Loves going out and about in Canberra and writing about her adventures! Also addicted to coffee, high teas, escape rooms, and dressing up.
Published July 8th 2019
Ten reasons why Canberra is the quirky capital
Canberra has changed a lot in recent years. For so long it has suffered the reputation of being the most boring city in Australia (if not, the whole world). But last year, Lonely Planet's Best in Travel guide named Canberra as one of the top three cities in the world to visit in 2018. The more glamorous and glittering cities of Sydney and Melbourne have never even achieved that honour. Thanks in large part to the incredible transformation of places such as Braddon and New Acton, and to a lot of Canberra-lovers out there telling the world that Canberra really is awesome, Canberra has definitely become the 'cool capital'.
However, being called 'cool' doesn't describe half of what Canberra is really like. Yes, we're cool now because of places like chic, hip, vegan-friendly Braddon, and because of all the cool new cafes where you can get smashed avocado on toast and because of our cool craft beer and cool architecture. But Canberra is more than just cool. It's also quirky, offbeat, unorthodox, and just downright bizarre. And no, I'm not talking here about some politicians and how some Canberrans are staunch defenders of the idea that you never EVER turn your heater on in Canberra before Anzac Day!
Canberra is not just the cool capital, it's also a quirky capital. And here are ten reasons why.
1. Escape rooms Where else can you be physically swept into an adventure that transports you into a post apocalyptic world with a madman bent on a nuclear holocaust, or a super-creepy witch's house, or a jungle island paradise with its mysterious inhabitants, or the great artist Leonardo Da Vinci's studio or a cold case crime scene or someone's nightmare? An escape room, of course! At the time of writing, there were 11 escape room adventures in Canberra. To find out more about Canberra's escape rooms, go here and here.
Did you know that urban axe throwing is actually an official sport? And now it's here in Canberra. Basically you throw solid steel axes at wooden targets and you get to experience other fun axe throwing games as well. And there's also an urban axe throwing league which you can join. Axxe (Urban Axe Throwing Canberra) is located in Fyshwick. If you're interested, go here to find out more.
3. Breakr If throwing axes isn't your thing, then perhaps breaking plates and mugs is? Breakr is Canberra's unique 'break room' where you can break plates, mugs, glasses, vases and other fragile items in a safe space, either by throwing at the walls or by using the tools provided. Located next to Axxe in Fyshwick. For more information, go here.
4. Quizzic Alley If you love that famous boy wizard, Harry Potter (and let's face it, who doesn't?), then Quizzic Alley is the place for you. Quizzic Alley is the purveyor extraordinaire of all things Harry Potter. They sell absolutely everything that a witch or wizard bound for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry needs, but they have, oh, so much more than that. Such as the famous Sorting Hat which you can try on, and a real, live, blue Ford Anglia, as well as delicious, frothy, butterscotchy, better-than-butterbeer QBrew. And they host magical birthday parties as well. To find out more about Quizzic Alley, go here.
5. High teas with a twist Forget the traditional high tea affair, and try high tea with a cocktail twist. Or a high tea that's all about the burgers and the beer. White Rabbit Cocktail Room on Northbourne Avenue offers a high tea that's infused with their signature cocktails. And the high tea at Beef & Barley on the Kingston Foreshore doesn't offer you the traditional dainty cup of tea. No, you can have bottomless schooners of beer if you want. And instead of dainty scones and cucumber sandwiches, there's burgers and fries.
6. Ghost tours
There are lots of places in Canberra that many people believe are actually haunted, and there's nobody better to take you there and back again than Tim, the Yowie Man. Tim the Yowie Man describes himself as a mystery investigator and cryptonaturalist who looks for strange and hidden phenomena and is an authority on paranormal and unusual phenomena in Australia. And he runs ghost tours in and around the Canberra region. To find out more about his spooktacular experiences, go here.
7. The Copper Dragon Tavern The Copper Dragon is a fantasy-themed restaurant/pub located in Tuggeranong 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, go here.
8. Halloween Halloween is the one time in the year in Canberra when everything quirky, bizarre, spooky, outlandish, weird and downright terrifying come out to play. And it's also the one time in the year when it's perfectly acceptable to have body parts (plastic ones, of course) and bloodstained sheets as decorations in shops and houses! With festivals such as Boogong, Day of the Dead fiesta, Zombie Walk and neighbourhood trick or treating, Halloween is that very special time of the year when you can let out your inner witch, ghoul, vampire, scary clown, etc. For more information on Halloween in Canberra, go here.
10. The Canberra Roller Derby League.
It's fast, furious and feisty. It's all-female, full on, and lots and lots of fun. And it's the only place where you'll find Deadly Long Legs and Hurt Cobain battling it out with Hell Nino and Jam Pants. It's the Canberra Roller Derby League, and if you haven't been to a bout (match) yet, then you don't know what you're missing! Canberra has four homegrown teams: the Black N Blue Belles, the Surly Griffins, the Red Bellied Black Hearts and the Brindabelters. To find out more about the Canberra Roller Derby, go here.
Canberra is so much more than just politicians, public servants, hip Braddon, hip architecture in New Acton, and a plethora of vegan-friendly cafes that serve cool coffee and smashed avocado on toast. Canberra is also quirky, offbeat, unconventional, and unusual.
And that makes our city such a cool place to live.
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh you can't help that," said the Cat. "We're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat. "Or you wouldn't have come here."