Trying to figure out how to best spend your Canberra weekend getaway? Well your pals at A Modern Gay’s Guide have you covered – spending a weekend away in the nation’s capital. Click through for your detailed 24-hour Canberra gay’s guide!
So you’re planning of a weekend away, that won’t break the bank? Well Canberra is your new best friend. Just a two-hour drive from Sydney CBD, or a super quick flight directly into Canberra, a weekend away is just enough time to immerse yourself in all things Canberra!
Here’s our tried and tested gay’s guide on how to spend 24 hours in the ‘Smart State’.
11am – Wine time @ Lerida Estate Winery
Yep, you’ve read that correctly, we’re starting our weekend right and that means plenty of wine! Located 40 minutes out from Canberra CBD, Lerida Winery is an absolute must. Allow some time before you head in, to first explore the beautiful vineyards – taking a second to grab a quick pic for the ol’ Instagram #WineNot. If you come in the summer months the vineyards are absolutely thriving and look lush AF, though if you’re headed to canberra in the colder months, you’ll unfortunately miss the greenery (and the heat – thank god), though not to stress, the vineyard is definitely still gram worthy!
Once you’re all gram’d out, head on inside for the free wine tasting. The Lerida team certainly know what’s what when it comes to wine, doing all the talky-talky while you do a lot of drinky-drinky at the tasting. After the tasting, take a seat in the incredibly gram-worthy barrel dining room and order yourself some lunch – you’ve earned it! We heavily recommend purchasing a bottle of your favourite wine from the tasting and ordering a grazing platter. That’s exactly what the Modern Gay’s Guide team did and we have absolutely zero regrets.
3pm – See a lil’ culture in Canberra @ National Gallery of Australia
You really can’t visit Canberra and not visit the National Gallery. Located super centrally in the heart of Canberra (and definitely Uber-able if we’re feeling a little boozy still from lunch), the gallery is absolutely incredible. A huge contemporary art offering, plenty of Indigenous artwork and world famous exhibitions regularly on feature (such as the likes of Cartier: The Exhibition, Contemporary China and Fiona Hall: Wrong Way Time, just to name a few). The National Gallery is also for the most part free, making it super accessible, and an activity that can fill in a spare half-hour, or consume an entire day depending on how you’re traveling with time.
6.30pm – It’s dinner time @ Novotel Canberra’s new restaurant, ‘First Edition’
All that art got us seriously hungry. If you’re looking for a cosy, delish dinner option with masculine chic decor, then look no further than First Edition. Nestled up on the second floor of Novotel Canberra, this restaurant is very on point. If you’ve also still got that amaze wine from lunch on your mind, you’re again in luck – First Edition stock a variety of Lerida Estate wines, so you can well and truly get your red on yet again! Be sure to also grab a cocktail – we don’t care which one, they’re all amazing (we may or may not have tried all of them). The menu has a wide range, so you’ll definitely find something to suit each of your difficult to please pals!
A genuine team, with sensational hospitality and extremely inclusive vibes. This is a dinner must.
PS if you don’t get a cheese/grazing board, don’t even talk to us.
9.30pm – Let’s get our drank on @ Hippo Co
The name really through us a curve ball here. Not a gay bar (as there isn’t a gay bar in Canberra – we’ll get to that!), though super cool aesthetic and cocktails to die for. Located in the heart of Canberra – Hippo Co love all things whisky, cocktails and good banter – aligning perfectly with the Modern Gay’s Guide team!
We definitely recommend a drink or five here before heading out for a boogie!
11.30 pm LETS DANCE @ Cube Nightclub
If you’re looking for a gay venue to dance, then you’re unfortunately not spoiled for choice in Canberra. Cube is Canberra’s only gay venue and as you can imagine, is tough to compare to the Sydney/Melbourne gay scene.
Absolute real talk, the venue was v interesting. Their social media is definitely not one to go off, and honesty hour almost scared us out of going. It’s not at all comparable to Sydney/Brisbane mega-gay clubs like Arq or the Beat, though is definitely a fun night out. The crowd is mixed, fresh 18’s, to late 40/50 year-olds, in a small sized venue (comparable to Sydney’s ‘Palms’ nightclub) with the classic ‘gay club’ lights and colours scheme you’d expect. They’ve got the music aspect down-pat, easily getting you on your feet. None of the duff-duff/techno music, just R’n’B, throwback ‘gay’ tracks (think Britney’s ‘Toxic’) and current top 40 pop – all of which singalong-able to!
FYI there is a $10 entry fee on a Saturday night so be ready for that. The staff were great, and pro tip: mention it’s your first time at Cube and if you’re lucky you’ll score a free welcome drink #Yassss.
2.30am – …and it’s time for bed @ Mercure Canberra
Grab your kebab and get out – nothing good happens after 2am! The Mercure Canberra is a charming hotel in the heart of Canberra, complete with hardwood timber floors, a gorgeous fireplace in the reception and beautiful, recently renovated rooms. There’s a real charm to the entire hotel, and some of the best hotel staff we’ve come across. An incredibly inclusive team, always making sure their LGBTI+ guests always feel welcome.
Reception is 24-hours, so no matter what time you stumble in, the staff will greet you with a smile and help you remember/find which room you’re in (…if you’ve had a little too much to drink and need some help)!
10.30am – Take it easy @ The Cupping Room
Okay, so we get it, we’re now feeling a little dusty. We’re going to take it slow this morning, and stroll on over to the Cupping Room. Pronounced the kuhp-ing room, this hip, airy cafe is literally what breakfast dreams are made of. Sensational coffee with cosy outdoor seating, exposed rafters and a menu to die for. The cafe’s located super centrally in Canberra Central’s ‘Civic’ precinct, and is guaranteed to give you that essential smashed avo Insta piccy! #Delish
12.30pm – Let’s explore @ Old Bus Depot Markets
Once you’re finished with breakfast, it’s time to Uber on over to the Old Bus Depot Markets. On each Sunday morning from 10am to 4pm, there’s no better way to spend your Sunday morning in Canberra. Whether you’re looking for edible treats or hand crafted delights, you’ll find it at the Old Bus Depot Markets! The markets are located just up from the recently renovated Kingston Foreshore – which looks amaze, and in itself is a must-see!
You’ll want to allow an hour or two to enjoy all that the market has to offer. Once you’re finished with the market you’re set to head back home to that 9-5 grind *sigh*…so take your time!
Bring our guide to life and get a mate from interstate to book flights to Canberra now.