Canberra is a destination The Wog With The Grog has been to for wine shows and expos.
To travel with family?
Not so much!
When we decided, with fellow blogger Josie’s Juice, to take our families to Canberra to see Floriade, little did we know just how much awaits.
The Australian capital city has so much to offer… and it’s under two hours away from Sydney.
We visited: Cockington Green Gardens, Questacon, Floriade, National Zoo and Aquarium, National Arboretum Canberra.
The National Arboretum Canberra was not part of our schedule, but having come across it quite by accident, we now think it was one of the best parts of the trip.
Here are some snaps of this must-see green hub:
With its 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world, you drive up to the breathtaking, winding driveway and park, then walk right into the Arboretum, get yourself a table (each table has a 360 degree view of the vast expanse of trees), and enjoy the impressive meals on offer, then stroll to the kids ‘Pod Playground’ outside, or stay inside, order wine and dessert and continue to enjoy the view, and the Arboretum structure you’re sitting in.
Walk through, drive in, cycle about, or even horse-ride around the 250 hectare site, and see the National Bonsai and Penjing collection while you’re there.
There are free guided and self-guided tours, interactive displays, outdoor sculptures, or bring a picnic and enjoy an outdoor meal with some of the most spectacular views in our capital city.
Download their ‘augmented reality’ app and listen to soundscapes, interesting stories about the trees, and holograms featuring stories about a fire fighter, harpist, landscape architect, Ngunnawal man, volunteer guide and bonsai artist.
Here is a video round up:
Next, the zoo!
We are big fans of the National Zoo and Aquarium zoo at TWWTG.
Only ten minutes drive from the city, the zoo itself is very easy to get around, AND we love that it’s Australia’s ONLY combined zoo and aquarium.
Go behind-the-scenes at the National Zoo & Aquarium.
Try a Zooventure, Family or Walk on the Wildside tour. Help feed animals, handfeed a giraffe or bear, and at kids over the age of 12 can do the Meet-a-Cheetah encounter and pat a cheetah.
TWWTG looked at overnight stays here too, and it’ll be on our agenda next time we visit.
See more on that here: http://www.jamalawildlifelodge.com.au/your-experience/
Next, Australian Institute of Sport, Cockington Green Gardens and Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre.
Buy the 3 In Fun pass to get access to all three of the above – and this means you save more than 25% on the usual price.
The 3infun ticket also offers a FREE return visit to one of the participating attractions! Yes.
Yes, before you head to the mini manicured gardens, consider this: the 3infun ticket gets you all THREE attractions:
Australian Institute of Sport, Cockington Green Gardens, and Questacon – all on with ONE pass.
The 3infun ticket lets you save more than 25% on the usual price. For more on this 3infun ticket, click HERE.
Call for more info here: 02 6214 1444, or go to: www.ausport.gov.au
Onto Cockington Green Gardens! A TWWTG fave.
Created by Doug and Brenda Sarah, Cockington Green Gardens is a family owned and operated attraction, with four generations involved in it’s operation over the past 35 years. It opened to the public in 1979, and has won an Australian Tourism Award and many local tourism industry awards. Step into the world of Cockington Green Gardens and immediately you are transported to another world: the world of miniature trains and gardens and immaculately kept flower beds.
There is also the Rose Room indoor exhibition, featuring ‘Waverley’ a 34 room Dolls House, or have a coffee in the Parsons Nose Garden Café, or bring a picnic along!
The miniature steam train ride, which goes right around the international display, is a MUST! It gives you a complete view of the whole attraction. The young and older in our group loved it.
Here is more on Cockington Green Gardens: http://www.cockingtongreen.com.au
And, the whole reason we kicked off this trip: Floriade.
Around since 1988, it’s set on a huge expanse of land alongside the iconic Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra’s Commonwealth Park.
When Peter Sutton and his colleague, landscape designer Chris De Bruine, developed a proposal for a grand floral display to celebrate Australia’s Bicentenary and Canberra’s 75th birthday was when Floriade started.
With stunning floral displays of exotic bulbs and annuals, more than one million blooms are on show to create a stunning backdrop to a month-long festival filled with music, cultural celebrations, horticultural workshops, artistic displays, entertainment and recreational activities.
Floriade runs from mid-September to mid-October and attracts almost half a million attendees each year.
Floraide is free free entry for adults and kids, but bring money along for the kiddie rides and of course food, if you like. Or, BYO sandwiches and drinks.
We stayed at the Breakfree Canberra, which is situated at 2 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra.
An older style hotel complex, it definitely needs some TLC in order to spruce it up to come line with the rather hip hub nearby, and the new hotels cropping up in Canberra.
For families, it has all the amenities, lots of room, the opportunity to cook for yourself and guests, centrally located and a short stroll to shops, Floriade (around 15 minutes from the hotel), and cafes and restaurants.
The hotel has a partnership with Bicicletta Restaurant (around five or so minutes away) and here you can eat your hotel brekkie (this is because there is no other restaurant offering at the hotel).
Cafes around here are buzzing with good coffee, a park with shipping containers set up as food truck heaven, and a cool vibe.
Reasonably priced (click HERE for rates), here are some photos of the different room variations the hotel offers:
To see more and read more about what Canberra has to offer, click HERE.
The Wog With The Grog and Josie’s Juice blog was a guest of Visit Canberra, looking after our passes for each precinct. The Wog With The Grog and Josie’s Juice were paid guests at the Breakfree Hotel, Canberra.