Monday, November 19, 2012

#humanBrochure, Canberra

The Boy and I are already BIG fans of Canberra and we try to hop down there once or twice a year for a weekend out of the Big Smoke. Many people seem to think Canberra is boring...well, I'm telling you THEY ARE WRONG! There are great cafes + restaurants, GREAT shopping in the city, wonderful farmers + craft markets, a beautiful lake, wide open spaces, trees galore, galleries, museums and food...lots and lots of food!

Just recently I was lucky enough to be selected as one of "500 humans" to visit Canberra as part of a new tourism campaign called The Human Brochure (#humanBrochure on twitter and Instagram). What's the Human Brochure you ask?  It's the world's first crowd sourced online tourism brochure...and it was loads of fun.  I was thrilled to be choosen as over 30,000 Aussie humans applied for a spot!

Here's what we got up to (photos are all from my Instagram stream - you can see all my snaps on the Human Brochure website HERE).  You can check out what we ate and what we drank...loosen your waistbands as it was one hell of a weekend!

East Hotel - my eyes nearly fell out of the sockets when we got into our room at the newly opened East Hotel. I mean look at this palce - the Eames inspired decor is enough to make any girl swoon. Try as I might I could not figure a way to smuggle the beautiful mustard coloured chair out of the bedroom and into our car without be busted. D'oh.

The Australian War Memorial - the first night we were in Canberra ALL of the humans (plus their partners and kids) descended on the Australian War Memorial for the official welcome function. All four steams came together - the Foodies, the Arts + Culture people, the Adventurers and THREE BUS LOADS of families with children in tow!  The War Memorial is a wonderful place - it doesn't celebrate war, but remembers Australia's military history and those who have died during conflicts.It's a moving and humbling place that we should all visit.

Capital Wines - the next day their foodies jumped up their big white bus and headed off to Gundaroo for a wine matching lunch at Capiral Wines.  The food and wine was SPECTACULAR, really fresh + innovative - smoked lamb chops anyone, they taste just like bacon. I also really loved the flavoursome and unusual dish of  beetroot ravioli with kangaroo tail  - but it was the stunning (and large) kitchen garden, chooks and ducks that captivated my imagination. Such a restful place.

The National Gallery of Australia - after all of that eating it was time to squeeze a little bit of culture into the foodies life, so we made a pitstop at The National Gallery.  The Boy + I have been here before and love the chance to visit again and see the Sydney Long exhibition. I also enjoyed checking out the Sky Scene - a relaxing outdoor installation.

Rubicon - for dinner the Foodies were split into two groups and The Boy + I ended up dining at Canberra's darling restaurant, Rubicon. 

I don't like to be critical of restaurants on my blog as food blogging means talking about peoples livelihood.  I try to be respectful of the people behind the food who are putting their heart + soul into their businesses.  People have bad days at work - I sure I know I do.  Usually, if I don't have anything good to say I just don't blog the restaurant - what's the point?  That said as I'm writing about the whole #humanBrochure experience I'll give you my thoughts on Rubicon in the interests of full disclosure.  I have to say, for me, this wasn't the best Canberra dining experience I've ever had. The waitstaff weren't particularly nice or attentive towards our table (and didn't apologise when they spilled wine in our dining companions lap).  I thought the food just didn't "hit it" either in terms of flavour (other than the beautiful fish dish with stuff clams with I LOVED) - which is a shame as I was all set for a stellar night out.

The Australian National Botanic Gardens - Day 2 sees us waking up bleary eyed to some much needed Berocca that the East Hotel kindly left in the rooms of the Humans! Then we're off to the Botanical Gardens for a brunch with ALL of the other humans. Loads of fun, and loads of tasty food (like the yummy grass-fed beef snag sambos with caramelized red onions).

Mount Majura Vineyard - our last stop on the #humanBrochure weekend is at the stunning Mount Majura Vineyard where we don gumboots and wander through the vines. Beautiful. The afternoon ends with a wine tasting and I am thrilled to have FINALLY found a wine I like - I'm a Pinot Gris gal, thank you very much. I also enjoyed the cheese tasting and the amazing kangaroo prosciutto from Canberra's Poachers Pantry.

So there you have it. I had NO idea that Canberra has SO many wineries. We're heading back in January to explore a bit more on our own - and do the "Poacher's Way" drive.

Rubicon on Urbanspoon


  1. There's wine in Canberra? Hmmm, I need to head south more often! Looks like you had a great weekend!

  2. I'M SO JEALOUS YOU GOT SELECTED! Looks like you had a wonderful time :D


  3. How amazing you got selected! Looks like a fantastic weekend. I've been wanting to do a trip to Canberra for a long time, definitely next year.

  4. OMG John, you SERIOUSLY need to get your butt to my home town... our cool climate wines rock!

  5. Mel, an excellent wrap up of a food and event packed weekend. It was great to catch up with you two as part of Human Brochure. I agree with you on Rubicon. On this visit, Peter and I certainly didn't experience the same high quality food, service etc that we had become accustomed to at that restaurant. And to have a full glass of red wine knocked into Peter's lap by the Manager, without a word of apology just capped off a disappointing evening.

    Love your photos too!

  6. This really sounds like an amazing weekend. I have not been to Canberra since a Year 7 school excursion...I need to get back I think! Well done on getting selected too.

  7. What a great weekend by the looks of things! I have been to Canberra briefly but would love to spend some more time there. Floriade is on my 'to do' list.

  8. Yay! Great to see your recap, lots of great photos there :) And I can't believe I missed the Sky Scene! That looks so lovely! That's what I get for being sleep deprived I guess...!

  9. Oh wow very cool to be chosen! Such a great weekend. I do love Canberra.

  10. great write up Mel, you made a wonderful human brochure ;)

  11. I love this guide. I always love the idea of Canberra but I never go prepared, then end up eating room service. Love the galleries down there. Love!

  12. Hmmm... I guess I have been looking at the wrong spots every time I visit the capital city.

  13. So THAT's what human brochure was all about. Huh. I figured it was some new LinkedIn-esque thing.


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