2 February 2016

Things to do in Canberra with kids in 48 hours

What better way to spend the Australia Day weekend than in our nation's capital? Our girls have become really great at road trips (thanks to our Roald Dahl cd book collection), so we decided on a quick last-minute trip to Canberra last weekend. Read on for all the activities that we managed to cram into 48 hours, and some of things we have popped on our to-do list for next time:

Firstly - how great is Canberra! The 3 hours drive from Sydney was pretty straightforward, and we even managed to snare some incredible freshly-picked apricots from a rest spot on the way. Google Maps took us straight to our lunch spot in Kingston, ACT, which is only 10 minutes from our apartment for the weekend in Braddon. In fact, everything seems to be about 10 minutes away from anything else in Canberra.

Lunch was amazing - we had french toast, smoked salmon, eggs, avocado, great coffee and watermelon juice from wholefoods cafe Local Press, right on the waterfront. Highly recommended! The whole Kingston Foreshore area seems on the verge of taking off, with brand new apartments and lots of great cafes, restaurants and bars lining the lake. Just stroll along the promenade and take your pick of great places.

We then drove past Parliament House, Reconciliation Place, and all the government buildings and embassies, which we all thought were pretty cool. Then over the lake through downtown to our apartment at Braddon - a really convenient spot, walking distance to lots of great cafes and restaurants.

After checking in, we headed straight to the National Gallery of Australia and wandered through the fantastic sculpture garden, dotted amongst a beautiful bush setting. The kids loved exploring the garden and uncovering the artwork; particularly the mist piece that rose eerily above the pond.

We really only had time to check out half of the gallery and would absolutely go back for more. I had goosebumps the whole time, not just the art but the beautiful building and surrounds - just look at that cool flooring downstairs. 

The girls had great fun making aboriginal art-inspired constellations in a collaborative art piece for kids. They loved all the Australian art, but weren't quite as excited about Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles (humph). 

Then it was back to the apartment, and a wander around the corner to the Hamlet where we picked up Peruvian takeaway from the Mr Papa food truck. Yum!

Next day we made our own breakfast in the apartment, then beelined to The Cupping Room in nearby Acton for some super-impressive coffee.

Fueled up, we descended upon Questacon - the National Science and Technology Centre - where we spent most of the day. The exhibitions were excellent, the shows also great, and the kids were entertained non-stop (including a hair-raising interactive free-fall exhibit!).

We pushed out lunch as long as we could, and then headed back to Kingston to try out the burgers at the infamous Brodburger (a much-loved food truck that was controversially moved from the lake side and now resides permanently at the Canberra Glassworks). The wait was significant, and the burgers too heavy/greasy for my liking - but what was I expecting from a burger meal!?

We wandered back to our car through the Old Bus Depot markets, and then zoomed over to the National Museum of Australia, with its impressive architecture and colour statement. We only had time to go through the interactive kid's section Kspace (an attempt at a videogame experience which I thought wasn't entirely successful, but which the kids thoroughly enjoyed), and promised that we would go back next time.

The kids were dying for a swim, so they had a dip and then we headed back to the Hamlet for dinner at 10" Custom Pizzeria.

Next morning we made breaky again, and then headed back to Sydney with a huge list of to-do's for next time: the Arboretum, the War Memorial, National Portait Gallery, the rest of the National Museum of Australian, and lunch at Monster in the Hotel Hotel. Glad we have heaps to look forward to; we'll be back!

What do you love about Canberra for kids? Where else should be go next time?

Images: Steph Bond-Hutkin | Bondville

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