boot. To help you make the most of it, we’ve come up with the perfect Canberra itinerary for your best summer day.

Breakfast

You’re going to have to be early to get a table at one of Canberra’s most sophisticated breakfast spots (watch out Melbourne!). At The Cupping Room, you’ll find serious coffee and seriously Instagrammable food, or you can wander up to Lonsdale Street Roasters for relaxed vibes, sunshine and more top-quality coffee.

On the south side, Penny University’s Banoffee Croissant French Toast is the stuff of legends.

Market Time

Canberra loves a good market – whether it’s for food, artisan crafts, or classic trash and treasure – and you’ll find them all over the city.

The classic Old Bus Depot Markets (Sundays, 10am-4pm) showcase top food and artworks of all styles, while the City Walk Markets (Saturdays, 10am-4pm) are all about craft and second-hand finds. For something a bit different, the Ori Building in Braddon merges a community market vibe with high-end luxury and artisan items.

Get Active

Part of Canberra’s appeal is it’s gorgeous setting, with tracts of bushland throughout the city.

Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra

Image: Visit Canberra

Head down to Lake Burley Griffin and hire a bicycle to really make the most of it. If you’re confident on two wheels, the full 36km route will take you past embassies and galleries, through wetlands, parks and bushland, around the National Arboretum and the Governor General’s residence, showcasing the diversity and the beauty of Canberra’s natural environment.

If 36km sounds like a lot, you can break it up with bridges. The shortest bridge-to-bridge route, a cruisy 5km, will take you down past the Carillion and let you soak up the symmetry that is key to Griffin’s design for the city.

Anzac Parade, Canberra

Image: Visit Canberra

If you’re less keen on wheels, get your walking shoes out and head for the top on one of Canberra’s peaks. The trail up Mt Ainslie behind the National War Memorial will reward you with one of the best views in town, while the scramble up Black Mountain is sweaty but worth it.

Burgers And Freakshakes

It’s a Canberra institution, and it’s been called one of the best burgers on the planet, regularly featuring on top-burger lists. We’re talking, of course, about Brodburger.

Evicted from its original home in a tiny red caravan by the lake back in 2012, Brodburger returned with a vengeance at the Canberra Glassworks with an expanded menu and actual seating. Waits can be long and crowds can be big, but this is a burger that gets rave reviews. We recommend a classic Brodburger with blue cheese, but the chicken-and-brie combo is pretty great, too.

If sweet things are more your style, go straight to Patissez in Manuka. It’s original home of the “freakshake”, the milkshake-dessert hybrid that took social media by storm a few years ago, is nestled in a courtyard in one of the city’s oldest shopping precincts.

Get Cultural

As the afternoon wears on, the heat might be getting to you. The hunt for air conditioning is the perfect excuse to get some culture, so it’s time to take your pick of world-class art galleries, libraries and museums.

Image: Visit Canberra

For something truly Canberran, head up the hill to Parliament House where you’re welcome to walk right in and take a look. It’s recognised as one of the most open parliaments in the world and, indeed, there aren’t many houses of government where citizens are allowed (or even encouraged) to climb up the grassy roof and roll down it’s slopes.

Lakeside Drinks


Long summer nights are best started with a relaxed drink by the water. Try a unique cocktail at Betti Bravo’s or pull up a bench at Walt and Burley, both on the Kingston Foreshore. Or check where pop-up wine bar Pop Inn is headed this week – it’s often on the lake’s edge in Bowen Park, and perfect for a late afternoon tipple.

Once the sun has set, head to the city for great dining and luscious cocktails at Hippo Bar, Highball Express or Playground. It’s hard to go wrong!

(Lead image: Visit Canberra)