Capital wines, capital food, and capital places to stay. Journey outside of Canberra and you’ll find plenty to do, drink and eat.
An exciting food and wine revolution is taking place in the Australian Capital Territory. Hidden in amongst the hills of the burgeoning Canberra vineyards, travellers continue to discover what this often overlooked part of Australia is truly capable of.
Within just 50 years, the Canberra District has grown from a few fledgling vineyards in the 1970s to a region now highly regarded for producing many top quality, cool climate wines. Despite summer temperatures reaching well above 30 ̊C, Canberra is considered a cool climate wine region due to its inland elevation.
Here are some of our top Canberra vineyards for you to enjoy, only a short drive outside the capital.
Be sure to stop in at Collector; a tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-town. It has one of the strangest sculpture displays, coolest cafés, and cutest cellar doors. Most importantly, it boasts some of the best wine in the district. Here, beneath a red tinned roof you’ll find charming chardonnays, racy Rieslings, and stunning shiraz. Refuel at Some Café, just next door. It has great coffee you can sip amidst the cosy, country atmosphere. Or, enjoy a delicious bite to eat of something from their simple, seasonal menu.
Situated opposite the ephemeral Lake Weereewa (Lake George), just outside of the city, is the contemporary stylings of Lerida Estate. Sit, sip, and savour while tasting a selection of this winery’s finest wines. Sample fantastic fizz and blushing rosés, elegant whites and robust reds. Café Lerida is the perfect place to take in the magnificent views, grazing on a lunch menu for all tastes and ages.
A visit to the ACT is simply not complete without a day trip to the Poacher’s Pantry in Murrumbateman. Home of Wily Trout wines and some of the finest smoked meats and cheese anywhere in Australia, Poacher’s Pantry is a quintessential Canberran institution. Just 20 minutes’ drive out of town, it’s the perfect day-trip for the discerning traveller. Graze all day on a leisurely lunch beside the landscaped gardens. Or, spend some time inside tasting the excellent estate grown wines from the property’s sprawling 700 acres.
Murrumbateman is the poster child for fine Canberran wine and Four Winds is no exception; particularly with its penchant for fine Rieslings and delicate rosés. Located along Murrumbateman Road, Four Winds winery offer personalised tastings for two or more. Their new wood-fired pizza oven pumps out fresh pies all weekend long. Time your trip right and you could be visiting during one of their many celebrated events, such as Watercolours & Wine; the art of wine tasting classes.
Shaw Wines and Olleyville Restaurant
With the recent opening of their new, state-of-the-art cellar door and tasting rooms, Shaw Wines is a must-visit Canberra vineyard. Their reputation for outstanding wine precedes them, as does the deliciousness of the food coming from the onsite restaurant, Olleyville. Lunch could easily turn into dinner, if you’re not careful. Luckily, there’s excellent accommodation nearby.
Where to stay near Canberra’s vineyards
It’s been a long time coming, but Murrumbateman finally has accommodation worthy of its wines. Murrumbateman is located in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, so it’s not actually a part of the ACT. However, it’s only a 30-kilometre cruise north-west of Canberra. It’s a convenient and lovely place to stay while enjoying the region’s riches.
The stylish Abode Hotel boasts 50 brand new, spacious and tastefully appointed rooms. It’s the perfect base to spend a weekend (heck, why not a week?!) adventuring through the exceptional Canberra vineyards. The open plan modern kitchen has great facilities (including a cool pop tart maker). Plus, animal lovers will rejoice in knowing that their pets are welcome. Abode also has bicycles if you’d like to go on a picnic or travel along safe footpaths to the wineries.
If big open spaces, clean country air, breathtaking views, and quiet accommodation is you’re preferred method of relaxation, then head for the hills. Surveyor’s Hill Vineyard to be exact. Spend your evenings unwinding amongst the vines with a glass of wine in your hand. Admire the sweeping, panoramic views as the sun gently sets behind the Brindabella mountain range, right across the river.
Looking to explore more of Canberra and surrounds? Why not read up on our favourite outdoor activities in the bush capital.