Canberra Unlocked: Gungahlin | HerCanberra

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Canberra Unlocked: Gungahlin

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If Canberra’s regions were summarised in one word, Gungahlin’s word would be ‘new’. New suburbs, new homes and new Canberran icons (hello, light rail!).

New can be daunting sometimes—but new also means new possibilities, new inventions and opportunities for new traditions. In Gungahlin, this can be seen in the ingenuity of its street food, the good vibes of its nightlife and the beauty of its newly created wildlife sanctuaries.

Gungahlin is the focus of this week’s Canberra Unlocked, a series where we give you new insights into parts of Canberra you may not know as well as you like—just in time for your summer adventures.

EAT

Going out to eat in Gungahlin is as diverse an adventure as its community —a melting pot of cultures and cuisines. It’s also where a lot of new businesses have found their feet—including patisserie and café Le Bon Melange.

Opened in 2017 by passionate pastry chef Natalie Vanden Bosch, you’ll find cabinets of mirror glazed French pâtisserie sitting alongside colourful iced donuts in this little slice of Paris.

 

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From Paris to Los Angeles, if you’re looking for a slice of West Coast hospitality, Grease Monkey’s Gungahlin outpost awaits—complete with burgers, fries and shakes—and if your tastes run to something south of the border, La Empanada Bakehouse has turned their street food truck into a thriving shopfront, selling piping hot parcels of South American goodness.

 

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Speaking of eateries with a little hint in their name, if you’re up for a weekend adventure, you simply can’t go past the brilliantly named Sunday in Canberra.

A testament to the very Territorian pastime of brunch, you’ll find this sweet café tucked off the main street and serving a wide array of creative and unique breakfast and lunch dishes.

Naturally, no roundup of Gungahlin food would be complete without what is possibly the most iconic street food offering in all of Canberra—yes, we’re talking about The G Spot.

Cheekily named for its location in the carpark of the Gungahlin Lakes Club, The G Spot is a strictly nocturnal food van that serves food to satisfy late-night cravings and fulfil childhood dreams. Think: deep-fried Toblerones and dessert nachos alongside classic burgers, schnitzels and ribs.

DRINK

A testament to the youth of its population, Gungahlin’s thriving bar scene offers something for everyone—from parents of youngsters looking for a beer on a sunny terrace with friends to the grown children of Gungahlin’s first residents seeking a slice of nightlife a little closer to home.

A venue that caters for all crowds is Young and Frisky. The cheeky cousin of Braddon’s Hopscotch, Young and Frisky offers the same blend of pub and food that heats up as the night goes on, with live music, DJs and oodles of indoor seating.

 

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Siren Bar and Restaurant is another stalwart of the Gungahlin bar scene, with a creative (and colourful) cocktail menu that can be enjoyed with live music on their breezy terrace and if you’re looking to drink like a local, suburban gems The District in Crace, Frankies at Forde and Casey Jones in Casey offer a classic local experience.

 

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CHILL

Little ones know that you can never, ever go past an old-fashioned lolly shop—and in Gold Creek, sweet tooths of all ages will not be disappointed.

The Lolly Shop is a technicolour sugar daydream, stocking an impressive selection of imported and handmade lollies, chocolate, fudges and more.

 

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Naturally, you’ll be needing a beach or poolside read for summer, so why not stop in at BOOK FACE, in Gungahlin Town Centre? This charming wood-panelled emporium stocks a wide range of titles and their helpful staff can help you discover your dream read.

 

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LEARN

Gold Creek Village, located on the fringes of Gungahlin in Nicholls, is a sweet little collection of boutiques and experiences housed in quaint heritage-style shopfronts. The Canberra Walk-In Aviary allows little ones to get up close and personal with almost 500 birds from Australia and abroad.

Art lovers can also explore one of Canberra’s premier Indigenous art spots at the Aboriginal Dreamings Gallery. Established in 1989, the gallery showcases and sells a curated selection of ethically sourced works from an extensive range of Aboriginal art regions.

MOVE

There is possibly no better view of Gungahlin than from the loop around Yerrabi Pond, a winding reserve that is fringed by Gungahlin town centre, Forde, Amaroo and Ngunnawal.

A loop of the pond is roughly 4.3 kilometres and is almost completely flat, making it a popular route of dog walkers, runners and young families. There’s also an adventure playground on the southern side of the lake, including a tandem flying fox and a wheelchair-accessible Liberty Swing.

Those looking to get a bit further from the town centre need look no further than the sweeping Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary. Located on the northern edge of Gungahlin Mulligans Flat is a protected area that is home to an adorable selection of local creatures, including a much-loved echidna population.

PLAY

Gungahlin is also the place to take a round-the-world trip in a day at the beloved Cockington Green Gardens, a miniature village housed within a mock-Tudor mansion and its gardens.

Take a stroll around the English countryside, Machu Picchu, a Greek temple and a German Palace before hopping aboard the human-sized miniature railway.

And if your little ones prefer their models supersized, just down the road you’ll find the National Dinosaur Museum, where you can get up close and personal with life-sized animatronic dinosaurs.

Exploring the Dinosaur Garden and Canberra’s largest display of minerals, fossils and crystals will cap off a truly roar-some experience.

 

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This year, spend and support local as you explore Canberra unlocked.

See visitcanberra.com.au for more inspiration.

Feature image: Le Bon Melange by Tess Godkin for HerCanberra Magazine

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