The local's Canberra
Canberra is a destination that flies under the radar for most travellers, but locals know there's far more happening in this city than politics. From hidden speakeasies to little-know lookouts, the ACT is chock-full of hidden treasures.
Sip in a hidden speakeasy at Molly
Hidden in an alleyway in the heart of Canberra, Molly is where prohibition era-style meets contemporary cool. Follow the dimly lit stairway to reach the main room and you'll be greeted with wooden booths, leather armchairs and a 100-year old grand piano – not to mention the best cocktails in town. Add to that a charcuterie bar serving up cured meats and cheeses and you've got a venue well worth stepping back in time for.
Grab a craft beer at Capital Brewing Co.
If you'd prefer to kickback with a craft beer instead of a cocktail, look no further than Capital Brewing Co. Committed to creating good natured brews that taste good and do good too, this sustainable brewery makes it easy to indulge without the guilt. And with behind-the-scenes tours available every Saturday and Sunday, you can discover where the magic happens first hand.
Feast on the foreshore at Brodburger
Looking for something on the simpler side? This former food truck has been flipping patties for the better part of a decade, with the cult following of loyal customers to prove it. And while flame-grilled beef burgers are its claim to fame, there's something for everyone on their versatile menu. Go for the signature Brodburger, made with locally-sourced beef and homemade aioli, or skip the meat in favour of The Veg. When you're done, you'll be able to stroll it off on the scenic Kingston Foreshore – or just stick around for seconds.
Discover Lake Burley Griffin on a GoBoat
Located smack dab in the middle of the city, Lake Burley Griffin isn't exactly a local secret – but there's more than one way to explore Canberra's crowning jewel. Skip the walking tracks and bike trails and laze your way along the foreshore on a self-captained picnic boat instead. If you haven't got time to pack your own supplies, Schmicnics specialises in gourmet hampers to go – with a convenient lakeside location to boot
Get back to nature at the National Arboretum
Rather explore the great outdoors on dry land? The National Arboretum Canberra brings a bit of wilderness within a 10-minute drive of the CBD, with more than 250 hectares of forests to explore. Follow one of the short walking tracks to see 44,000 trees from Australia and beyond, or climb to the top of Dairy Farmers Hill for a cracking view of the city below.
See world-famous art at the National Gallery
If you prefer modern art to outdoor adventure, you can't pass up a trip to the National Gallery of Australia. Home to more than 166,000 works of art – including one of Yayoi Kusama's immersive infinity rooms – this internationally-acclaimed gallery is a must-visit for art aficionados and culture seekers alike. And with an ever-rotating line up of exhibitions, there's bound to be something new to discover every time you visit.
Catch the sunset at Shepherds Lookout
Don't mind exploring beyond the city limits? Make the 30-minute trip to Shepherds Lookout in Belconnen. A leisurely stroll from the car park, this scenic walking track through Woodstock Nature Reserve leads to unbeatable views of the Murrumbidgee River. Go at dawn to beat the crowds or trek to the top after dusk to catch one of the city's most impressive sunsets.
Step back in time in Collector
Once the stomping ground for bushrangers, the historic town of Collector has since become a hotspot for pathfinding foodies, with a handful of restaurants and cellar doors providing the perfect city escape for Canberra locals. Start your morning with a bacon and egg roll at Some Café – made with locally-sourced bacon, fresh eggs and house-made tomato sauce – then head next door to Collector Wines where you can sample the latest vintage in front of the open fire.
Sample boutique wines in Murrumbateman
f you don't want to settle for a single cellar door, head to Murrumbateman instead. A hotspot for wineries, this small town is the heart of the Canberra District wine region, with some of the country's best bottles to prove it. Kick-start your tasting at Clonakilla – a family-run producer famed for its distinctive, small-batch wines – then pop into Four Winds Vineyard for some woodfired pizzas and vino between the vines. When you're done, you'll still have more than a dozen wineries to choose from – all an easy 40-minute drive from Canberra's CBD.