11 se­crets Can­berra’s been keep­ing from you

Our na­tion’s cap­i­tal has been hid­ing some of its best bits – but we’re here to be­tray the lo­cals and give them all away

Time Out (Melbourne) - - TIME OUT + VISITCANBERRA -

1 The best cof­fee in Aus­tralia

Ona Cof­fee’s founder, Sasa Ses­tic, won the World Barista Cham­pi­onship in 2015, and his em­ployee Hugh Kelly has won the Aus­tralian Barista Cham­pi­onship two years run­ning. Of Ona’s sev­eral cafés around Can­berra, the bright and airy Cup­ping Room is our pick. cup­ping Room, 1/1-13 Univer­sity Ave, Can­berra 2601.

2 A ski field

The Brind­abella moun­tain range has the long­est alpine slide in the South­ern Hemi­sphere – Corin For­est Alpine Re­sort. In sum­mer it’s all about that sil­ver to­bog­gan. Dur­ing the colder months, snow ma­chines make this a guar­an­teed slope spot for bud­ding skiers and snow­board­ers. corin For­est Alpine Re­sort, 1268 Corin Dam Rd, Pad­dys River 2620.

3 Great hand­made pasta

Can­berra’s new­est Ital­ian joint may be at­tached to a ho­tel, but it’s lo­cals who keep the place packed. The menu is all about house­made pasta and pizza cooked in a glo­ri­ously fire­pow­ered Marana Forni oven. The early seat­ing is packed with fam­i­lies dig­ging into hand­made lasagna and ice-cream sand­wiches while the sec­ond shift caters to a hip crowd drawn in by very nice se­lec­tions of Can­berra re­gion and Ital­ian wine. agos­ti­nis, 69 Can­berra Ave, Kingston 2604.

4 A bright red money tree

There are a num­ber of se­cret court­yards hid­den in­side Par­lia­ment House. But there’s one in par­tic­u­lar we’re sure you’ve seen be­fore. It’s spec­tac­u­lar in au­tumn, thanks to ‘the Bud­get tree’. This is the court­yard where politi­cians of­ten choose to ad­dress the press and in late April and early May (bud­get time) the maple turns lu­mi­nously red. Nor­mally, only those that work in Par­lia­ment House can ac­cess th­ese gar­dens, but for one week a year, when the Bud­get Tree is at its brightest, tourists can gain spe­cial ac­cess on a ‘Colours in the Court­yard’ tour. par­lia­ment House, Par­lia­ment Dr, Can­berra 2600.

5 The chance to live with a bear

Take a bub­ble bath in a lux­ury ho­tel next to a pair of three-year-old Ben­gal tiger broth­ers or a fully grown brown bear. Yes, we’re se­ri­ous. This is a real, ac­tual thing you can do at Ja­mala Wildlife Lodge, in­side Can­berra’s Na­tional Zoo & Aquar­ium. ja­mala Wildlife Lodge, Na­tional Zoo & Aquar­ium, 999 Lady Den­man Dr, Can­berra 2611.

6 Fresh wa­ter swim­ming holes

It may sur­prise you to learn that Can­berra has a nude beach – a de­light­fully sandy stretch be­side the Mur­rumbidgee River. In fact, the Mur­rumbidgee of­fers some of the nicest fresh­wa­ter swim­ming spots within shout­ing dis­tance of Syd­ney.

7 A ma­jor glass­mak­ing cen­tre

Ever won­dered where your favourite tankard came from? Can­berra Glass­works is to­tally mes­meris­ing and you don’t have to be a pro to give glass­work­ing a go at this na­tion-lead­ing fa­cil­ity. The work­shop hosts Make Your Own ses­sions on week­ends that al­low you to walk away with a pa­per­weight af­ter 20 min­utes, or a tum­bler af­ter 40. can­berra Glass­works, 11 Went­worth Ave, Kingston 2604.

8 Lo­cally made trea­sures

An ex­pan­sive space has tim­ber shelves filled with jew­ellery, millinery, cloth­ing, ce­ram­ics and home­wares, all of it made within a 100km ra­dius of Can­berra. You’ve dis­cov­ered Trove Can­berra, a not-for-profit co­op­er­a­tive of nearly two dozen mak­ers and de­sign­ers. trove Can­berra, 70 Bunda St, Can­berra 2601.

9 The tini­est bar you’ve ever seen

If you want to grab a beer and a very cheap bite, there’s one place to head. Lined with re­claimed ply­wood, and plonked in the mid­dle of a food truck park called the Ham­let is Hutch: the tini­est bar in Can­berra, and pos­si­bly Aus­tralia. This itsy bitsy joint is li­censed to fit just four peo­ple in­side, plus your friendly bar­tender. hutch, 16 Lons­dale St, Brad­don 2612.

10 An ul­tra-slick day spa

If you want to sit fluffy-robe-to-fluffy­robe with Can­berra’s elite, book your­self into the city’s new­est well­ness palace, Hale, in­side Barton’s re­fur­bished Brassey Ho­tel. Think mas­sage-heavy fa­cials us­ing Sothy prod­ucts, mas­sages, all the groom­ing ser­vices you could want, plus an in­frared sauna, steam room, ice shower and gor­geously heated plunge pool. hale, 10-14 Mac­quarie St, Barton 2600.

11 One of the hippest ho­tels in the coun­try

Bou­tique Ho­tel Ho­tel has in­gra­ti­ated it­self into the Can­berra com­mu­nity thanks to an ex­cel­lent lobby bar, gallery, reg­u­lar events and yoga classes. Up­stairs, the rooms are in­di­vid­u­ally dec­o­rated, mostly with re­fur­bished mid­cen­tury fur­ni­ture, brightly coloured blan­kets and tex­tured walls. ho­tel Ho­tel, Newac­ton Nishi, 25 Ed­in­burgh Ave, Can­berra 2601.

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