There’s no better way of discovering more about Australia than packing up a campervan and heading to Canberra. The capital is now a thriving cultural hub. Cafes are renowned for strong coffees, and with a student population you’ll find one on almost every corner. Canberra is a prime destination to pick up a motorhome rental for your next road trip. The population is nothing like that of Sydneyor Melbourne, but the small city has a lot going for it.
Hit the road in Canberra
The eclectic city - Canberra tourism
Tick off the politician box by visiting Parliament House and attending question time. It’s an interesting view into Australian politics.
Feel like a giant at Cockington Green Gardens. Meticulously crafted mini-buildings set into beautiful gardens, the tiny world is a fun way to spend an afternoon, and if you can’t get enough of the miniatures, try a round of mini golf. Hire a bike and take a ride around the lake. The paths are flat and help you orientate yourself around the city. Just watch out for the pesky magpies known to swoop at unsuspecting riders. Helmets with plastic spikes may look odd, but the locals are happy to avoid being a shiny object to the birds.
Canberra Accommodation - Where to stay
The fresh air and open spaces of Canberra make camping an idyllic experience. There are campgrounds within the city and also in Cotter, the forests, and at Namadgi National Park. Remember to book ahead wherever you’re staying.
Five minutes from the heart of the city is Alivio Tourist Park. They have an excellent café and bar, pool, heated spa and amenities.
Bush camping is available in the 106,000ha Namadgi National Park. Honeysuckle Campground has access to the walking track connecting Booroomba Rocks to Orroral Ridge.
Capital Country Holiday Park is 14km north of Canberra and makes a perfect base for exploring the capital. They have an ornamental lake, free BBQ areas and lots of space for the kids.
Queanbeyan Riverside Tourist Park is situated on the banks of the Queanbeyan River. The grassy sites have leafy surrounds and this park is a perfect getaway while being close to the city.
Quick skip out to the vineyards
To understand Canberra, you must taste it. This region creates distinct wines and many are known internationally. The district is home to 140 vineyards and more than 30 of these are within a 30-minute drive from Canberra. For the savvy wine drinker, Murrumbateman is the first stop to unearthing Riesling like no other. They also have some excellent Shiraz-based wines. It’s an easy drive to Murrumbateman. Head straight out onto Barton Highway for 30 minutes and you’ll spot it.
On the way there are wineries out near Hall. This pocket has dark-green scenery and winding river banks. Surveyors Hill Vineyard is a good stopping point, as is Pankhurst. Make sure you live fluidly though, and enjoy any vineyard that takes your fancy. There are some beautiful boutique stops along the way.
Dining out in the capital
At Gundaroo, on the road to Collector, is well-known restaurant Grazing. It’s a magic place offering sophisticated dining at its best. Lunch under bright blue skies or dine under the stars. Eightysix is a perfect restaurant to just relax and take suggestions from the well-versed waiters. They have a superb wine knowledge and the food is exquisite.
Mezzalira will satiate your Italian cravings. They have an extensive Italian wine collection and you’ll find yourself wanting to share plates to taste all of the dishes. For a fun, more casual dining experience, head to Honky Tonks. It has a great atmosphere and ever-changing artwork. The food comes secondary to the experience here, but for Mexican food, it’s pretty decent. For top-class Asian dining, the Chairman and Yip is outstanding. There are classic dishes and interesting fusion courses.
Cheap eats are easy to find around Canberra, mainly thanks to the student population. One of the best is Dickson Asian Noodle House. The Pad Thai is always delicious, as is the Duck Laksa. Ask for some coconut juice to wash it down. If you’re a whiskey connoisseur, make your way to Hippo Co. There’s always a cool lounge atmosphere, no matter how busy it gets.
Attractions in Canberra
Questacon is an Australian institution, as kids discover the wonders of science. Today it is still a highlight to take the family and is relatively inexpensive for the ultimate interactive experience. The National Portrait Gallery is worth half a day if you can spare it. You can see the real faces of Australia. The early works are mainly of aristocracy, but the more modern work is of everyday Aussies. The National Art Gallery sits on the banks of the lake and holds more than 100,000 artworks. Aboriginal art, didgeridoos and stories take pride of place at the entrance and works by Monet and Cezanne are must-sees. The Australian War Memorial is one of the country’s most visited tourist attractions, and widely regarded as one of the most significant in the world. It’s not hard to spot. Anzac Parade leads directly to the front of the memorial.
A variety of temperatures and climates - Canberra weather
Each of the four seasons in Canberra offer beauty and charm. Spring has glorious days and millions of flowers bloom in the city. The mornings are fresh, but the days are bright and sunny. Summer is hot, dry and with little humidity. There are endless opportunities to explore the great outdoors and the nights are balmy and perfect for an Aussie BBQ. A golden hue falls over the city in autumn, and winter is the perfect time to snuggle up in front of a fire. Camping in winter could be a bit too chilly, depending on your camper’s facilities.
Canberra not where you want to begin your journey? Check out the other Australia campervan hire options on offer with Motorhome Republic and choose from locations like Brisbane, Perth, Cairns or a motorhome rental from Tasmania.