Canberra has never been hotter this summer season of fun

This article is sponsored content from VisitCanberra

Canberra is heating up this summer and it’s not hard to see why. Australia’s capital city might have flown under the radar in the past but it’s fast become the nation’s brightest spark. In 2018, Lonely Planet ranked Canberra third on its Best in Travel list.

Canberra has experienced a blossoming cosmopolitan culture in recent years, with a foodie scene bolstered by some of the hottest names in the world. Iconic names like Otis’ Damian Brabender, who was awarded 2017 Australian Chef of the Year and Ottoman’s Serif Kaya, set Canberra dinner plates alight night after night with their eclectic dining experiences.

Ottoman's Karniyarik - lamb-stuffed eggplant with yoghurt garlic sauce.

Ottoman's Karniyarik - lamb-stuffed eggplant with yoghurt garlic sauce.

Canberra’s coffee scene has also gone from strength to double strength, serving up some of Australia’s best and brightest minds their perfectly-poured caffeine fix. Canberrans love their coffee and the industry has risen to the occasion – last year, ONA Coffee's Hugh Kelly was named Australia’s Barista Champion for the second year in a row. 

There’s also plenty of action taking place on and off the field. From Friday 1 February 2019, Canberra will also host its first international test cricket match, The Domain Test at Manuka Oval, which will see Australia take on Sri Lanka in the ultimate showdown. The city’s maiden Test Match will be the final international match of the summer and the second and final test of the two-game series against Sri Lanka.

It’s all set against a unique blend of designer architecture within a natural landscape, the perfect backdrop for one thing after another this Summer. Canberra, a name inspired by the Ngunnawal word meaning ‘meeting’, is the perfect place to do so. 

Get outdoors with GoBoats and see Canberra from the water on your very own self-driven boat. Over 10,000 people set sail around Lake Burley Griffin last season, the first location to offer the experience outside of Europe. Pack a picnic lunch for yourself and seven others and relax as you spend the afternoon cruising through the glassy lake. 

Each boat features a centrally located picnic table, and you can buy drinks at GoBoat or bring your own food and beverages.

Each boat features a centrally located picnic table, and you can buy drinks at GoBoat or bring your own food and beverages.

Prefer to keep it moving? Chat to the fun crew at The Paddle Hub about renting a kayak or stand-up paddle board and get the blood pumping as you explore the iconic Lake Burley Griffin. Located at the YMCA Aquatic Recreation Centre in picturesque Yarralumla Bay, the team will set you up with all the gear you need. 

Or, take it all in on two wheels instead – rent a bike from the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre at Regatta Point and pedal your way around the waterfront. Canberra and Region Visitors Centre have loads of local knowledge, whether it’s a last-minute accommodation deal or tips about cool new restaurants and cafes. 

Worked up a hunger? Take a seat at one of Canberra's best coffee and brunch haunts and feed your soul. 

Located in the heart of Deakin is Doubleshot, one of Canberra’s most welcoming and enjoyable cafes. Bursting with personality and charm, the team at Doubleshot focus on creating menus with the freshest local produce and creating a home-style environment to serve it within. Must-try is one of their famous peanut butter milkshakes – best enjoyed while dining alfresco in the sunshine. 

Doubleshot Café has some stylish interiors and equally delicious food offerings.

Doubleshot Café has some stylish interiors and equally delicious food offerings.

For those fanatical about their cuppa, Highroad is an essential coffee experience located off the beaten track in Canberra’s inner north. Presented by ONA Coffee, Highroad was founded and directed by World Barista Champion 2015, Sasa Sestic. The team also serve bespoke wine and unique craft beer, allowing you to sit back and switch up your vices as the day trickles on. ONA Coffee also present ONA Manuka, a laid-back and traditional Canberran cafe with unique menu offerings like the Lilypad – green pea rosti, confit pork belly, cumin-spiced feta, fried egg and roast garlic aioli to sate the senses. 

Newly-refurbished The Front is worth a visit for the surrounds alone – an in-cafe art gallery with plans for an event space to hold gigs and more. Original owner, artist Paul Jamieson, ran The Front Gallery and Cafe for 12 years before closing in February this year. He's now handed over the reigns to new owners Blake Proberts (partner in Two Before Ten), Max Owens (former manager at Cupping Room), and Nicky Kim (previous sous chef at Highroad). When they heard Paul was selling the venue, the trio thought it was an opportunity they couldn't pass up. The trio serve delicious breakfast and lunch with a modern twist, with dinner served Wednesday to Saturday.

