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10+ reasons Canberra doesn’t suck

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Sick of people telling you just how crap Canberra is when they haven’t visited since their Year 6 school excursion (or ever)? Pull out our handy list of 10+ reasons our city doesn’t suck.

At HerCanberra, pretty much everything we do comes down to telling people just how great Canberra is. Every day, we publish stories about the amazing people, places and events that make our city a wonderful place to live.

But we’re not stupid. We know Canberra’s reputation beyond our borders and across the sea can be, well, less than stellar.

So when you say you’re from Canberra and all you get is polite silence or snide comments about roundabouts, porn and politicians, just pull out our handy list of 10+ reasons our city doesn’t suck. It’s our turn to be smug.

WE HAVE MORE RESTAURANTS THAN YOU. SOZ.

Highroad. Photography: Tim Bean

With more restaurants per capita than anywhere else on mainland Australia (and more opening every single month), Canberrans are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out.

From street food to fine diners, the problem isn’t finding somewhere to eat, it’s choosing between the excellent and seemingly-endless array of venues. Oh, and most of them take reservations.

WORLD-CLASS EXHIBITIONS COME TO US

Oh, you’re off to Paris to see Monet? We’re going to see some of his best works in our lunch break. But you do you.

Later in the year, we’ll see Picasso, the best portraits from VOGUE Australia, and even iconic characters from DreamWorks Animation’s most celebrated films.

Look beyond the national cultural institutions and you’ll find about 40 contemporary galleries in Canberra. Check out M16 Artspace, Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Nancy Sever, Strathnairn Arts, ANCA, CMAG, Nishi GalleryBeaver Galleries, and more.

THE WORLD’S BEST BARISTA LIVES HERE

Sasa Sestic, officially the world’s best barista. Image: Rebecca Doyle.

Yep, Canberra is home to the winner of the 2015 World Barista Championship—look it up! His name is Sasa Sestic and he’s lovely.

His cafés are all across Canberra, his coffee distributed around the world, and his ONA Coffee acolytes regularly scoop awards around the world for their barista and coffee cocktail skills.

Stick that in your double macchiato, Melbourne.

Find out more about Sasa here.

THERE’S MORE TO OUR NIGHTLIFE THAN THE MOOSE

Bar Rochford. Photography: Tim Bean

In fact, staff favourite Bar Rochford was last year named the Best Bar in Australia by Gourmet Traveller.

We have internationally-inspired bars (Beirut Bunker Bar and Highball Express, to name just two), down and dirty nightclubs (Mr Wolf), Italian aperitivo bars (Ciao, Joe’s Bar and Amici), footy-watching local pubs (take your pick), epic beer gardens (hello Assembly)—and if that doesn’t impress you, maybe the fact that you can get a drink past midnight will.

And yes (sigh) we’ve heard of a speakeasy bar. Just pick one.

STOP WAFFLING ON ABOUT YOUR CULT BREAD. WE HAVE IT TOO.

Yeah, we get it. The Bourke Street Bakery and Iggy’s Bread are great.

But have you heard of Silo, Three Mills Bakery and Knead? And yes, we know Sonoma. We have one too.

Want more bread? Read our ultimate Canberra bread guide here.

WE’RE CLOSE TO ALL THE FUN STUFF

Photography: James Blakeney

We’re a mere two hours from the beach and, let’s be honest, that’s about as much time as you’d spend on public transport trying to get there in a major city.

As for the snow, forget a two-day expedition just to get there. From Canberra, you can do it in a well-timed day trip (or just pop down the road to Corin Forest for a bit of snow play).

Also within easy reach are The Riverina (known as the ‘food bowl of Australia’), the charming Hilltops region, and the Southern Highlands, where you can get your fix of the UK countryside and weather without leaving the country.

I mean, it’s almost like living in Europe, where everything’s a short trip away. Almost.

WE HAVE OUR OWN WINE REGION

That’s right. Forget expensive trips to the Hunter or the Yarra Valley, the Canberra Wine Region delivers in spades…or should we say sips?

With 140 vineyards (!!!) and more than 30 cellar doors less than a 35-minute drive from Canberra—not to mention some of the most lauded wines in the country (Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier, anyone?)—even the snobbiest of your wine snob mates will be impressed.

YOU CAN FEEL THE SERENITY

They don’t call us the bush capital for nothing.

Kangaroos on our lawns each morning? What’s new?

Peacocks roaming the suburbs? Oh, you mean other cities don’t have them?

Bush reserves next to each suburb? For our morning walk, of course.

National Parks, rock climbing, swimming holes, hikes and mountain bike trails less than a 30-minute drive away? Yeah, we’ve got them too.

And when it comes to getting around, even the commutes aren’t that bad—as a matter of fact, they’re shorter on average than Melbourne or Sydney* (and Brisbane and Perth and Adelaide).

WE MAKE LOTS OF BEER AND SPIRITS. AND THEY’RE AMAZING.

Capital Brewing Co. Photography: Tim Bean.

From gin (including *ahem* our own HerCanberra x The Canberra Distillery French Earl Grey Gin) to beer, we have some of Australia’s best—and we don’t mean some faceless monolith brewery. Canberran tipples are coaxed into existence through the hard work and imagination of some of our most passionate locals.

BentSpoke and Capital Brewing Co can hold their own against some of Australia’s best craft brews (click here if you don’t believe us) and our local spirits speak for themselves.

Award-winning gin, moonshine, vodka? Pick your poison. We’ll wait.

Read more about Canberra’s craft distilleries here

EASY TO GET AWAY FROM (SHOULD YOU FEEL THE NEED)

Singapore is just a direct flight away.

Yes, this article is all about why you should come to Canberra and stay, but we all need to get away sometimes—and if you do, it’s never been easier to nip off for a quick break.

Aside from the aforementioned snow, country and coast trips, you can always hop a flight from our international airport to Singapore or Doha, with Singapore Airlines or Qatar Airways.

OTHERS THINK WE’RE AWESOME TOO.

The Forage. Photography: Tim Bean.

Lonely Planet thought we were cool enough to name us the third hottest destination to visit last year—the highest ever ranking for an Australian city. They praised the “boutique precincts emerging throughout the city, bursting with cool bars, cafes and restaurants … endless family-friendly and adventurous activities, opportunities to connect with nature or indulge in a range of gastronomic delights, along with a smorgasbord of cultural, artistic and sporting events.”

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE…

We haven’t even mentioned the world’s coolest bus shelters, fabulous festivals, the fact that we’re a smart city which thrives on conversation,amazing architecture, the ‘small town’ feel, the picturesque lakes, amazing theatre and dance, the thriving artistic scene, truffles, market culture, and so much more.

Maybe it’s time we started asking other cities to prove just how cool they are.

*According to The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey

Feature image of Baby Su by Ashley St George.

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