Opened in 2013, the National Arboretum Canberra – Arboretum simply meaning a botanical garden devoted to trees – was once a burnt-out pine plantation, devastated by the Canberra bushfires of 2003. Following a nationwide competition, the ACT Government started developing a 100 Forests and 100 Gardens proposal which focused on the establishment of 100 forests of rare, threatened and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world. It currently features 94 forests, two of which are nearly 100 hundred years old. The Arboretum is a massive undulating site which has won many awards. It is home to a village centre with Café, gift shop, picnic and barbeque area plus a fantastic kid’s playground. A great day out for everyone.
For the kids, Questacon just gets better and better (but is also packed in the holidays) and for the grown-ups the National Portrait Gallery is a nice quiet way to spend a few hours.
Try the newly-developed, funky NewActon area which is close to the city and everything else you might need. There are great restaurants within the compact area – we can vouch for Italian at Bicicletta – and three hotels - Peppers Gallery Hotel Canberra, Hotel Hotel and QT Canberra. There’s also a cinema and plenty of bars for a nightcap.
The above mentioned Biciletta does great pizza and traditional Italian food and if you want something a bit more relaxed try the institution that is Sammy’s Kitchen in Canberra Centre, for Malaysian and Chinese cuisine. And if you’re old enough to remember them, there’s a new dedicated 80’s bar with a light up dance floor and karaoke! Check out 88mph.
A sunhat and a picnic and enjoy the many outdoor spaces our nation’s capital has to offer. Don’t worry, Parliament isn’t sitting so there shouldn’t be too many politicians around to avoid – or seek out if that’s your thing!