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Published February 27th 2018
Update April 4th 2019
The Forage foodie market has moved. See website for details.
Foodie markets, cafes, wine & lake views
The suburb of Barton is located just a few minutes drive from the city centre and according to the map, it covers areas on both sides of Lake Burley Griffin. This suburb, which is a short walk from Parliament House, is named after Australia's first Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton. Each street in Barton is lined with stunning, mature trees, with brand new office buildings sitting alongside older-style government buildings and hotels. If you visit Barton during the week, you will find hundreds of government workers on the streets at lunchtime, getting their coffee fix and enjoying the variety of cafes on offer. Although only a thousand people live in Barton, it is a place that thousands more want to visit. Here are 5 reasons why...
Street food from Papa Laci - The Lángos Man at The Forage food market. Image: The Forage Facebook (photo credit: 5 Foot Photography)
1/ The Forage is a popular foodie night market, that is held seasonally throughout the year. This event is held in the car park of the Little National Hotel in the Hotel Realm precinct. Every few months the bunting and fairy lights are strung up, the food trucks roll in, the music starts and thousands of Canberrans turn up to enjoy the festive atmosphere. For kids (and big kids!) there are lawn games to play and in the winter months there are fire barrels to warm up by. The fun begins at 2pm in the afternoon and continues until 7pm, so you can enjoy a late lunch and then an early dinner - and don't leave until you've tried some dessert! See here for details.
2/ Fine Dining Restaurants in Canberra can be found in almost every suburb of the inner city, however Barton has its fair share of offerings. Ottoman is the most awarded restaurant in Canberra and was awarded two Chef's Hats by the Sydney Morning Herald for 2018. The Hotel Realm precinct is another popular place to dine, with Lilotang, Chairman and Yip and Buvette Bistro and Wine Bar all in the same area. On the other side of Lake Burley Griffin, in Grevillea Park, is the impressive fine dining restaurant called The Boat House. This restaurant has some of the best views of the lake, with tables situated just metres from the water's edge. This is a particularly popular venue for weddings, with intricately-designed meals, matching wines and views that stretch 180 degrees along the lakeside.
Also see here for a list of popular cafes in Barton, for good food and even better coffee!
Lake views and fine dining at The Boat House. Image: The Boat House Facebook
3/ Hotel Kurrajong is a heritage-listed hotel, which was built between 1925 and 1927 as a hostel for public servants, when parliament moved from Melbourne to Canberra. As it is located close to Parliament House, it has been a popular hotel and place to stay for many politicians over the years. One of their most notable guests was Australia's 16th Prime Minister Ben Chifley who lived there throughout his parliamentary career, as he preferred the hotel over The Lodge. In 1951 he suffered a heart attack in his hotel room and passed away. Black and white photos from this era can be seen around the hotel.
Over the years this hotel steeped in history has closed down, been restored and changed owners, however it still has that same historical, art deco charm oozing from every wall and room. See here for details.
History and style at Hotel Kurrajong. Image: Original photos from Hotel Kurrajong Facebook
4/ Telopea Park is a long parkland on the border of Barton and Kingston. It is one of the oldest parks in Canberra, established in 1922 as part of Walter Burley Griffins design for Canberra. At the top end of the park is the historical Manuka Pool and on the lower end, it meets Wentworth Avenue and Bowen Park, on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. It is a popular walkway through the suburb and particularly striking in the autumn months, when the trees change colour and the leaves drop to form a colourful carpet underfoot. There are also many BBQ areas to choose from and a small playground for the kids. See here for a full article on Telopea Park.
If you enjoy a glass of wine in the outdoors, then you will enjoy the arrival of the mobile wine bar The Pop Inn, which often "pops up" in Telopea Park and around the city. See here for where they will be setting up their wine bar next!
5/ Bowen Park is a small parkland, located between Telopea Park (above) and Lake Burley Griffin. This is another popular venue for The Pop Inn wine bar, so keep an eye out for their mobile trailer along the waterside. The park is also bordered by a cycle path called the Lake Burley Griffin Eastern Loop which continues along to the Kingston Foreshore, next to Bowen Park. This central parkland area is an ideal spot for a quiet picnic (or wine!), by the lakeside, with many locals walking down to just relax and watch the world go by.
Barton is just one of the many suburbs of Canberra, however it has its own attractions to explore. The best way to explore it is by foot, as you walk up from the lake and discover tucked away little coffee outlets and cafes along the way. Or alternatively, don't go anywhere and just spend your afternoon in Barton, relaxing by the lake...
Springtime blossoms at Bowen Park, Lake Burley Griffin