in partnership with
Captain on an eco-friendly boat, sip biodynamic wines and enjoy the fresh ingredients of agriculture – this is just the beginning of what a sustainable weekend in Canberra can include. The nation’s capital is an ideal place for travelers who want to reduce their environmental footprint while uncovering new sights, tastes and adventures.
We have rounded up a list of some of the best eco-friendly eateries and liquor stores, sustainable activities and luxury experiences plus accommodation options with a focus on preserving the area’s natural beauty. Use this as your guide to explore Canberra’s famous sights in the city and discover the region’s hidden gems – while staying green.
EAT AND DRINK
Canberra’s best source of farm-to-tote-bag for fridge and pantry-plus, early breakfast-is the Capital Region Farmers Market. More than 100 local stalls show up every Saturday from 7–11.30 at the Exhibition Park, which offers everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to flowers, honey, bread, smoked meat, eggs and pastries. Explore it all with a coffee in hand, and learn the tips of local producers on planet-friendly cooking and cultivation.
For another breakfast, go to vegan cafe and bakery Sweet Bones to enjoy another caffeine fix and sugar rush. Order a plant-based large brekkie, or store sweet wonders from the treat. Then make a quick trip southeast to the Pialligo Estate. It wears many hats including cafe, restaurant, grocery store, winery, smokehouse, small yard and playground. Enjoy the property’s fruits during an outdoor lunch before visiting the grounds for a true paddock-to-plate experience.
Ready for a tip? Start with sustainable malt magic at Capital Brewing Co. This beer baron in Canberra is well on its way to becoming a waste-free brewery, sending used beer-making ingredients to farmers for cattle feed, composting leftovers, minimizing water and energy consumption, eliminating unnecessary packaging and more. Chip in on the environmental effort, and order a banana-forward Belgian blonde ale or exquisite pie pear and elderflower sour from the warehouse.
If you prefer vinous varieties on a drink list, check out Lark Hill Biodynamic Winery. The drops here get gold stars in the categories of organic and biodynamic wine, while at the same time hitting the mark on the delicious scale. Regular sips of riesling, chardonnay and pinot noir will be served well on this high spot in the hills above Canberra, where slate and clay soils let these hardy grapes thrive. Order a tasting of $ 10 per. Person by the open fire by the intimate basement door, and work your way through some white white and dark cherry reds.
Reconnect with nature while enjoying a little self-care luxury at Jindii Eco Spa. Hidden in the vibrant Australian National Botanic Gardens, this dreamy retreat offers spa treatments that utilize wild-harvested native ingredients and native knowledge. Relax with a massage and a mineral bath so that botanicals like lemon myrtle, white flannel flower and bankia seeds can hydrate your skin while the expert therapists release all the stress out of your tired muscles. Add a little detail therapy to the rejuvenation mixture, and get a few treats from the spa’s characteristic skin care range after a walk through the gardens.
A fun way to explore Canberra is to zip around on an e-scooter. You may have a few childhood memories of tragic scooter tumbles, but these electric beauties are far easier and safer to handle. You can visit Lake Burley Griffin and track the famous passing The Pop Inn, which moves its wine and pizza bar to new locations around the capital most weekends. Rent e-scooters from Canberra and the Region Visitors Center for one hour for $ 15 or for two hours for $ 25, or book the Beam and Neuron scooters through their own apps.
Want to get out on the lake? GoBoat supplies eco-friendly electric vessels that can ferry up to eight pirates (and seafaring dogs) inside Lake Burley Griffin. You drive the boat yourself. It is super easy to steer and does not require experience or even a driver’s license – however, skippers must be over 18 years old. Pre-packaged boat picnics and a reasonable amount of BYO alcohol for passengers are encouraged, but GoBoat can also provide snacks from the local eatery, Bean & Table.
If you have enough steam left for another activity, you can make it an epic hike up Mount Gingera, located on top of the western NSW / ACT border in Namadgi National Park. If you want to conquer the full 15 kilometer return journey from the car park, you can expect a periodic steep but fantastic hike with endless views of the mountains at the top. There are shorter trails to follow in the area and plenty of opportunities to see native birds and frogs in the carefully preserved park. Keep in mind that this peak may be covered with snow in the depths of winter.
You can stay really well outside the net in Canberra, while maintaining the elegance of the accommodation. The bell tents at Naked Cubby Co provide luxurious mattresses and bedding that you can get lost in, as well as breakfast in bed and easy access to the basement door at Mount Majura Vineyard, all just a 20-minute drive from Canberra’s CBD. Choose between the solar-powered glamping tents that lie between the vines and the small house on wheels near the pine forest.
The facilities are also minimal, but the nature is top notch in the Nil Desperandum, a heritage hut at the foot of the Tidbinbilla Range. You will need a 4WD to take the last stretch of the 45-minute journey here from the center of Canberra, but rude explorers with smaller city wheels can hike the last six kilometers along the gravel roads. The charming two-bedroom cottage has sun lighting, a kitchen with wood burning stove, a toilet with long drop and a porch and fenced yard where you can spend the night cooking on the gas grill and lying by the campfire. Just remember to bring your own firewood. Also be aware that there is limited telephone reception and no electrical outlets, so you need to be fairly self-sufficient to enjoy a night or two in the reserve.
Alternatively, you can stay within the city limits to access all the inconveniences you have fallen in love with at Ovolo Nishi. Although ‘connected’, this CBD hotel has a clear commitment to sustainability and nature. The retro furniture and artwork in each room are made from materials such as clay, cork, refurbished eucalyptus timber and natural fibers, and the tall atrium rooms look into an inner courtyard with salvaged Tasmanian tree ferns. The in-house dining at Monster Kitchen and Bar also has a sustainable focus, including a 100 percent vegetarian menu for next year led by local seasonal ingredients.
Experience more experiences in Canberra at VisitCanberra, and start planning your next city break.
Top image: Mount Majura Vineyard, VisitCanberra
Published on May 28, 2021 by