One day in Canberra and two in Sydney - any ideas?

Oct 18th, 2011, 09:55 PM
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One day in Canberra and two in Sydney - any ideas?

I am traveling for business and have a few days off - Friday and part of Saturday in Sydney then Sunday in Canberra. I'm on foot so am trying to determine what would be fun to do with that time. I'm staying in the center of Canberra at the Novotel - don't know yet where I'll be in Sydney but likely pretty centrally located. I love to walk, would be thrilled with great views, am a foodie, love good wine, and would be delighted to see some wildlife or natural beauty. Any ideas would be great.
vivandvin is offline  
Oct 18th, 2011, 10:45 PM
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Hi, just a quick note on this, we stayed in the novotel in canberra also and its not as central as its made out to be. definately catch a bus or taxi into the centre. a nice place we found to eat was a place in the centre called milk & honey. hope that helps a little!
gemmad2011 is offline  
Oct 18th, 2011, 11:24 PM
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Here's some suggestions to start you off, vivandvin:

Sydney - take the ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo wharf, then spend a few hours at the zoo. As well as getting up close and personal with so many animals, you also get great views of the harbour. When you get back to the Quay, walk around to the Opera House, then stroll through the Botanical Gardens. There's also a hop-on-hop off bus that will take you to some of the major sights and buildings.

Canberra - walk from the lakeside up Anzac Parade to the War Memorial; you will pass a number of memorials to service groups and major war events en route. Di
di2315 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2011, 12:49 AM
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Hi, vivandvin,
Some ideas for Sydney (I was there last week for the week)
- Hop-on-hop-off Explorer buses have two tours - Bondi and Sydney, both included on the same ticket which is valid for 24 hours. Each tour is for 90 minutes.
- Sydney Wildlife World in Darling Harbour has some Australian animals and birds - takes about two hours to go through, depending on how long you study each species for
- The Markets at the Rocks - some high quality products there
- take the ferry to Watson's Bay, have lunch at the Watson's Bay Hotel just past the restaurant on the wharf (the barramundi is delicious, as apparently are the fish and chips), walk to The Gap which is just up the hill from the ferry, then catch the bus back to Sydney - there are some great sights on this trip, too.

Can't help with accommodation as I stayed with my sister.
dottyp is offline  
Oct 19th, 2011, 02:39 AM
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Canberra - Definitely the War Memorial. Parliament house.Old Parliament house and the Natioanl archives

Sydney. Take ferry from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour and you will go past the Opera House, Under the bridge, stop at Luna Park and then across to Darling Harbour. There is an Oberon Class submarine in Darling Harbour and a replica of Captain Cokk's ship the Endeavour.
The area around "The Rocks" is worth exploring.
especially the discovery museum
peterSale is offline  
Oct 19th, 2011, 02:47 PM
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The National Gallery is usually worth a visit in Canberra, currently there is a Fred Williams show which is excellent. He is an early Australian modernist who combined landscape and abstraction--wonderful evocations of the colours and textures of different landscapes. There is a bus to the gallery from the centre of town; they run fairly frequently.

My favourite food places in Canberra: Ottoman (excellent modern Turkish), Chairman and Yip (Chinese). I'm going down in a couple of weeks and Aubergine (Mod Oz) has been recommended to me also.

In Sydney, foodwise, my current favourites are: Vini (Italian), Porteno (Argentinian), Golden Century (Chinese).
Susan7 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2011, 03:40 PM
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You'll have a good chance of seeing some kangaroos in the wild if you go up to Red Hill in Canberra. There are good views of the city from the top as well. Perhaps you can get a taxi to the top of Red Hill and then walk down to see the 'roos. You'll probably see some birds up there as well. Or, if you really enjoy a hike, you can walk both up and down Red Hill (which is what my DH did for exercise when we lived in Canberra.)
The base of Red Hill is only about 8 blocks from Parliament House--a straight shot up Melbourne Avenue, so it would be easy to combine a stop there with your visit to Parliament House, which shouldn't be missed.
longhorn55 is offline  
Oct 20th, 2011, 12:47 PM
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PeterSale, thanks for identifying the navy boat that was in Darling Harbour. I didn't have time to go have a closer look last Tuesday.
I wondered if the sailing ship was a replica of the Endeavour. We watched it sailing under the bridge while we were on the ferry to Watson's Bay - looked impressive.
dottyp is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2011, 12:58 AM
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Seconding Susan7's suggestion of the National Art Gallery, and adding the Portrait Gallery (less than 3 mins walk.)

In the same area, Old Parliament House is worth a look; and nearby restaurants I've enjoyed in the last year include:

The Sculpture Garden restaurant at the National Gallery.
(Last time I was there the Chef was, James Kidman, a relative of the famous Australian cattleman & grazier, Sir Sidney Kidman)

Pork Barrell (in the Rose Garden, adjacent to Old Parliament House)

Waters Edge
Right on the Lake.

I've heard good things about On Red, which has stunning views over Canberra, but haven't been so can't comment on the food etc.,
Bokhara2 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2011, 06:05 PM
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Hey Bokhara, On Red looks very interesting!
Susan7 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2011, 09:38 PM
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It does, Susan. Unfortunately, it was closed when we were there earlier this year, but the menus & decor were enough to get it onto my "Next Trip" list.

If the food is good, it would be a fantastic place to take visitors, because there's a picture post card view of Canberra and the ranges below.

