However, I’ve been lured in with promises of warming food, good shopping and Australia’s largest museum of art! What’s more, the latest temporary exhibition at National Gallery of Australia is by one favourite painters, J M W Turner.
After an easy three-and-a-bit-hour drive Mr LML and I arrive in Canberra and check into the Novotel Canberra. Its super central location makes it the ideal base to discover our Nation’s Capital from.
|Hot tip: If you don’t feel like driving, the Novotel is right above the Jolimont centre where all buses from Sydney pick up and drop off from.
We’re here to sample the ‘Cultural Getaway: Turner’ package including overnight accommodation, buffet breakfast and tickets to the Turner Exhibition. Sounds like a good deal to me!
After quickly checking in, we head out to grab some lunch. Right down the road from the Novotel is Gus’ Café – one of Canberra’s oldest and best-known eating spots. With its huge hearty meals, European vibe and killer coffee it’s the perfect way to start our weekend escape.
Despite the temperature being about 11 degrees, Canberra weather is very dry and the shining sun makes it feel much warmer so we decide to check out Lonsdale Street. Known for its trendy boutiques and amazing coffee this is a great place to find something a little different. If you’re looking to splurge, Pink Ink has an amazing range of Australian and international designers. A visit to the Lonsdale Street Traders is also a must! Here you’ll find and eclectic mish-mash of home-wares, jewellery, original art, kitsch giftware and ACT fashion labels.
|Hot tip: Grab a takeaway coffee from Lonsdale Street Roasters as you stroll up the street.
Mid afternoon we head over to the National Gallery of Australia to see ‘Turner from the Tate: The Making of a Master.’
Getting right up close to Turner’s work it’s easy to see why he is regarded as one of the greatest landscape painters of all time.
This exhibition offers immense insight into Turner’s artistic process. Containing both oil sketches and unfinished canvases known as his ‘colour beginnings,’ we are afforded a glimpse into how this master planned out the intense colour and light his works are renowned for.
|Hot tip: Allow at least an hour to see the exhibition, which is the largest collection of Turner’s works. Afterwards, it’s definitely worthwhile exploring the rest of the gallery. If you’re a fan of Pop Art, ‘Roy Lichtenstien: Pop Remix’ is showing until the 27th of January, 2014. Additionally, the permanent collections are some of the best in Australia. See works by Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Andy Warhol and more!
As the temperature begins to cool, Mr LML and I retreat back to the hotel to make the most of the indoor sauna, spa and swimming pool – the perfect way to stay warm on a winter’s night!
To top off our Turner experience we decided to dine in at the Novotel’s One Restaurant and sample the Turner themed menu. The food is warming, English-style food and goes excellently with a glass (or two) of red! Make sure you order dessert – the chocolate tart is amazing.
The next morning, following breakfast we check out of the hotel and there is one more place that’s on my Canberra hit list – Koko Black
This place has the most amazing chilli hot chocolate – believe me, it’s a must-try.
On the drive back to Sydney, I have to say, I am feel thoroughly cultured and content. Who would have thought that Canberra in winter was a perfect match!
|Hot tip: If you’ve got time on the drive home, stop by Lerida Estate for some lunch and a glass of some of Canberra’s finest wine. Just of the Federal Highway and across from Lake George it’s too convenient not to make a pit stop!
Would you venture to Canberra in winter? What are the key ingredients for your ideal winter escape?
Brittany and Mr LML travelled as guests of the Novotel Canberra.