Canberra. Who knew this Australian city could be so much fun?

Canberra has fantastic hotels and even better restaurants. From one of Australia’s best degustations to fabulous Japanese, this city has it all.

The pandemic has forced me – and everyone – to travel local, and Canberra has been a sensational find.

Canberra has everything I want for a weekend away. There is a selection of stylish 4 and 5 star hotels, excellent restaurants, a thriving bar scene, first class gyms, excellent trainers oh and a first class Zara and Mecca store.

And if it is a buzz you are after, go when parliament is sitting as there will be well heeled people everywhere ( just book your restaurants and bars well in advance).

long table at Raku Dining, Canberra
Canberra is a fabulous location for a weekend away of fine dining and great hotels.

Where to stay:

Thanks to Parliament House bringing a constant stream of travellers and the plethora of government agencies around, Canberra has a lot of great accommodation.

My picks are:

Ovolo Nishi has spectacular architecture

Ovolo Nishi:

Formerly Hotel, Hotel, this stylish, artistic place to stay has one of the best restaurants in Canberra on site, Monster Kitchen. 

The architecture is impressive, as is the location right in the middle of the city and the main freeway  so that everything is accessible within a 10 minute drive.

The accommodation falls into two categories: the first two floors are the hotel rooms. They are spacious, and moody with huge bathrooms. The kinds of hotel rooms you can happily actually spend time in.

Renae at Ovolo Nishi, Canberra
Renae at Ovolo Nishi, Canberra

Plus everything in the mini  bar is free, and there are free drinks for an hour downstairs for all guests.

The apartments are the other option, and are huge. They have spacious kitchens, lounge areas as well as balconies with incredible views over the city. Many are two bedrooms with full laundry facilities and great for families.

The Park Hyatt Hotel: 

This five star hotel is the Grand Dame of Hotels in Canberra, with a stunning 1920s style art deco entry foyer, spacious lounge and gorgeous gardens perfect for a summer cocktail of an afternoon.

It has one of the best hotel gyms in Australia, packed with the latest fitness equipment, and there are bikes and running tracks to accommodate any athlete to enjoy the surrounding parks.

The hotel has 252 massive heritage inspired rooms and suites, some are 82 square metres and stately marbled bathrooms. Click here for more.

East Hotel, Canberra

East Hotel:

Great for families, this property has a broad range of spacious, super modern apartment style room styles and sizes to accommodate all sized families and groups. All have some sort of kitchen facilities, some larger than others.

There is a sensational Italian restaurant on site, a fabulous bar, and the location between trendy Manuka and Kingston both packed with upmarket bars and restaurants.


Akiba Restaurant , Canberra
The lively Akiba wood fired Asian BBQ restaurant, Canberra

Akiba, wood fired Asian BBQ

This über trendy Asian restaurant has sensational cocktails and wines, and an amazing Asian BBQ menu with vegan, vegetarian and meat options.

Service is super friendly and reliable. From the miso eggplant to pork belly, everything is absolutely delicious and designed to be shared. It is also very well priced.

This new restaurant is one of my favourties, s the staff are friendly and keen, the food seasnitonsl and the drinks plentiful and not expensive,.

The menu is designed to be shared, 

Raku Dining, Canberra
The exceptional sashimi at Raku Dining, Canberra

Raku Japanese

The feel of this restaurant is upmarket, so you can get dressed up and settle in for a night of indulgence. Gorgeous modern, creative, explorative cocktails, diverse Australian wines by the glass and an amazing Japanese menu.

Sushi, Sushimi, Nigiri, and Maki are all outstanding. Gorgeous fresh, succulent seafood and crisp, crunchy vegetarian dishes are all made with Japanese precision and artistry.

Pilot Restaurant Canberra specialises in exceptional degustation
Pilot Restaurant Canberra specialises in exceptional degustation

Pilot Restaurant

This petite but elegant restaurant is fast earning a reputation as one of Australia’s best. It only seats 22 and I haven’t been quick enough to nab a reservation yet, but it looks and sounds absolutely exquisite.

Degustation only, and 8 courses for $120. What a steal, and what a night out.

the bar at Queenies at Kingston
Queenies at Kingston is a relative newcomer to the Canberra Dining scene

Queenies at Kingston

A relative newcomer to the Canberra dining scene, Queenies at Kingston is a gorgeous retro style bar (think Peaky Blinders) with a fantastic Australian style share menu with fresh, innovative dishes featuring anything from kangaroo to fish and vegetarian options.

This place is always buzzing and you can walk in without a reservation.

Renae at Queenies at Kingston
Renae at Queenies at Kingston

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