Having 4 days off from work due to heavy rain and flooding we decided to take a road trip to Australia’s capital city for the night. Having the camper is perfect we can head off whenever we fancy and don’t have to worry about the extra cost of accommodation either.
We set off to Canberra from Narrandera on Friday afternoon, it takes approximately 3 1/2 hours to get there. Hitting the road following the iPhone maps, which we didn’t really need to use, as most of the directions were following this road for 80 miles then continue. The roads are straight and pretty boring but with our camper came some pretty good speakers so we hooked them up listened to music all the way past green fields and heaps and heaps of roadkill including kangaroo’s, birds, wombats and rabbits.
We arrived in Canberra about 6pm, on the way we searched WikiCamps which is a great app that gives you all the campsites in the area, there facilities and whether it costs or not. There wasn’t much to choose from so we picked the one that looked closest to the city centre. It was $32 for the night but at least we had showers/toilets and didn’t have to worry about parking on a street in the city. The caravan park was about 15 minutes from the city centre but we got an uber taxi straight there after dropping the camper off and it only cost $20 each way.
We had Trip Advisored restaurants in the city but opted for Bentspoke Brewery Co with, as you’d expect a great beer list and also the ‘not beer list’. Being a Friday night the brewery was packed with people, there were tables downstairs and then the bar behind were large fermentation tanks as well as large hanging hop plants, they had more seating upstairs as well as outside all of which is simple but had a open clean feel. We took a menu deciding what to order when a super friendly member of staff asked what we fancied, what our tastes usually are, she gave us a few samples of beer for Conor and ciders for me, first a dry cider, then a ginger cider and finally a hot cider, I didn’t think I could drink a pint of any of them so had a glass of wine instead. Conor being Conor went for a Recumbent Bar, four 200 ml glasses of the strongest beers on tap! The strongest being 18%, 16.2%, 12% & 8.9%. They had a wide range of beers quiet a lot of which were very hop orientated and a few others which as a hand pumped English beer and stouts. This place was perfect for us!
We hadn’t eaten so we took a look at the food menu, there was lots to choose from chicken wings, sharing boards, burgers and steak! We went for the ploughman’s sharing board and mushroom soup, the ploughman’s was delicious with double brie, King island cheddar, Tasmanian ham, beef, cider pickled vegetables and house made marmalade. The mushroom soup was also delicious if a little peppery, it was so peppery my eyes were running but I couldn’t stop eating it!
The friendly bartender finished her shift at the same time we were leaving and asked where we were heading next.We had no idea as it was our first night in the city, so she gave us a list of cool places to go and visit, from breweries to clubs! We were really thankful as we probably would have just Trip Advisored again but it was great to have a locals knowledge. First we headed over the street as there was a cool collection of food trucks with a DJ playing, the hamlet food trucks it’s called. We got a drink at a quirky bar made from plywood with some local beers and gins distilled in the capital. Although the food at Bentspoke was yummy I wished we’d eaten there after smelling the different trucks from Indian to Mexican, hotdogs and burgers.
Next we headed for one of the bars the bartender had recommended, Phoenix, it was a busy street in the centre of Canberra with a few bars and pubs. We found the bar she was talking about but we could hear the live music playing, rock… We decided it wasn’t our scene and found a Irish Pub which was packed and also had a live band on playing some old and new hits.
The next morning we had to check out of the campsite at 10am, which then became 11am. We headed into the city and got some breakfast, dunkin donuts for me and sushi for Conor – yuck! There’s a great shopping centre in Canberra, called Canberra Centre which has most of the main shops, Factorie, Cotton on, Zara, Footlocker but no H&M to my disappointment. Conor decided to buy himself an early birthday present, a pair of all black new Air Max, anyone would think he was turning 15 not 25 ha. Once he’d finished shopping I also thought it would be a good time to birthday shop, so ditched him at a cafe and went shopping alone for his birthday presents. After we met back up we took a look in JB Hi-Fi which is Australia’s biggest electrical shop and which also had a huge sale on and we ended up walking out with a brand new laptop for $250 about 145 pound (I’ve just realised this Australian laptop doesn’t have a pound sign)! One more birthday present for Conor, he’s getting spoilt this year!
After little retail therapy was headed back to the car park, we had parked on the rooftop as it was a lot cheaper for some reason. We took the elevator up to the rooftop to find only two cars neither of which were our van, we were so confused and thought our van had gone only to look across the rooftops and seen our van two buildings away on a different rooftop! Panic over.
Being in Canberra we thought we best see some sites, first we headed to the Australian War Memorial, the sun was shining and it was pretty busy. This national memorial is dedicated to all the members of the Australian armed forced that participated or died in the wars.We had a look around the gardens, at the statues and tanks. We then went up to the main entrance which looked straight down Anzac parade to Parliament House, the views were lovely. Admission to the memorial is free, so is parking and there are also voluntary run free guided tours of the galleries.From the War Memorial it was a 5 minute drive to Mount Ainslie, which is located above the memorial and has spectacular views over the capital city. You can get 360 degree views over Canberra, over the man made lake, the Parliment House and the greenery beyond.
We found Canberra to be a really small but cool city, very into food and drink with some interesting tourist attractions to visit. We could have definitely stayed longer and hope to visit Canberra again on our Australian adventure.