Canberra unlocked: inner south | HerCanberra

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Canberra, it’s been a while since we could really explore our city.

It is home to national museums and galleries, but the inner south is so much more than just culture.

It’s next in ours Canberra unlocked series that explores the city’s seven regions, uncovering hidden gems and giving you the ultimate playbook for your next adventure.

This vibrant area has a rich food culture and an exciting mix of history and modernity, with everything from retail therapy to family fun, art exploration and high-quality “me-time”, making it the perfect place to unlock when the city opens.


Excellent eateries can be found around every corner of the inner south, but a bougie brunch experience at Double Shot Deakin never disappoints. The perfect place to relax and enjoy healthy sweet or savory treats, this café is the definition of a chic suburban atmosphere.

Just down the road you will find the home of the viral Freakshakes and fully stocked tacos, Patisse. Known for their decadent meals, do not blame us if you end up being obsessed with their bespoke French toast menu.

But while the inner south serves café culture in spades, it is also the place to find some of Canberra’s most elegant eateries.

Griffiths Eggplant, led by acclaimed chef Ben Willis, has carried the promising title of Canberra’s most acclaimed restaurant for the best part of two decades, while recently opening Onzieme in Kingston boasts an ever-changing menu from imaginative French-trained chef Louis Couttoupes.

celebrate something? The boat house, located on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Barton, is an iconic venue that combines views of millions of dollars with groundbreaking dishes from one of Canberra’s best chefs, John Leverink.

Do you need a view with a more relaxed atmosphere? Snapper on the lake has the best (fish and chip) space in the house only a seven minute drive down the road.


With welcome drink season over us, a cocktail from Joe’s Bar in the East Hotel is a must when looking for the perfect place to start your evening.

Snack on a delicious antipasti dish while enjoying a classic Italian Aperol Spritz or enjoy a taste of Canberra with the Smokey Foreshore.

Just a hop, skip and a short ride by e-scooter away, Queenies in Kingston is a bar that is great at ingenuity if you are looking for a cocktail that is both smart and tasty – we love Stevie Nicks, a combination of Archie Rose Original Vodka, Elderflower Liqueur, Thyme, Lemon. Native Australian and Asian flavors dominate the exciting menu of bar snacks.

If a waterfront pub is more your calling in the warmer months, head to Kingston Foreshore’s local pub, Docks, to experience the best combination: a great view with a cold draft beer.

Alternatively Armada bar, an airy outdoor extension of The Boat House, takes full advantage of the spectacular sunset.


Ready to explore the zen side of the inner south? Start the day at Muse in Kingston (a combined café and bookstore) to sample their full-day menu and a carefully selected selection of titles before heading to Barton’s Hale Spa for some Scandinavian luxury in the form of massage and facial treatment. Did we mention the pool and sauna?

Once in the inner south enclaves of Kingston and Manuka, shopping is essential for relaxing retail therapy and you will find a variety of shops bursting with clothing, accessories, jewelry and more.

Full of cotton, silk and lace, Honeysuckle and lace has beautiful clothes for the discerning shopper; complete your outfit with a trip to Deakin’s Sissa sister for shoes to die for.

Book lovers are also spoiled for choice with Manuka’s Paperchain Bookstore and Kingston’s The Book Cow, which abounds with excellent readings (and there’s even more down the road in Parkes, with The Curatoreum, the Art Store, and the National Library of Australia bookstore, all the things bibliophiles’ dreams are made of).


The inner south boasts many of Canberra’s cultural institutions, and they are all worth exploring. Book a free COVID-safe session at National Gallery of Australia to see modern and contemporary icons from all eras and continents or visit Canberra Glassworks in Kingston – it’s a paradise for handmade works where you can see the artists work while bringing glass to life in the Hot Shop.


Choosing an outdoor adventure is easy with Lake Burley Griffin on your doorstep. Sit back and relax (or take responsibility as a skipper!) Like a self-drive cruise on an electric GoBoat shows you a new side of the lake. It’s sightseeing taken to a whole new level – BYO picnic optional.

Zipper on a Segway from SegGlide is another way to shake up while self-catering bike rental Share a bike is a simple way to grab a bike while out.

Do you want to get your steps up? The 5 km bridge-to-bridge walk around Lake Burley Griffin takes in many of Canberra’s iconic attractions, making it the perfect way to tour with friends.


For family fun like nothing else, look no further than Yarralumla Play Station: a hidden gem for the little ones in Weston Park. With Canberra-themed putt-putt, a mini train, pets and more, it’s easy to make a day out of it.

From 15 November, a sunny day ends at Manuka Pool for relaxation with a side of history (it first opened in 1931) or picnic in the green heart of the inner south –Telopea Park.

Popcorn, an ingenious traveling wine bar, can often be found in the park, setting the stage for an afternoon of good wine and fun with friends.

This year, you can use and support locally while exploring Canberra unlocked. See for more inspiration.

Feature Image: Doubleshot Deakin by Pew Pew Studio

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