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By Amanda Whitley — May 02, 2012

The NGA’s Renaissance exhibition closed at Easter without me seeing it. How is that possible? We have the works of Italian masters in town for a good few months and I don’t manage to find the time to drive the five minutes from my house for the experience.

And it’s not the first time I’ve missed amazing events in my own backyard.

Every week I compile an incredibly long list of things to do around town and yet only do a handful of them…it’s as if I get so caught up in doing the “everyday” that I don’t take the time to really discover the city I live in.

It struck me that, all too often, we don’t play ‘tourist’ enough in our own hometowns. We get caught up in our neighbourhood favourites that we don’t explore too far afield…we don’t uncover all this city has to offer. The little boutiques, the fabulous coffee shops and providores, the great little secret gems that too few people know about.

So, today I’m introducing a new regular feature…”My Canberra”. A chance for Canberra women to share their favourite places to eat, drink and shop, and their favourite things to do. It’s about encouraging us all to try  new things and to see our town through fresh eyes.

And who better to kick things off than our city’s top chick, Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher. Here’s “Her Canberra”…

Favourite place to eat

There are so many lovely places to eat in Canberra. We are not in the stage of our lives where we are enjoying the fine dining experience at the moment but I’m sure that will come back.

I love New Acton, Dickson Dumpling House or a lovely Thai restaurant, Thai Time, in my childhood neighbourhood at Cooleman Court.

Favourite place to have a tipple?

If I get the opportunity to have a glass of cool crisp white wine I will have it wherever it’s on offer! But seriously, Onred at Red Hill Lookout is lovely on a Friday afternoon.

Best coffee (or tea!)

I’m a tea snob. I don’t drink coffee at all. I drink my tea black so it’s hard to get it wrong. Pretty much anywhere you can put a tea bag in hot water, I will enjoy it.

As I get older, I do like the T2 range of tea to have at home and work. One of my luxuries.


Favourite place to shop

Depends what I am shopping for. I’m going to omit groceries from this list because it is my most unfavourite of all shopping journeys.

I don’t shop like I used to when I was younger (and without kids) where you’d go out on a weekend for a few hours browsing. If I shop now, I have a list in my head and I race around and do what I need to very efficiently and not much fun!

I’m a variety store shopper for kids essentials and if I need clothes and shoes I head to Civic (close to office) and Braddon has some great boutiques.

For presents and unique gifts I love the Kingston Markets and the National Museum has an awesome shop full of a huge range of gifts and jewellery at pretty reasonable prices.

Favourite bookstore

Booklore at Lyneham Shopping Centre, a lovely second hand book shop with a great mixed collection including loads of books for children.

“Must do” Canberra experience

Go out to Tidbinbilla, walk up Mount Ainslie or sit on top of Dairy Farmers Hill at the National Arboretum.

What activity/event/place that is still “under the radar” should people know about?

Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG)! In addition to some great exhibitions, it always has great activities on for kids – particularly in school holidays (usually for free).

If you’re an outdoors person, checking out all the nature parks in Canberra is really worth it wherever you live right across Canberra – Belconnen, Tuggeranong, Gungahlin, Inner North or the Inner South – there will be a nature park not too far from you. These are truly magical places which are there for all of us to enjoy – the true bush capital dream.

Best activity for kids

So many things to do here – Zoo, Questacon, Kidcity, Lake Burley –G or Lake Ginninderra on scooters. Basically with my little ones anything that is outside with lots of space and no sound restrictions gets the thumbs up from us – we are big users of different playgrounds around town.

Best way to spend a weekend

Most weekends I have to do a bit of work but I do love a weekend when we snatch some time together – maybe a ride to the park, seeing some friends and family, eating good food is all up there.

Sometimes it might just mean pottering around the house in our trakkies doing nothing at all (although that only usually lasts for a little while until someone gets cabin fever and we need to get out!)

Want to share “Your Canberra”? Share your tips below – or, if you’s like to be profiled in a “My Canberra” post, email [email protected]!

About Author

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women.

View all Amanda Whitley posts.

(5) Readers Comments

  1. Tiffany King
    Reply →
    May 2, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Best brekky – Dobinson’s in Civic or Ricardo’s in Jamieson.
    Best coffee – Rocksalt takeaway or National Portrait Gallery.
    Best gift shopping – Handmade and Handmade Markets or National Museum gift shop.
    Best tween girls clothes – nowhere – go to Sydney for Zara tweens. (desperate Mum).
    Best place to take an interstate visitor for Sunday lunch – Poacher’s Pantry or Gundaroo pub.
    Best aspirational shoe shop – La Furla – Manuka.

    Cheers, Tiffany.

  2. Amanda PD
    Reply →
    May 3, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I am loving this new feature.

  3. Pingback: BARB’S CANBERRA | HerCanberra

  4. August 7, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Her Canberra just keeps giving!
    This feature has inspired me to walk up Red Hill and check out OnRed. So many hidden surprises in the Nations Capital!

  5. August 7, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    My hidden gem: Yarralumla Dog park with a take away coffee from Beess & Co, or Farmers Daughter in Yarralumla.

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