Once upon a time, a trip to Canberra could be summed up by long coach rides, overnight camps in bunkbeds and passing far too many hours inside Parliament House. Well, a trip to Canberra has changed. A lot. At least for me.
With the goal for the year firmly in place – ten trips at least 90 minutes out of Sydney – we hit the road headed to my brother’s place just outside of Canberra. It started with a trip to Mount Majura Vineyard in Canberra’s wine district, a place I really want to explore more of. $15 for a tasting of eight wines, and a side of 40 degree heat that had us swirling our chardy like you wouldn’t believe.
A few drinks deep, we decided to head to some second-hand stores specialising in designer pieces, but I must have been drunker than I realised because I left empty-handed. Not even with a fixer-upper, an ugly stool or taffeta dress.
Home for a wash, a pop of Champagne and a little question about being a bridesmaid (ummmmmm yes!) and we were headed for dinner at Pilot. My hefty appreciation for food has always baffled the rest of the Breislin’s, who never quite understood paying quite so much for the stuff they serve on plates. As I sat back at Pilot, enjoying an eight course degustation menu with paired wines pouring aplenty, I saw a twinkle appear in my brother’s eye that I knew only too well. “So sorry, what exactly have you done to that to make it taste like that?” Welcome to the club.
The dish that sealed the deal though? Probably the negroni Ross, the owner of Pilot, bought us after dinner at one of the two bars he took us to: Bar Rochford and Molly. It definitely wasn’t the soul-crushing sazerac he ordered next, though. I didn’t look past the first ingredient (absinthe), and he made the mistake of saying ‘I’ll have whatever you’re having’ on the way back from the bathroom.
Update: my brother has since splashed out on the same wine glasses they have at Pilot. He’s officially ruined.
Next morning the heat was still hanging around so we drove the obligatory 15-minutes-to-anywhere-in-Canberra to get to Pine Island Reserve. I sort of, kind of don’t want to tell you about this because it seemed like a hidden soon-to-be hotspot, but I’ll tell you anyway. Find a rock in the shade to dump your stuff, do the dash-dance over the boiling hot sand, and drift down a river that I’m not sure where it feels like, but it’s definitely not Canberra. The boys spent hours stacking stones in piles and I got terribly sunburnt, but somehow it was still time very well spent.
Burgers for lunch were at Capital Brewing, and then it was onwards to Bentspoke on the Pontoon (who’d just won best beer) for a few schooeys while the sun set over what was a phenomenal, jam-packed and plenty of fun weekend. Oh except for 10pm curries collection from a carpark Indian supermarket selling both eyebrow waxes for $7 and some of the best curries I’ve had the pleasure of consuming. Tandoori Express at 4/122 Crawford St, Queanbeyan NSW 2620 for anyone who is interest.
Breakfast the next day was eaten at the newly opened East Row Specialty Coffee in the centre of the city, the first of many new places added to my new Canberra Checklist:
East Row Specialty Coffee
KYO Coffee Project, Braddon
Barrio Collective Cafe, Braddon
Some Cafe, Collector
Pilot (yes, twice on purpose)