BTW, I made a return visit to Ottoman at Walsh Bay a couple of weeks ago with a group of 6 and had another very good and interesting selection of tasting dishes.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2011, 02:04 AM
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Just reporting back after a weekend in Canberra, Aubergine in Griffith was really good for dinner, no wonder it got two hats in the SMH food guide. I finally went to Bokahara's recommendation of Pork Barrell, thanks for that one Bokhara. That's in a gorgeous location with very nice cafe food.

Looks like the Sculpture Garden restaurant at NGA is shut. Cream is terrific for brunch in the City Centre.
Susan7 is offline  
Nov 5th, 2011, 11:05 PM
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Sorry coming to this late, so for what it's worth and perhaps for future reference -

The Novotel is well located (above the long distance bus station) and there is no need to take a bus or taxi to the city 'centre', the adjacent central business/ shopping precinct known as Civic (as distinct from the Parliamentary Triangle), so just walk out the front door of the Novotel across Northbourne Avenue to Bunda Street, with Cream and other eateries and the Canberra Centre shopping mall located just a short way along Bunda Street.

All of the dining choices mentioned previously are very good. Also note that the cultural institutions, National Library, National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery etc - these in the Parliamentary Triangle - all have their own cafes (the first two with a lake view terrace). The National Gallery Sculpture Garden restaurant is due to reopen on 10 Dec and will be open for lunch Wed-Sun until Easter.

Perhaps consider a walk around the central basin of the lake between the Commonwealth and Kings Bridges, in the Parliamentary Triangle -,_Canberra

commencing with an overview (historical perspective, lie of the land and suggested walks) at the National Capital Exhibition at Regatta Point -

or online

To reach the Regatta Point exhibition, cross Northbourne Avenue from the Novotel and proceed south, crossing London Circuit and continuing around City 'Hill' (the island clump of trees with flagpole on your right), with carparks and theatres on your left, to Commonwealth Avenue with its expansive views across the bridge to Parliament House (straight ahead) and the Brindabella Ranges (to the south west). Before reaching the bridge make the short diversion to the exhibition by turning left into Albert St and then Barrine Drive. Note that the exhibition centre will be closed from 12 April to December 2012 for redevelopment prior to the 2013 Canberra centenary celebrations.

Resume your walk south across the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge, turning left to walk along the southern shore of the lake to the Kings Bridge with diversions perhaps to

the National Library with its new Treasures Gallery

the National Portrait Gallery (award winning building opened in 2008)

National Gallery with its special/ blockbuster exhibitions and sculpture garden

or perhaps Old Parliament House with its Museum of Australian Democracy -

or further afield ('new') Parliament House set into Capital Hill,_Canberra

Returning to the lake foreshore cross the Kings Bridge (defence precinct and Australian-American Memorial in distance ahead), then turn left from the bridge to walk west along the northern foreshore, past the Carillon (good spot for a picnic stop) on a small island reached by pedestrian bridge, to the end of Anzac Parade, the memorial drive leading from the lake up to the domed Australian War Memorial at the base of Mt Ainslie (a fair hike there and back after the distance you've already walked and perhaps best done as a separate excursion) and continuing along the lake shore past Nerang Pool and Commonwealth Park (site of the annual Floriade spring garden festival in Sept/Oct) and below the Regatta Point exhibition visited earlier to rejoin Commonwealth Avenue for the walk back to Civic.

Apart from the Red Hill excursion (south of Parliament House and too much to do with all the others here) mentioned earlier, other close-by walking options include a diversion to the right after crossing Commonwealth Bridge to take in the historic Hyatt (old Hotel Canberra) and Albert Hall and the lakefront Lennox Gardens incorporating the Canberra Nara Japanese Garden with views across the lake including the National Museum of Australia (an excursion itself) jutting from the northern shore

or combining a visit to the Australian War Memorial

with a walk up Mt Ainslie for magnificent views and the possibility, depending on time of day, of kangaroo sightings - perhaps take a bus (Routes 930/931) there and walk back to Civic via the western side section of Anzac Parade with its individual conflict memorials, through the old suburb of Reid and St John's Church (consecrated 1845),_Reid

and Glebe Park to the central pedestrian shopping area and then to your hotel on Northbourne Avenue.

Feel free to ask for further info/ local opinion masquerading as fact.
farrermog is offline  
Nov 13th, 2011, 02:03 PM
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Wow farrermog, thanks for the very exhaustive list! We are moving to Canberra in 3 weeks so I will make good use of all your suggestions.
birder is offline  
Nov 15th, 2011, 09:28 PM
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Birder - good for you, hope you enjoy it here - most of us who live here like it (and most of us are from somewhere else which gives the lie to the capital being out of touch). Has its share of city problems and may be a bit quiet for some [but we do have FA-18s now patrolling overhead since POTUS dropped by this afternoon], but great for young families, those with cultural interests and academic pursuits and anyone who enjoys outdoor activities.
farrermog is offline  
Nov 17th, 2011, 02:53 AM
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dottyp- that may have been the James Craig that you saw sailing in the harbour.
jayneLB is offline  
Nov 21st, 2011, 07:04 PM
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Other Canberra perspectives (in case too many want to move here or visitors expect too much excitement) -

from British musician James Rhodes who toured recently

"Canberra is, apparently, the capital of Australia. I'm ashamed to say I only found that out when I arrived there. Desolate, barren, a ghost-town that, like so many capital cities in the world, has the air of the world's biggest euthanasia clinic. The hotel I'm in is straight out of a mid-West serial killer film. But I love it. Mildew, creaking air-con, room service that has more culture in it than Carnegie Hall. The gig is ace, despite a shaky start... "

and depressed as well
farrermog is offline  
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