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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.
What Not To Miss
- Firstly there are the two parliament buildings (the new one which is built into a hill) and the Australian Botanic Gardens,
- There’s also plenty of galleries and museums including the National Art Gallery, National Library, National War Memorial, the Science Museum (Questacon), National Film and Sound Archive, the National Portrait Gallery, the Canberra Museum, the Royal Mint, and all the embassies.
- Enjoy the range of natural pleasures: be it the walks up Black Mountain to the lookouts, up Red Hill to the cafe or up Mount Ainslie.
- The man-made lake with its many gardens and island - complete with Carillon and the Captain Cook Memorial water jet.
- In spring there’s Floriade, the flower Festival and there’s an annual Folk Music Festival. Plus, there are 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. 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 stays in a heritage building to sleek contemporary accommodation in a hip district.
The best places to stay in Canberra
For heritage buildings
- Canberra’s Hyatt Hotel occupies one of the city’s oldest buildings, a long, low structure just below Parliament Hill. This is a large hotel, with 252 rooms and suites and an extensive garden. The rooms have marble bathrooms and there’s plenty of Art Deco era marble in the public areas too. They also do a lovely afternoon tea.
- Peppers Gallery Hotel is a boutique hotel in Canberra’s ‘city’. Rooms are modern, with all the mod. cons. and there’s original art work on the wall. The restaurant has a great reputation and there’s also a bar, library and a lovely courtyard.
For an apartment
- If you'd prefer a self-catering option this holiday, don't hesitate to visit our online partner, Booking.com.
- Fly to Canberra Airport located 7.3km (4.5 miles) from the city with a range of flights across Australia and to International destinations including New Zealand, Singapore and Qatar.
- Alternatively, catch a train to Canberra with regular trains to Sydney amongst other destinations.
- If you want to rent a car to explore the city - click here for prices and booking with our online partner, Rental Cars.
- Best time to visit - the spring from September to November for pleasant temperatures for exploring the city.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Canberra
Peppers Gallery Hotel 85 rooms from £104Canberra
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.Sights nearby - Within walking distance to Australian War Memorial and Parliament HouseLively - Hip and happening.Spa
East Hotel Canberra from £114Canberra (Kingston ACT 2604)
Chic well-equipped apartment-style rooms in the heart of the city. Every detail has been considered from on-point contemporary design to well placed electric sockets and woollen rugs to curl up in. Featuring a vibrant bar and restaurants, popular destinations in themselves. A cool city spot.Families - Decorated in a fun and quirky style and has an extremely family-friendly vibeFoodies - Three high quality destination food and drink outletsSights nearby - It’s 5 minutes' drive to the Parliamentary Triangle, which includes Parliament House and the National Library of AustraliaQuirky - Joe’s Bar has 3D fuchsia wallpaper, fat leather couches, chairs with multi-coloured fabric and chain-draped lights
Hyatt Hotel Canberra 252 rooms from £150Canberra
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.Sights nearby - Located in Parliamentary Triangle, close to Parliament House, Australian War Memorial and National MuseumLocal markets - Good for local colour.SpaSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
Ovolo Nishi 68 rooms from £117Canberra
Japanese inspired and minimally elegant, one of the hippest hotels in Canberra. A strong emphasis is placed on chic design and foodie elements, with a top quality bar and restaurant. Ideal for visiting the city's sights, with the Parliamentary Triangle just 5 minutes' drive away.Romantic Break - Easily Canberra's coolest hotel, making this a great pick for couples after a romantic stayBusiness meetings - Popular among business travellers seeking an atypical, yet refined, inner-city baseFoodies - Has a strong foodie focusSights nearby - Located in the vicinity of the Parliamentary Triangle, which includes Parliament House and the National Library of AustraliaRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
QT Canberra 205 rooms from £121Canberra
Luxury design hotel in the centre of the political capital. With strong design themes, merging 1930's speakeasy elements with hipster details, popular with both city slickers and business people. Serving top-notch cuisine and particularly known for its gourmet breakfast spread.Business Hotel - The entire top floor is exclusively reserved for meetings and conferences and boasts one of the best views of CanberraCity Style - QT is next door to a cluster of excellent restaurants and bars, Nishi gallery and an art-house cinemaDesigner - A design destination blending a political theme with hipster stylingSights nearby - It’s 4km to the Parliamentary Triangle, which includes Parliament House and the National Library of Australia
Hotel Kurrajong 147 rooms from £123Canberra (Barton ACT 2600)
Former home to several Australian Prime ministers, fusing retro Art Deco elements with contemporary finishings. Featuring a gourmet restaurant and elegant bar. Ideally situated to explore the political capital's main landmarks.Local exploring - This location is as close as you’ll get to the action with the ‘Parliamentary Triangle’ just a 10-minute walk awaySights nearby - Located in the vicinity of the Parliamentary Triangle, which includes Parliament House and the National Library of AustraliaViews - Great views from hotelLocal markets - Good for local colour.
Little National Hotel 120 rooms from £162Canberra (Barton ACT 2600)
Right next to the Parliamentary triangle, an ideal location to explore the political capital's main landmarks. Tastefully minimalist with Japanese influences with rooms that feature impressive four-poster beds. Great value for money with free access to its sister hotel's 5-star facilities.City Style - Ideal for couples seeking sleek city accommodation with soul, with access to 5-star facilities at a sister hotel across the roadBusiness meetings - Situated on the edge of the Australian capital’s 'Parliamentary Triangle' , perfect for business travellersValue chic - The Little National aims to offer the trappings of a luxury hotel without the price tagSights nearby - Located in the vicinity of the Parliamentary Triangle, which includes Parliament House and the National Library of Australia