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24 Hours Kid-Free In Canberra

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Canberra is often overlooked as a quick weekend away from Sydney and surrounds. Once known as the place you visit on school excursions, Canberra has come along way and is now alive with innovative art exhibitions, hip restaurants and spectacular scenery.

I usually make trips like this as a family, but on this occasion I was desperate to see an exhibit that I knew my preschooler wouldn’t be keen on, so my parents kindly watched her for a night so the husband and I could skip on down to Canberra and check out the James Turrell exhibit at the National Gallery of Australia. We only had 24 hours to spend in the city, we had a tight itinerary that allowed us good food, nature and culture.

Silo Bakery #Canberra via

Lunch: Silo Bakery
This little bakery is so popular that bookings for lunch are advised, and if you’re dropping by for one of their famous pastries, get there early or you’ll go home empty handed. The bakery is on the pricey side (our meal of two dishes, two tarts, two coffees and a tea came to $66), but the food is absolutely delicious – making it worth the money especially if you’re not in Canberra very often.

We ordered: Jamon, squid ink salami & tomato bread ($24), Tarte Flamiche ($20 Flemish-style leek & cheese pastry on an endive salad), Rhubarb pastry, Banana Carmel Tart.
Silo Bakery: 36 Giles St Kingston ACT 2604. Hours: 7am to 4pm Tuesday to Saturday

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Lake Burley Griffin #Canberra via

Afternoon stroll: Walk around Lake Burley Griffin
We stayed in a central hotel, just a short walk from Lake Burley Griffin. Our hotel also had free bikes for customers to use during their stay, which would have been perfect to ride around the lake. We walked instead, and enjoyed the late autumn colours, the swans and generally peaceful stroll around the lake as we walked towards the National Art Gallery.

National Gallery of Art #Canberra via

Cultural visit: National Gallery of Australia
I love art, so it never seems like an odd thing to do to drive down to Canberra just to see an exhibition. The National Gallery of Australia gets a lot of spectacular exhibitions that don’t come up to Sydney, such as the current one, James Turrell. The National Gallery also has a great permanent collection worth seeing, with an impressive Sidney Nolan collection, as well as modern art works by masters like Degas, Monet and Dali. The permanent collection is free to see, as is the sculpture garden outside. The Turrell exhibition we saw, his retrospective, was nothing short of spectacular.
National Gallery of Australia: Parkes Pl, Canberra ACT 2600

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Eightysix #Canberra via

Dinner: eightysix
This little restaurant is so hot right now that by 6:30pm it was jam packed (highly suggest you make a reservation). The food is upscale modern Australia, with innovative dishes like the Daffinois & Dukkah Wafer, $6, Steak Tartare with Wasabi, $24, Duck Bun (with hoisin & hot sauce $8), Pumpkin Tortellini with Rocket, $30. Delicious food, excellent service. Not cheap, but high quality and worth the splurge. The cocktails were magnificent – my $30 Honey Blossom i had was so potent I had a slight buzz the following morning. We stayed for dessert and had the Margarita, $14, (which was a sour sorbet and meringue piles on top), and the Banoffie Pie, $17,  which was the perfect mix of sweet pie crust, caramel and whipped cream, interestingly topped with pretzels.
eightysix: 11 Elouera St, Braddon ACT 2612. Hours: Mon 6pm-10pm, Tue-Sat 12pm-2:30pm, 6pm-11pm, Sun 9am-3pm, 6pm-11pm

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East Hotel #Canberra via

Accommodation: East Hotel
We stayed at the East Hotel in Kingston. It was very well located, modern and clean. The hotel had fun touches like complimentary bikes, refreshing lemon water and jelly snakes in the lobby, and a variety of family-friendly amenities like Xboxes and boardgames – it was unfortunate we were travelling minus the child and didn’t need to use them. Each room at a small but functional kitchen area, so you could stay here longer and buy groceries to cut down the cost of eating out.
East Hotel: 69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston ACT Australia 2604


Breakfast: East hotel
We were going to head to a different cafe for breakfast, but were short on time so had breakfast at hour hotel. It turned out to be a good deal. As guests of the hotel it cost us $15pp to have a hot breakfast including made-to-order eggs, baked beans, hash browns, bacon, sourdough, coffee, tea, pancakes. The food was fresh and delicious, and it was so easy that we were happy with our decision.

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National Gallery of Art #Canberra via

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Canberra – Day 2

It’s off to the National Art Gallery to see the Degas exhibition. It was definitely worth the long drive down! We joined a tour group and learned a great many things about my favourite artist.

Following the art gallery we took a walk around the Old Parliament House Gardens and had a look at the hundreds of roses that are planted there.

A visit to our nation’s capital isn’t complete without a trip to Parliament House. We had a quick look around, walked over the top, and stopped for lunch. We hadn’t intended to stop there at all, but I’m glad we did as I found it really interesting.

Last stop in the Berra before our journey home was at Koko Black, a chocolate cafe recommended to me by a work friend. It’s a Melbourne company and has yet to open in Sydney. I was a bit of a glutton and ordered way too much, but I wanted to try a few things.

I wasn’t disappointed that’s for sure! The ice chocolate I had was amazing and filled with two different types of ice-cream. Alec’s ice coffee was also great, and the ice-cream martini we shared was absolutely fantastic.


I can’t remember the full name of this, but it was a delicious caramel ice-cream made on the premises with coconut and chocolate and possibly something else.

Gone in 60 seconds!

Lots more chocolate!

After Koko Black we slowly drove back to Sydney … after an immensely enjoyable Canberra mini-break.

Canberra – Day 1

Alec and I drove down to Canberra to check out the Degas exhibition for the Australia Day long weekend.

It’s a loooong drive from Chatswood, so we drove to Warwick Farm Friday after work, and then set out this morning so we didn’t have to rush.

We arrived in the Berra around lunch time and went straight to the Australian War Memorial.

I found the war memorial very interesting – there was so much to see however, we ran out of time. A highlight was watching the lone Scot piper playing a lament at the tomb of the unknown soldier – very moving.

After a solemn afternoon we had dinner and raced to Telstra tower to catch the sunset. We were a little late and only caught the last light of the day, but it was still a great view.