The Front in Lyneham have installed a new kitchen and Chef Yves Al-Ghazi's very happy about it.

The Front in Lyneham have installed a new kitchen and Chef Yves Al-Ghazi's very happy about it.

A great way to experience the breadth of a city is to enjoy a local market, a veritable bubbling pot of local produce, live entertainment, art, food and wine and of course the local people who bring it all to life, all situated within a mini-metropolis of stalls and space.

Get into the spirit at the Handmade Markets Canberra, running 7-9 December, who are celebrating their ten year anniversary this year. People from all over pour into Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) for the chic artisan market which showcases some of the best in Australian handmade design and produce. Browse artwork and craft, books, handmade decorations, glassware, fashion and more. 

Shop bespoke homewares made by local artists at Canberra's Christmas Market.

Shop bespoke homewares made by local artists at Canberra's Christmas Market.

Canberra’s Christmas Market is a joyful collaboration of artisan creators and purveyors of fine food across the weekend of December 8 – 9 and entry is free. The bustling festive market will feature over 90 stalls boasting an quirky mix of Christmas items including trees, puddings, cakes and pastries, arts and crafts as well as gift ideas for the while family including clothing, novelties and pet present ideas. Kids can meet Santa, decorate ginger bread houses and enjoy the carols. All the fun will go down at Fitzroy Pavilion, Exhibition Park in Canberra, just 10 minutes from the city with public transport available. 

Enjoying a lazy Sunday in the nation’s capital? Admirers of fine hand-made wares, clothing collectors, foodie fanatics and jewellery lovers can be found perusing Canberra’s famous Old Bus Depot Markets each Sunday. Held within a historic industrial building setting, the market takes place from 10am til 4pm, with plenty to see and do for young and old. 

Australian actor Abbie Cornish at the opening of Heath Ledger: A Life In Pictures at the National Film and Sound Archive. Painting by Vincent Fantauzzo Pic: Karleen Minney

Australian actor Abbie Cornish at the opening of Heath Ledger: A Life In Pictures at the National Film and Sound Archive. Painting by Vincent Fantauzzo Pic: Karleen Minney

Head along to pay homage to one of Australia’s most acclaimed and beloved artists and actors, Heath Ledger, at Heath Ledger: A Life in Pictures. The posthumous Oscar-winner tragically passed away in 2008, devastating not just Hollywood but fans all over the world.

The exhibition explores his inspired life and unbridled passions behind and in front of the camera. Rare objects will be on display including research journals with hand-written notes kept by Heath to prepare for his role as The Joker, original costumes from the Dark Knight and Brokeback Mountain, his Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, two of Heath’s motorcycles, his personal photography and more. The exhibition will fulfill a six month season at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) and entry is free. 

Explore the passion, violence and betrayal of ancient Rome at Rome: City and Empire, where the grandeur of this vast and gritty empire is brought to life again trough more than 200 fascinating artefacts from the British Museum. Explore worship, war, everyday life and love as you peruse the collection, or join a tour to get the inside gossip on what made this ancient and torrid empire so historically enduring. 

John William Waterhouse The Lady of Shalott 1888, oil on canvas. Image courtesy Tate.

John William Waterhouse The Lady of Shalott 1888, oil on canvas. Image courtesy Tate.

Be transported to a world of pure romance at Love & Desire, an exclusive collection from the Tate that showcases the dreamy, lucid strokes of a Pre-Rachaelite era of paintings. The era illustrated the great love stories of history and literature, the tempestuousness of lustful entanglements, and the reverence of religious icons. The masterpieces are rarely lent and most have never been seen in Australia, with iconic pieces such as John Everett Millais’ Ophelia 1851–52 and William Holman Hunt’s The Awakening Conscience 1853. It’s an unmissable exhibition for art lovers and appreciators of romance alike. 

Bring in 2019 with an absolute bang at New Years Eve in the City, held in the beating heart of Canberra at Civic Square. It’ll be a party unlike any other, with plenty of pop, fizzle and bang at the 9pm fireworks, along with lots of live entertainment, food and drink and more. The full program will be announced shortly so watch this space!

This article is sponsored content from VisitCanberra

This story Canberra has never been hotter this summer season of fun first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.