Culture

How To Canberra Like A Local, According To Fashion Blogger Jemma Mrdak

Our first unconference, JUNKET, takes place this weekend in the nation's capital. We asked a local to show us around.

If you’re like most people not from Canberra, it’s possible that the most time you’ve ever spent there was an obligatory year six trip to Questacon and Parliament House. But suddenly, as if while no one was looking, our capital city got cool: she’s now home to the world’s best coffee maker, a thriving art scene and solid live music venues like Transit Bar and The Phoenix.

Our JUNKET unconference kicks off this weekend: a gathering of 200 of the best and brightest young Australian minds, from diverse industries, interest groups, and identities. These people have been handpicked by committee to represent a vast swathe of issues, with the aim of starting conversations about — and helping set the agenda for — the country’s future.

The conference goes from November 1-3, and ahead of it we asked a native Canberran — A Stylish Moment fashion blogger Jemma Mrdak, who also works at QT Hotel — where to find fun and food in her city.

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Your ideas about Canberra are outdated and incorrect.

Favourite Suburb

I spend a lot of time between NewActon and Braddon, which are both close to Canberra’s CBD and are host to cool bars, exclusive dining and places to hang out and be seen.

Suggestion: Parlour Wine Room, 16 Kendall Lane, New Acton.

Best Breakfast

I can never go past Močan and Green Grout for breakfast. Their big breakfasts are amazing and the staff always seem to know exactly how you like your coffee. They also make bikes under the label Goodspeed Bicycle Co.

Suggestion: Smashed eggs, mushroom, goat’s curd and black garlic $16.  1/19 Marcus Clarke St, Canberra.

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Močan and Green Grout

Best Place To End A (Long) Night

 You’ll definitely find me at Lucky’s Speakeasy. It’s 1920’s inspired, with a secret entrance through a Barber Shop.

Suggestion: They make the best Old Fashion in Canberra – Happy Hour 5-7pm! 1 London Circuit, Canberra.

Best Day Trip

Get onto one of the wine trail tours: winemakers like Mount Majura Vineyard or those in the Poacher’s Way collective offer excellent tastings and food matching. Or if you’re on the wagon you could go for a hike through the Namadgi National Park.

Suggestion: Black Glass Wine Tours.

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How’s the Serenity? Via Poachers Way.

Best Meal Under $10

The Hamlet in Braddon. This is an urban village for food vans and pop-up stores just a few minutes’ walk from the City Centre. Trust me; you won’t be able to resist the delicious smells coming from the on-site food vendors. You can find anything from spit-roast rolls and Peruvian pork belly buns to old fashioned milkshakes and mouth-watering hotdogs.

The Hamlet: 16 Lonsdale Street, Braddon

What Does A Great Day In Canberra Looks Like?

7am: Get up early and watch the hot air balloons over Lake Burley Griffin.

9am: Hit Lonsdale Street in Braddon for breakfast, it’s a bit like Brunswick St in Melbourne or Crown St in Sydney. I suggest either 80/20 or The Elk and Pea.

11:30am: Then hire a bike and ride around the city checking out all the parks (Commonwealth Park is the best) and architecture. Canberra is pretty flat so it’s not too much hard work. You could have lunch at The Cupping Room — this is Sasa Sestic’s cafe, he’s the current world-champion barista. You could then go explore the National Museum of Australia which has the amazing Encounters exhibition launching on November 27th, which reveals powerful and rare Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander objects and stories from the British Museum. Then maybe ride down to the Kingston foreshore for a drink on the water’s edge or, if it’s a Sunday, check out the Old Bus Depot Markets.

7pm: Dinner at Au Lac Royal — it’s a full vegetarian menu that will totally blow your mind. Be sure to wrap your laughing gear around a Vietnamese Cannelloni.

9:30pm: One pretty common misconception is that Canberra doesn’t have an exciting night-life, which is totally not true. Hopscotch, Cube, Honkytonks, Molly and Hippo & Co will all show you a good night out.

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National Museum of Australia, via Visit Canberra

Visit Canberra are a supporter of Junket. Follow #junket on Instagram and Twitter to be part of the fun.