Loves going out and about in Canberra and writing about her adventures! Also addicted to coffee, high teas, escape rooms, and dressing up.
Published April 16th 2019
Seven ways to find the magic in Canberra
"Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Roald Dahl
Canberra is famous for being a city of politicians, public servants and roundabouts. But did you know that in Canberra, here be dragons as well? And witches and wizards. And knights in shining armour. And wood elves, Mad Hatters, and unicorns. And plenty of men from the Night's Watch. And White Walkers too. In fact, a White Walker was seen last winter at the National Arboretum!
Canberra thrums with magic and magical beings. But as Roald Dahl said, you need to "watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Where then can you find the magic in Canberra? Here are seven unlikely places.
Tucked amongst the car dealers and warehouses and factories of Fyshwick is a little shop that supplies everything a Hogwarts wizard or witch needs. Quizzic Alley are the purveyors extraordinaire of wizarding regalia, accoutrements, and essentially all things Harry Potter in Canberra. From robes, broomsticks, cauldrons, books, and bags, to baby Nifflers, Dobby elves, Hedwig owls, chocolate frogs, Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, jewellery, and wands, Quizzic Alley stocks the largest and most impressive collection of official Harry Potter merchandise.
However, it's more than just a store. You can try on the famous Sorting Hat and find out which Hogwarts House you belong in, take a photo in a real Ford Anglia which Harry and his best friend Ron magicked to fly them to Hogwarts at the beginning of their second year, and taste the delicious butterscotch, creamy, delicious, frothy Qbrew (which, in my opinion, is a thousand times better than Madam Rosmerta's butterbeer!). What's more, Quizzic Alley also hosts magical birthday parties.
To find out more, visit the Quizzic Alley webpage here. Quizzic Alley is located at 5 Pirie St, Fyshwick.
2. The Copper Dragon. Every magical land needs a tavern, such as the Green Dragon Inn that was frequented by hobbits in The Lord of the Rings, or the Three Broomsticks that Harry Potter and his friends enjoyed visiting in the village of Hogsmeade.
Luckily for us Canberrans, we now have our very own tavern, The Copper Dragon, located in Tuggeranong. The Copper Dragon is a fantasy-themed restaurant/pub that provides a unique space for the growing communities of Cosplay, table top gaming, LARP (live action roleplay) and everything in between.
The Copper Dragon offers a menu of absolutely tempting morsels such as Dwarven potato chunks, Hogfather and Dragon's Hoard burgers, a Hobbit Luncheon, Barbarian Supper, and Night Fury brownie for dessert. And you can wash it all down with Lothlorien wine. But it's a place for more than just feasting with your fellow knights, mages or elf rangers. The Copper Dragon also hosts exciting events such as trivia nights, role play nights, role-play games, crafternoons, and speed gaming.
For more information, visit the Copper Dragon's website here..
The Copper Dragon is located at 5/38 Reed St North, Greenway. Open Wed & Thurs 6:00 - 10:00pm, Fri & Sat 12:00 - late, and Sun 12:00 - 4:00pm.
3. Escape Rooms.
I don't think there's a better way to truly immerse yourself in magic than in a magic or fantasy-themed escape room adventure. For those of you who don't know, an escape room is an immersive, interactive, physical adventure game where you and other players are placed in a specially designed room. The room has clues and puzzles which you need to find and solve together in order to get out. And you are given only one hour to escape. Canberra currently has 10 escape room adventures, and some of these have magic themes. Such as Mr Keller's Magic Emporium (set in a strange magic toy shop) and The House on the Hill adventure, set in Salem, Massachusetts where the 'House' is rumoured to be the home of a witch. Both are offered by Escape Rooms Canberra located in Phillip.
There's also The Dungeon where your group is locked in a dungeon by a mad king and have to find your way out. This is offered by Riddle Rooms in Mitchell. And then there's Expedition Room's 'Da Vinci's Secrets' set in the great artist's studio. For more information on Canberra's escape rooms, read my article here.
4. Into the woods we go!
Not only do magic lands have taverns, they also have their strange, dark and mysterious forests. Such as Mirkwood and Fangorn Forest in the The Lord of the Rings, the Forbidden Forest outside Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and the creepy forest that little Hansel and Gretel became lost in. Luckily for us Canberrans, we live in the Bush Capital, so we are pretty much surrounded by trees everywhere. However, there are two forests that are easily accessible to Canberrans and that I believe are absolutely perfect for magical picnics.
After all, I've had Halloween picnics, fairy unicorn parties and even a teddy bears' picnic in these forests! The Himalayan Cedar Forest and the Cork Oak Plantation are both located within the National Arboretum. Enjoy a picnic under their trees, enjoy a fantasy-themed party under the trees, or just go for a walk. You never know, you might come across a house made out of gingerbread and candy along the way!
5. The Crystal Chalice.
If magic for you means so much more than just donning a mage's robes or roleplaying a knight or getting your letter from Hogwarts or having dragons like Daenerys Targaryen, then the Crystal Chalice is the place for you. The Crystal Chalice is a shop that's been in Gold Creek for over 14 years. It has a large stock of Pagan, Wiccan, Occult, New Age and Shamanic supplies, books, CDs, statues, altar pieces, incenses, jewellery, cauldrons, tarot decks, oracle cards, as well as fairies, Gods and Goddesses, and yes, dragons. The Crystal Chalice also has the largest range of crystals in Canberra. The Crystal Chalice is located at Shop 1, Ginninderra Village, O'Hanlon Place, Gold Creek, Nicholls. Open everyday from 10am-5pm. For more information, go here.
6. White Rabbit Cocktail Room.
Come down the rabbit hole like Alice did long ago and enter a secret wonderland where you can enjoy high tea with a twist. It's a high tea with cocktails, in plush surrounds with a touch of the whimsical that is Alice's Wonderland. There's no other high tea in Canberra quite as magical as this. To find out more about White Rabbit's Tipsy Tea, go here.
White Rabbit is located at 65 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra. High tea is available every Saturday and Sunday from 2pm-5pm.
Halloween falls on October 31 each year and is becoming increasingly more popular in Canberra every year. It's also the most magical time of the year, when wizards and witches are out and about, as well as ghosts and ghouls and skeletons and Jack O Lanterns. They'll knock on your door, demanding treats, or else they'll play tricks on you. Next to neighbourhood kids trick or treating, there are plenty of other Halloween-themed events across the Canberra region during Halloween time, such as the hugely popular Boogong festival at Googong, the Canberra Zombie Walk, and Day of the Dead Fiesta. For more information on Halloween in Canberra, read my article here.