The Mamamia team tends to be a tight-knit crew, and weekend minibreaks are not unheard of among the more adventurous-minded of us.
That’s why a group of MM writers decided to head to Canberra to check out Floriade last year — spurred on, of course, by our Canberrian editor-in-chief Jamila’s insistence that her hometown is one of THE hotspots of the country.
The only catch to our visit? We only had about 24 hours in the city together before our various commitments called us back to Sydney.
With such little time, we had a lot to pack in – so here’s what we’d recommend for a quick Canberra break this spring.
Breakfast: Mocan & Green Grout, 19 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra ACT 2601
If you’re still in the camp of people who scoff at suggestions Canberra is now a hipster hotbed, you clearly haven’t been to this place.
It’s an ethical coffee shop and bike-maker, with queues as long as the beards of its male attendees (i.e. very).
Fortunately, the eggs are worth the wait, and the inside is cozy enough to keep its tattooed, fixie-loving patrons warm, whatever the weather.
Mid-morning: Trip to the National Portrait Gallery, King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT 2600
Hugo Weaving. Mick Jagger. Cate Blanchett… We didn’t exactly spend the morning spotting celebrities (this is not Los Angeles, people), but we did gaze at pretty pictures of their faces.
If you haven’t been yet, the National Portrait Gallery has an immense collection of portraits of famous people – from actors to prime ministers to thought leaders (my favourites: a cubist portrait of composer Peter Sculthorpe, and some charcoal sketches of local ballet dancers by Jenny Sages) – and even offers Interactive Portrait Story tours.
Lunch: Pialligo Estate, 18 Kallaroo Road, Pialligo ACT 2609
The estate is a self-described ‘lifestyle destination’, which basically means it’s picturesque and huge, and features excellent food and wine at the Farmhouse Restaurant, set alongside a group-photo-worthy vineyard, an orchard and an olive grove.
Even though it’s set on 86 acres, this gem is just eight minutes from the CBD by car (conveniently, for those of us with just a couple of hours to spare for lunch).
If you’re not yet acquainted with the famous Canberra festival, Floriade is ‘Australia’s biggest celebration of spring’: basically, it involves many beautiful flowers (more than one million, to be precise) planted over 13 flower beds.