How to Spend a Long Weekend with Your Mates in Canberra

Round up the crew for a few days of eating, drinking and outdoor activities.
Jasmine Crittenden
Published on July 31, 2019

How to Spend a Long Weekend with Your Mates in Canberra

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Round up the crew for a few days of eating, drinking and outdoor activities.

If you're looking for a group-friendly weekender that covers more action than you can handle — from boating and biking to visiting breweries — it could be time to round up some mates and head for the nation's capital. Perched on pretty Lake Burley Griffin and surrounded by a smattering of parks, Canberra offers a fun mix of outdoorsy escapades, iconic cultural landmarks and top-notch food and wine — all within minutes of one another.

In one weekend, you can captain a high-tech boat, learn how to mountain bike, smash lots of things (without getting into trouble), sample a bunch of cracking craft beers and try something called a unicorn waffle. Here are five reasons to call your best friends, hatch a plan, lock in a date and head for Canberra — by plane, train or automobile.

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    At the heart of Canberra is Lake Burley Griffin, which gives you 40 kilometres of shoreline to explore. If you’ve already walked, cycled or driven it, then jump aboard a GoBoat. This super-quiet electric (and eco-friendly) vessel has space for up to eight people — and you don’t need a licence to steer. Plus, there’s a central table, where you can pop up a picnic.

    You’re welcome to set your own course — whether you want to check out the lakeside parks or admire Canberra’s legendary buildings, like the National Gallery of Australia and the High Court, from the water.

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    Begin your beer adventures at Capital Brewing Co, one of Canberra’s best-known craft breweries. Made with pristine water from the nearby Brindabella Wilderness Reserve, Capital’s drops are all about keeping things local. Sample your way through the taps, from the fresh, crisp Coast Ale to the full-bodied Evil Eye Red IPA. Burgers and hot dogs from local favourite Brodburger are available, too.

    Rather not have to think about driving? Turn your visit to Capital Brewing a stop on a full-blown brewery crawl by joining a Dave’s Brewery Tour.

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  • 3

    On Canberra’s western outskirts, just 15 minutes from the city centre, lies Stromlo Forest Park, which is home to more than 50 kilometres of mountain biking trails. If you’re a beginner, get started at Holden’s Creek. If you’re a hardcore cyclist who’s ready for an adrenaline hit, head to Blood Rock and Cardiac Arrest — both are black diamond runs.

    The park’s Vapour Network is designed to help you progress gradually, from the top of the mountain to the bottom, which means there are routes for everyone. If mountain biking isn’t your thing, you can stick with walking or running — or try horse riding.

    Image: VisitCanberra.

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  • 2

    Come afternoon tea time, head to Woden, in Canberra’s southwest, to pile into Space Kitchen. This spot is a wonderland of timber, greenery and next-level desserts. In the cabinet, you’ll spy a bunch of OTT delights, from the Milo, a chocolate sphere filled with Milo custard, vanilla cream and Milo crunch, to the Peach Melba — which is an actual peach filled with peach custard, raspberry jelly, white chocolate crumble and passionfruit curd.

    Then there’s the next-level hot chocolate menu, which includes the Malteaser, topped with Gaytime biscuits, and the salted caramel with caramel popcorn. And be sure to look out for the unicorn waffle, too.

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    Sometimes, you just need to break something. But that’s better done in a safe space than in your room or someone else’s room or the streets. Hence, Breakr, Canberra’s first break room. The name means exactly what it suggests: you (and your buddies) can come here and break stuff to your heart’s content.

    And you don’t even have to bring said stuff yourself. Breakr provides all the plates, mugs, glass, vases and assorted fragile items your temper can handle. It’s all sourced from local op shops. Throw them at the walls or smash them up with tools, like baseball bats, crowbars and hammers — how you break is totally up to you.

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To discover more epic experiences to have in Canberra, head to VisitCanberra and start planning your next city break.

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