Canberra Unlocked: Inner South | HerCanberra

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Canberra Unlocked: Inner South

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Canberra, it’s been a while since we could truly explore our city.

It’s home to national museums and galleries, but the Inner South is so much more than just culture.

It’s next in our Canberra Unlocked series that explores the city’s seven regions, uncovering hidden gems and giving you the ultimate playbook for your next adventure.

This vibrant precinct has a rich food culture and an intriguing mix of history and modernity, with everything from retail therapy to family fun, art exploration and quality ‘me time’, making it the perfect place to unlock as the city opens up.


Excellent eateries are found around every corner of the Inner South, but a bougie brunch experience at Double Shot Deakin never disappoints. The perfect place to unwind and indulge in healthy sweet or savoury treats, this café is the definition of chic suburban ambience.

Just down the road you’ll find the home of those viral Freakshakes and fully loaded tacos, Patissez. Known for their decadent meals, don’t blame us if you end up obsessed with their bespoke French Toast menu.

However, while the Inner South serves up café culture in spades, it’s also the place to find some of Canberra’s most elegant dining destinations.

Griffith’s Aubergine, helmed by acclaimed Chef Ben Willis, has carried the auspicious title of Canberra’s most lauded restaurant for the best part of two decades, while recently opened Onzieme in Kingston boasts an ever-changing menu from imaginative French-trained Chef Louis Couttoupes.


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Celebrating something? The Boat House, located on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin in Barton, is an iconic venue that combines million-dollar views with cutting edge cuisine from one of Canberra’s best chefs, John Leverink.

Craving a view with a more relaxed atmosphere? Snapper on the Lake has the best (fish and chip) seat in the house just a seven-minute drive down the road.


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With the aperitivo season upon us, a cocktail from Joe’s Bar in the East Hotel is a must when looking for the perfect place to begin your evening.

Snack on a delicious antipasti platter while sipping a classic Italian Aperol Spritz or enjoy a taste of Canberra with the Smokey Foreshore.

Just a hop, skip and short e-scooter ride away, Queenies in Kingston is a bar that’s big on ingenuity if you’re looking for a cocktail that’s both clever and tasty—we love the Stevie Nicks, a combination of Archie Rose Original Vodka, Elderflower Liqueur, Thyme, Lemon. Native Australian and Asian flavours dominate the intriguing menu of bar snacks.

If a pub by the water is more your calling during the warmer months, head to the Kingston Foreshore’s local pub, The Dock, to experience the best combination: stunning views with a cold pint.

Alternatively, Armada Bar, a breezy outdoor expansion of The Boat House, takes full advantage of spectacular sunset views.


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Ready to explore the zen side of the Inner South? Start your day at Muse in Kingston (a combined café and bookshop) to sample their all-day menu and a carefully curated selection of  titles, before heading to Barton’s Hale Spa for some Scandinavian luxury in the form of a massage and facial. Did we mention the plunge pool and sauna?


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When in the Inner South enclaves of Kingston and Manuka, shopping is essential for relaxing retail therapy, and you’ll find a range of boutiques bursting with clothing, accessories, jewellery and more.

Full of cottons, silks and lace, Honeysuckle and Lace has beautiful clothing for the discerning shopper; complete your outfit with a trip to Deakin’s Sissa Sorella for shoes to die for.

Booklovers are also spoilt for choice with Manuka’s Paperchain Bookstore and Kingston’s The Book Cow overflowing with excellent reads (and there’s even more down the road in Parkes, with The Curatoreum, Art Store and the National Library of Australia bookshop all the stuff bibliophiles’ dreams are made of).


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The Inner South boasts many of Canberra’s cultural institutions, and they’re all worth exploring. Book a free ticketed COVID-safe session at the National Gallery of Australia to see modern and contemporary icons from all eras and continents or visit Canberra Glassworks in Kingston—it’s a haven for handmade works where you can watch the artists work as they bring glass to life in the Hot Shop.


Choosing an outdoor adventure is easy with Lake Burley Griffin on your doorstep. Sit back and relax (or take on the responsibility of skipper!) as a self-drive cruise on an electric GoBoat shows you a new side of the Lake. It’s sightseeing taken to a whole new level—BYO picnic optional.


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Zipping along on a Segway from SegGlide is another way to shake things up, while self-service bike rental Share A Bike is a simple way to grab a bike while you’re out and about.

Want to get your steps up? The 5km bridge-to-bridge walk around Lake Burley Griffin takes in many of Canberra’s iconic attractions, making it the perfect way to tour with friends.


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For family fun like nothing else, look no further than Yarralumla Play Station: a hidden gem for the little ones in Weston Park. With Canberra themed putt-putt, a mini train, farm animals and more, it’s easy to make a day of it.

From 15 November, end a sunny day at Manuka Pool for relaxation with a side of history (it first opened in 1931) or picnic in the leafy heart of the Inner South—Telopea Park.

The Pop Inn, an ingenious travelling wine bar, can often be found in the park, setting the scene for an afternoon of great wine and fun with friends.

This year, spend and support local as you explore Canberra unlocked. See for more inspiration.

Feature image: Doubleshot Deakin by Pew Pew Studio

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