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Cozy in Canberra

Rene Young and family discover what's cool in Canberra with kids

We've been hearing rumblings that Canberra is on the up and up, and no longer just a place primary school kids visit for camp. We hadn't been back to our Nationals Capital since we were kids ourselves so we thought it was time to find out what's cool in Canberra with kids.

The ACT proved exceptionally cool indeed during our winter visit with record-breaking minus eight temps on our arrival. Our subtropical Queensland kids thought it a novelty to wear their winter woollies for a change. Never have jackets, beanies and socks been more fun!

Canberra

If you're planning a family visit to Canberra and wanting to wear a few less layers, now is the perfect time to go. Summer in Canberra offers splendid green lawns, lush leafy trees and blue skies shimmering on Lake Burley Griffin, without a puffer jacket in sight. The skies are still blue in the winter but the air is crisper, the kind of weather where your lips chap and your cheeks turn pink.

We cozied up away from the cold snap at Hotel Kurrajong with its inviting lobby fireplace. The heritage hotel has been tastefully updated while retaining its 1920's charm. For us, the hotels styling sums up our take of Canberra, a charming, historic capital with a new arty edge.

Hotel Kurrajong

Art + Science

We got our art fix nearby at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) where the best of Australian and International art can be found adorning it’s walls. There are historic works depicting the life of the first settlers to iconic Aussie artists. Whilst my five-year-old girl and I could happily admire all 166,000+ artworks, the boys preferred to breeze through. Luckily there’s a little kids art corner where we could steal a little bit more browsing time.

Next stop was Questacon - free for all for kids. There are levels upon levels of interactive science exhibits and gaggles of kids darting from one to the next. We challenged a robot to a game of air hockey - the robot won easily. There were space ship simulators to fly, giant bubbles to create, earthquake machine to ride and exploding experiments to watch. The Mini-O’s section for kids 0-6 was by hands down my daughter’s favourite, she could’ve happily spent the whole day make-believing vets and baking cupcakes in the bakery.

National Gallery of Australia

Good Food Canberra

The food scene in Canberra is the real game change and it’s not just all posh nosh for poli’s. There’s Asian fusion Akiba restaurant and a buzzing family friendly atmosphere to chomp down pork belly bao’s. There are casual hipster hangs in gentrified Braddon, where we tucked into deliciously cooked burgers, wings and a local brew at Grease Monkey’s and the yummiest Ramen at newly opened Ramentic. Braddon is the place to be for fast eats with food vans dishing out pizzas, burritos and dumplings. And the famous coffee baristas at Lonsdale Street Roasters are one of the best in Canberra for caffeine fiends.

Questacon

Reflect and Relax

A must do when visiting Canberra for Australian’s young and old is a guided tour of The Australian War Memorial. The topic of war may seem overwhelming for kids, however we found the impressive exhibits, the Open Discovery Zone especially for children, the mix of the open-air memorial and the indoor museum worked well with our young kids. For an incomprehensible subject, it’s quite amazing to see kids quickly understand how brave our men and women were and the sacrifices they made. It might be worthwhile discussing the concept of war in an age appropriate manner pre-visit and to debrief afterwards.

The beauty of Canberra is that everything is within a 10-minute drive, no sooner had we finished minting our very own gold coin at the Royal Mint were we back at Hotel Kurrajoing for some pre-dinner relax time. It was nice to take small breaks between all the stimulating things to see and do. We made good use of our effortlessly chic Executive Suite, where our kids sprawled out on the sofa bed in the living area, whilst the husband and I had our own separate room.

The hotel’s elegance carries right through to Chifley’s Bar & Grill, the light filled glassed-in terrace overlooking the garden courtyard. In the summer, there are acoustic sessions in the garden. For our kids the winter was just as fun, where they would run out in their gloves and jackets to throw a coin in the semi-frozen garden fountain and back for a leisurely buffet breakfast, ready for another exciting day in Canberra.

Australian War Memorial

Together we roam‘s Rene Young has travelled to 70 countries. When the Brisbane based blogger is not discovering Brisbane's street art, exploring Queensland or roaming the world with her five-year old son and three-year old daughter, she can be found indulging her love of reality TV.

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