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48 Hours in Canberra: Activities, adventures, restaurants and bars

You’ve finished work for the week or you’ve just landed in Canberra. You might be thinking, how much can I fit into 48 hours in Canberra? You’ve booked your luxury accommodation at Deco Hotel, but with so much to see and do, what are the top activities, and best places to eat and drink? Here is the ultimate guide to spending 48 hours in Canberra and the best things to do.

Day 1: Relax, is it the weekend yet?

To unwind from your week, relax with some pre-dinner beverages. Head to Bar Rochford — in the iconic Melbourne Building, one of Canberra’s oldest buildings — for some great wine or cocktails. If you like it ‘old-school’, pay a visit to Bar Molly, where the service is supreme, jazz is the best and whisky is their go-to.

After you’re a little more chilled out, head back to the Deco Hotel for a delicious dinner at Restaurant Two14. Share a plate or two with a colleague or loved one, or indulge on your own with an Italian dish. If beer and burgers are more your style, make a visit to Capital Brewing Co. and devour one of the Brod Burgers, with one or more beers.

Capital Brewing

Photo Credit: Damian Breach VisitCanberra

Day 2: See the sites of Canberra

After a pretty relaxing evening, start the morning with some fresh air and a bike ride. Discover the endless flat trails and reserved bikeways throughout Canberra. Rent a bicycle from Canberra and Region Visitors Centre, Canberra Cycle or Share-A-Bike and jump on the Central Loop (4.9 km loop that takes 40 minutes and is mostly flat). Cycle to some of Canberra’s attractions that surround Lake Burley Griffin. Begin at the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre, ride towards Blundells Cottage and Kings Park before riding over Kings Avenue Bridge towards the National Gallery of Australia. Slowly make your way through the sculpture garden of the National Gallery of Australia. If you have some time, head inside to see some of the 160,000 works of art that are on display.

Bike through the sculpture garden at the National Gallery of Australia

Photo Credit: VisitCanberra

If you’re more interested in science and technology, continue along the edge of Lake Burley Griffin for 2 minutes to Questacon, The National Science and Technology Centre. Gain an appreciation and understanding of science in a fun and interactive environment. To finish the loop, continue along the lake and across the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge. We recommend making a stop at BOOKPLATE in the National Library of Australia or Rebel Rebel (a 7-minute ride from Questacon) for lunch.

If biking isn’t your speed, jump on the light rail which is within walking distance of the Deco Hotel. Transfer to city busses or walk to explore more of the Central Loop.

If you’re not exhausted or suffering from a food coma after lunch, walk, cycle or drive to the Mount Ainslie lookout and take in the Canberra sights from up above. At night, this is spectacular as the city lights up. Don’t feel guilty though if you decide to relax and take a nap in your room or apartment at Deco Hotel.

Visit Canberra - Mount Ainslie Hike

Photo Credit: VisitCanberra

When it comes to dinner, you can’t come to Canberra and not make a stop at Monster Kitchen. Using local and seasonal produce, the team creates dishes perfect for sharing. If you need some more top restaurant options in Canberra, check out Avenue Hotel’s 8 top Canberra Restaurants.

Continue your 48 hours in Canberra after dinner and catch a performance or show at the Canberra Theatre. If you prefer the outdoors and you love wildlife, spot night critters and marsupials at Mulligans Flat on a Twilight Tour or Family Nightwalk Tour. For the older kids (and adults), join Tim the Yowie Man for a spooky ghost tour of the National Film and Sound Archive Ghost Tour. After a busy day in Canberra, you’ll be looking forward to your comfortable sleep at the Deco Hotel.

Mulligans Flat Woodlands Sanctuary Twilight Tour_MustCredit_VisitCanberra

Photo Credit: VisitCanberra

Day 3: Hot Air Ballooning and Restaurants to Top it Off

It’s your final few hours in the Nation's Capital, Canberra, so make the most of your remaining time. Rise early and join Balloon Aloft or Dawn Drifters for some hot air ballooning. Float above Canberra and gaze down on the well-planned city.

After returning from cloud 9, roam the retail precinct and award-winning restaurants of Braddon, in particular Lonsdale Street. Both food and shopping options will have you constantly tempted. If you’re after a mouth-watering steak from their local farm, Travale, then take a seat in the stylishly warm and ambient Marble & Grain at Avenue Hotel. If you're in the area on a Sunday, enjoy fresh local produce at Haig Park Village Markets.

Leave Braddon and take a 10-minute drive to the National Arboretum Canberra. This mosaic of close to 44,000 rare and endangered trees provides a unique yet breathtaking backdrop for a lazy Sunday or final few hours. Spend time in the fresh air, gallivanting through the trees and across the trails.

If you’re not rushing off, enjoy some more of Canberra's restaurants, bars or cafes. Wind down your 48 hours with a visit to Mint Garden Bar or BentSpoke Brewing Co. Keep enjoying the outdoors whilst getting your last sip of Canberra.

Wind down with a drink at BentSpoke Brewing Co.

Photo Credit: VisitCanberra