Manuka + Kingston: Your ultimate guide to Canberra's most historic suburbs | HerCanberra

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Manuka + Kingston: Your ultimate guide to Canberra’s most historic suburbs

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With international flights still grounded, why not play tourist in your own city this weekend? VisitCanberra gives us the scoop on two of Canberra’s oldest suburbs—Manuka and Kingston.

Canberra’s inner south is home to the historic 1920s centres of Kingston and Manuka. A short drive from Parliament House, it’s a destination revered for entertainment, dining, shopping and people watching. Both hold a rich history, where historical buildings have been given new life.

The precinct delivers a seamless blend of modern and traditional vibrations. Heritage Kingston collides with the sparkling Kingston Foreshore, Canberra’s only urban waterside community.

Here’s your guide to the best places to go, shop, eat, stay in Kingston and Manuka, just a short 10-minute drive from Canberra’s city centre.

Where to shop

Both Manuka and Kingston offer a boutique shopping experience of high-quality apparel, shoes, jewellery and beautiful homewares.

In Manuka Village, you’re spoilt for choice with a number of popular jewellery stores including Bijoux, Creations Jewellers, and The Village Jewellers.

You’ll find fashion brands Witchery, Gazman, Trenery and more sitting alongside boutique stores like Things of Desire, Momento Dezigns and kids fashion store Wolfie. Escala, Carla Zampatti and Ambia also add to the high-end Manuka offerings.

Manuka is also popular for its homeware finds, with stores like Lily Cooper and Home by Creations among the offerings.

Foodies will love The Essential Ingredient at Kingston for its extensive range of kitchen homewares and its showcase of specialised, locally produced food from the Canberra region. Another store in Kingston offering a unique momento is Scott Leggo Photography, a local photographer renowned for his landscape work. Boutique stores Honeysuckle & Lace and Stephanie’s Boutique Lingerie are among the popular fashion stores here.

Where to eat


There are plenty of options in the village squares of Manuka and Kingston as well as the lakeside Kingston Foreshore.

The locals flock to Manuka on weekends for brunch, with Urban PantryTypicaMy Cafe and Patissez always popular.

For day and evening dining, there’s Public BarTimmy’s KitchenAbell’s Kopi TiamBelluci’sCaph’s and the Thai Cornar among others on the Manuka block.

Newcomer in Kingston, Queenies, is an eclectic bar that keeps you on your toes with a native twist to meals plus impressive drinks selection. Green Square Kingston is known for its outdoor café dining scene featuring Bittersweet and, across the road, Lava Kingston and Wildflour.

Wildflour. Credit: Anisa Sabet.

Other popular haunts include Canadian pub CaribouPenny University, Portia’sSilo Baker & CaféPomegranate and Otis Dining Hall.

Roughly nestled between Manuka and Kingston village centres is the Kington Hotel, known as the Kingo to locals, and Agostinis Italian restaurant, uber trendy Joe’s Bar and Muse, all at East Hotel.

The lakeside Kingston Foreshore (keep walking north down Giles Street and you’ll find it) is an eating hub in itself overlooking this modern residential area. Magoo’s Café and Bar and The Dock are popular for a drink or pub meal, while there’s a string of popular cafes including Local Press Café and Bean and Table. Popular restaurants include MorksMolto Italian and La Rustica.


Where to go

In summer take a dip at the art deco style Manuka Pool —a great spot to cool down. Across the road from the Manuka Village shops is Manuka Oval, where in autumn and winter you can watch the GIANTS play Australian Rules Football or national or international cricket games during summer.

If you are looking to see something creative, be assured there is always something happening at the Canberra Glassworks in the Kingston Foreshore precinct.

The Canberra Glassworks’ new shop.

It’s Australia’s only cultural centre that is wholly dedicated to contemporary glass art and forms part of a broader arts precinct currently in development. And it also has a popular local Brodburger as its café.

For a truly exceptional view of Canberra, hire an electric GoBoat picnic boat from Kingston Foreshore and cruise on Lake Burley Griffin. The experience will evoke the sense of adventure you need to make it a memorable trip.

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