Loves going out and about, drinking coffee, eating chocolate, and writing about her adventures!
Published June 26th 2020
Explore Canberra beyond the usual tourist attractions
Whether you live in Canberra or are just visiting for a short period, there are particular places in the Bush Capital that will usually feature in your Canberra Bucket List. Places such as Questacon, Telstra Tower, the Australian War Memorial, the National Museum, the Australian Institute of Sport, Parliament House, Tidbinbilla, Braddon, and of course, Lake Burley Griffin.
But there are so many more places to visit and explore in Canberra! However, like our local shops, these are like secret treasures that have been hidden away from the tourists and busloads of school children that visit Canberra every year. Even those of you living here may never have explored these places before or had even heard of their existence.
Here are nine of these hidden treasures that you might like to explore this weekend. And with school holidays coming up, perhaps you and your children can make it your mission to explore all nine.
1. Lindsay Pryor Arboretum Tucked along the western end of Lake Burley Griffin-between Lady Denman Drive and the lakeshore near Scrivener Dam and opposite the grounds of the Governor General's Residence-is the beautiful forest of native trees, cork oaks and conifers that is the Lindsay Pryor Arboretum. The trees of the arboretum were mostly planted from 1954-1957 by Lindsay Pryor, a noted Australian botanist. The arboretum is managed by the National Capital Authority. Find out more about it and how to get there here.
Source: By Johnscotaus - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44866264
2. National Rock Garden Right next to the Lindsay Pryor Arboretum is the National Rock Garden. Yes, we have a site that's dedicated specifically to rocks! This fascinating site is still undergoing development. But once complete, it will display the richness and diversity of Australian geology with substantial iconic rock specimens from each state and territory. To find out more, visit the National Rock Garden website here.
3. Fetherston Gardens Tucked away in Weston Creek is the urban parkland oasis that is Fetherston Gardens. The gardens were originally part of the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) School of Horticulture that was located on the site. The school opened in 1974, and its gardens were named after the first and longest-serving Head of Horticulture, Tony Fetherston, who inspired their planning. The school closed in 2009, and the gardens ceased being a purpose-built educational facility. Then in 2010, the ACT Government set the gardens aside for use by the Weston Creek community. The gardens are spread over 3.5 hectares, linked by pathways and trails. Read my article here to discover more of its gems.
4. Holder Wetlands Holder Wetlands is one of many projects that have been created to protect and improve long-term water quality in the ACT. They are located between Dixon Drive and Cotter Road, Holder. The wetlands cover an area of some 5,600 square metres and when full, will hold approximately 2.4million litres of water. The popular Centenary Trail runs through the wetlands. Gohereto find out more about the Holder Wetlands.
5. Kambah Pool It's well known for being the ACT's only public nude bathing area, but that's only at the northern end of Kambah Pool. The southern area, however, is NOT a designated nudist area, so you can feel free to explore (in your clothes, of course!). Kambah Pool is one of my favourite spots along the Murrumbidgee River. A great spot for a winter picnic or walk. Kambah Pool Road is located via Sulwood Drive in Kambah. Go here to find out more.
Tucked away in the National Arboretum is an outstanding, world-class collection of about 80 bonsai and penjing, created by leading Australian artists. The National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia includes miniature trees, landscapes and forests, with a mix of Australian and exotic trees. About 20% of the collection consists of Australian natives including Eucalypts, Banksias, Casuarinas and Acacias. The oldest trees are more than 60 years old. Read more about our National Bonsai and Penjing Collection here.
7. Canberra Bushfire Memorial The ACT Bushfire Memorial was commissioned by the ACT Government to acknowledge the impact of the 2003 bushfires. Located in Stromlo Forest Park, near the intersection of Cotter Road and Eucumbene Drive, Weston, the memorial was designed by Canberra artists Tess Horwitz, Tony Steel and Martyn Jolly, with significant advice and input from the ACT community. The memorial takes you on a journey from the day of the fire, through the process of recovery, to the honouring of memory. Definitely worth a visit if you haven't been here already. Find out more here.
8.Quizzic Alley Hidden amongst all the warehouses and factories and car repair shops owned by Muggles (that is, non-magic folk) in Fyshwick is the closest thing you'll ever get to Diagon Alley in Canberra. Welcome to Quizzic Alley, purveyor extraordinaire of all things Harry Potter! Whether you're a 'siriusly' hardcore Harry Potter fan or just a casual/mildly interested one, or even if you're not a fan at all and wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a Slytherin and a Gryffindor, Quizzic Alley will have you spellbound with its impressive collection of official Harry Potter merchandise. Read here to find out more.
And finally, there's
9. Jasper & Myrtle Chocolates
Jasper & Myrtle Chocolates are handmade right here in Canberra. Their workshop/factory is tucked away at Unit 9, Building 3.1, 1 Dairy Road, Fyshwick, where they make their scrumptious award-winning chocolate. If you can't visit them but would still love to try their chocolate, then you can visit their online shop here.
Canberra has so many interesting places to explore beyond the usual big name tourist attractions such as Questacon and the Australian War Memorial. They're secretly hidden amongst the trees and riverbanks and suburbs of our Bush Capital. But you'll find these treasures if you look closely enough.