Have you ever had a conversation with a stranger that was far more personal than…
Our My Canberra series is about seeing our city with new fresh eyes. We have sought out well known Canberrans, authors, HerCanberra readers and bloggers to share their favourite parts of Canberra. It has so much to offer, but sometimes it’s hard to find those fantastic places without knowing someone to recommend them.
Today, Tara from In The Taratory shares her favourite bits of the Capital. Tara is a mid-20s Queenslander (recognisable by her bright red hair) who moved to Canberra for work just over five years ago, and has embraced Canberra wholeheartedly, unashamedly singing its praises to anyone who will listen. I love her honest accounts of life in this city – if you haven’t yet added it to your reading list, you absolutely should!
Here’s Tara’s Canberra…
Northside or Southside?
Northside! When I first moved to Canberra I lived in the Inner South, but I never really felt like Canberra was ‘home’ until I moved to Belconnen. I love its character, its sense of community and, of course, its quirks!
My go-to is Ellacure in Bruce – the bean and chorizo cassoulet (below) is filling, tasty and has enough spice to kickstart the morning! I also love blueberry and ricotta hotcakes at Ha Ha Bar in Belco with their delicious All Muddled Up breakfast mocktail. Chatterbox, also in Belco, is becoming a popular spot (and is very well priced!).
Getting out of Belco, I can’t go past the spiced paprika eggs at Braddon’s Elk and Pea.
Favourite place to shop
Fresh produce: Capital Region Farmers Markets at EPIC on Saturday mornings, if you can get up early enough and brave the crowds!
Other food and drink: Ainslie IGA and Cellars have a great range of drinks, cheese, and also stock Frugii ice cream
Clothes shopping: Myer in Westfield Belconnen seems to have a never-ending sale!
Gifts: Lonsdale Street in Braddon or Old Bus Depot Markets on Sundays
“Must do” Canberra experience
Right now? The Mapping Our World exhibition at the National Library of Australia. It’s simply magnificent; the quality and range of the maps secured for the event is an absolute credit to the curators.
More generally, the walk to Booroomba Rocks (above), just south of Canberra, has the best return for effort: a 30 minute steep hike for sweeping views at the edge of the rocks. Everyone I know who’s done is has had their breath taken away (and not just because of the effort!).
What place is ‘under the radar’ that people should know about?
The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. There’s nothing quite like heading down Paddys River Road and catching the first glimpse of the dishes at the Tidbinbilla station. The station has an incredible history and it’s got a great visitor program, but most people don’t know it exists.
Favourite cheap and cheerful dining
Civic Asian Noodle House! Quick service, consistently good food, extremely well priced.
Favourite mid-range restaurant
Sanur’s Balinese in Belconnen. Again, friendly service and consistently good food. The restaurant maintains intimacy even when it’s busy.
Favourite high-end dining
The Boathouse by the Lake! I just went there last month, and it’s the first Canberra restaurant by which I’ve been truly blown away. Great location; amazing, innovative menu (below); and high-end service which isn’t over-eager.
Favourite place to grab a drink with friends
This also falls into the ‘under the radar’ category: La De Da. It’s above Ha Ha Bar in Belconnen, so has these extraordinary views over Lake Ginninderra. It’s a great place to unwind on a Friday evening as the sun casts yellow light over the shore. I’d love it to be more popular, but I also like that it’s a hidden gem.
On my ‘still to do list’
I’ve never heard a poor review about Morks at the Kingston Foreshore – in fact, everyone I know simply raves about it. It’s right at the top of the list. I’m also keen to give Pistachio Dining in Torrens a try.
Best day trip from Canberra
It’s a toss up between a trip to Kiama and back (popping in at Berry or Kangaroo Valley on the way), or an early drive to the Blue Mountains for a solid walk in amongst the lush forests and valleys.
Photographs: In The Taratory