With its layout planned by a single architect, green and open Canberra isn’t like most capital cities. Firstly it’s an artificial creation, resulting from a fight between Sydney and Melbourne over who would be capital, built around an artificial lake, with many of its roads and suburbs pre-planned to allow for large pockets of green space. This looks nice, but it makes Canberra almost impossible to get around if you don’t have your own transport. A bike is OK, but a car is better. So more than in other capitals, it’s important that our list of the best places to stay in Canberra are relatively central to the action.
While Canberra isn’t the most charming of cities, it does have some excellent facilities and plenty of money to run them. Firstly there are the two parliament buildings, the new one which is built into a hill, then there’s the National Art Gallery, National Library, National War Memorial, the Science Museum (Questacon), National Film and Sound Archive, the Australian Botanic Gardens, the National Portrait Gallery, the Canberra Museum, the Royal Mint, and all the embassies.
Then there are the natural pleasures, the walks up Black Mountain to the lookouts, or Red Hill to the cafe or Mount Ainslie. There’s also the man made lake with its many gardens and island - complete with Carillon snd the Captain Cook Memorial water jet - which is a big fountain.
In spring there’s Floriade, the flower Festival and there’s an annual Folk Music Festival. And there’s several theatres with plenty of funding, so there’s often a quality of production which seems grand considering the city’s population.
The same can be said for some of Canberra’s restaurants. And of course outside of town there are some wonderful national parks to explore.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Canberra range from charming boutique in a heritage building to sleek contemporary accommodation in a hip district.
Heritage building turned boutique hotel in the heart of Canberra. Contemporary rooms feature Bang & Olufsen TVs, rain showers and original art work on the walls. Renowned Bicicletta restaurant, library bar & charming courtyard complete the picture.
Canberra (25 Edinburgh Ave)
A stylish addition to Canberra's hip NewActon precinct. Rooms feature contemporary decor and original Australian artwork. Bikes available, a cinema, gym and even a hair saloon. For a slick city stay.
Housed in one of Canberra's oldest buildings, this five star luxury hotel boasts large rooms with marble bathrooms and extensive gardens in the heart of the city. The style is Art Deco but all the mod cons are distinctly 21st century. A luxury option for exploring the capital.