Over the Easter weekend my parents and I took a road trip to Canberra to visit my sister, and I’m ashamed to say it was my first visit to our nation’s capital! This is particularly bad given I am an urban planner and wrote many an essay on Canberra’s beginnings during my uni days. We had an excellent weekend exploring much of what Canberra had to offer, so I thought I would share some of the highlights here, so on to my Weekend Adventures: Canberra!
This post won’t include the numerous delicious meals we ate over the weekend, they will get posts of their own over the coming weeks – and there were plenty of great meals, let me tell you!
National Gallery of Australia
We managed to catch the last few days of the Tom Robbins exhibit at the National Gallery of Australia which was absolutely fantastic. I’ve always been a fan of his Australian landscape paintings, particularly the shearing ones, but it was great to see so many of his other works as well. He really did do such a wide range of paintings, and especially enjoyed seeing his portraits as well. We also went for a wander through some of the permanent exhibits which were really interesting as well and then moseyed through the gardens afterwards. It’s definitely worth a visit!
On the Saturday afternoon we found ourselves at BentSpoke Brewing, a microbrewery and taphouse in Braddon. They have an awesome range of beers on tap, including some hand pumped options and the best way to try them is through a tasting paddle, so that’s exactly what we did! My dad, sister & I each chose 4 of the beers to taste (just 200ml of each, so it wasn’t excessive!) and it was definitely tricky to choose which ones to try as there were so many interesting beers available. It was an excellent way to pass a couple of hours, and I’d definitely go back to try more!
Royal Australian Mint
On Easter Monday we headed along to the Royal Australian Mint to learn more about all things to do with Australian coins. Unfortunately as it was a public holiday we couldn’t watch the coins getting made, but we still had an interesting and informative wander around the exhibits. It was particularly interesting to see all the different designs that were suggested when we moved to decimal currency. There was a cute wombat option that I really liked! I also really liked seeing the more decorative coins they create for special editions or to be innovative, including a triangle shaped coin! I definitely recommend checking out the Mint if you’re in Canberra!
After a long lunch in a gorgeous country town we headed back into Canberra to visit the National Arboretum, which covers over 250 hectares and includes 94 forests of different tree species. Much of it was planted after the devastating 2003 bushfires, but some of the forests are over 100 years old, so there was a combination of new growth and old growth areas. We went for a few different walks through a couple of the forests, including the 100 year old cork oak forest, and got to see some gorgeous views back towards Canberra and the lake. The steep uphill final section back to the car definitely helped burn off our lunch! I can’t wait to see how it all grows over the coming decades, and it is definitely somewhere I will visit on future trips to see my sister.
Old & New Parliament Houses
On a somewhat gloomy afternoon mum and I headed up to both old and new Parliament Houses to do a little political learning. We went on a free guided tour of new parliament which was a fantastic way to learn more about both the building and how our parliament runs, and even though lots of the explanations were aimed at children we definitely learnt a lot too! I would definitely recommend going on one of the tours, particularly if parliament is sitting at the time!
We then wandered down the hill to the old parliament house, now known as the Museum of Australian Democracy, which is still predominantly set up as it was when parliament moved out in the late 1980s. It was fascinating to see how tiny and dark the old spaces were. The old press rooms were incredibly interesting as well, they all worked out of such close quarters not only with regards to each other, but the politicians too. It would have been incredibly difficult to hide things from the press in those days, that’s for sure! Whilst I might not love the way our parliament might be being run at the moment, it was definitely worth visiting both parliament houses whilst in Canberra!