In Travel Bloggers on Thursday 21st Mar, 2019

My Town: A newcomer’s guide to getting out and about in Belconnen

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Aerial view of Canberra from Belconnen in the morning. Source: Getty Images

Vivienne Beddoe says she has lived in Belconnen, one of the districts of Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory, for only four months she feels she has been making her way here, Canberra, for many years. She says in the last 30 years her family has had two deaths, two graduations, one wedding, two births, and many birthday celebrations in Canberra.

About your town

Describe your town in a couple of sentences:

“Belconnen is home to a large Westfield, a fresh food market, a beautiful lake (7 kilometres round) with bird sanctuary, government administrative buildings, high-rise residential, and a large concrete owl.

“Belconnen has easy access either by private car or public transport to all that Canberra has to offer, while at the same time having its own local arts centre and theatre. The current one is located on Emu Bank, but a new theatre is being built down by Lake Ginninderra.

“There is so much to see in Canberra with the national establishments such as the National Gallery of Australia, the War Memorial, the National Library of Australia and the National Museum, beautifully situated on Lake Burley Griffin. There is a vibrant local theatre and shows that run in Sydney and Melbourne often trial here.

“And, of course, there is Federal Parliament. You may be even lucky enough to see the politicians sitting.”

An interesting thing people might not know about your town is…

“I enjoy Belconnen because of its access to the above and also because of its access to the bush. To drive into the CBD you have to go through bushland, and the lake with its thousands of birds is a mere two blocks away.”

What are the best events that take place in your town throughout the year that you’d really recommend to visitors? 

“Floriade is the big draw card of special events with its wonderful display of flowers each September/October. There is a steady program of events catering to all tastes — Summernats, the Show, Enlighten, and the Multicultural Festival to name but a few.”

The best list

Best thing for every first-time visitor to do in your town? 

“Go to Black Mountain Tower where you can see the city, lakes, prominent buildings and the beautiful surrounding mountains.”

Best place for a coffee?

“is Lido Cafe and Bar in Belconnen Mall, which you’ll find on Benjanmin Way. It has friendly staff, eccentric decor and an interesting mix of customers. This is also the best place for breakfast; I recently had eggs Florentine there.”

Best place for a walk?

“Take a walk round Lake Ginninderra, or part way if you are not up to the 7km round trip.”

To get to Townsend Place, where the lake is located, go north from the Visitors Centre on Northbourne Avenue. Take the turn at Mouat Street and then head on to Ginninderra Drive. Take the left turn at Aikmak Drive and the right into Townsend Place.

The lake was constructed in 1974 and was an integral part of Canberra’s city plan. There are many inlets that provide different facilities such as playgrounds, picnic tables, shelters, barbecues and jetties. You’ll see a lot of wildlife, including black swans, moorhens, ducks and Rakali.

Best thing to do at night?

“I’m not one for going out at night but a show at the Canberra Theatre is hard to beat, and in March the Enlighten Festival is on when public buildings are lit up.”

Best thing to do in your town for less than $20?

“Entry is free to all the permanent exhibitions at the many galleries and museums, though special exhibitions have an entry fee. Walking round the lakes and in the bush is free as is the Botanical Gardens and Arbortoreum.”

Best place to eat a meal with a view?

“Bella Vista Restaurant on the shores of Lake Ginninderra gives good Italian food with beautiful views.”

Best restaurant in town?

“There are many restaurants of many cuisines and price range, but for me, it’s a toss up between Waters Edge situated on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin and Ottoman Cuisine on Broughton Street. Neither are cheap, but the food and service in both are excellent.”

Waters Edge serves experimental Modern European-Australian food, while Ottoman is a gourmet Turkish meze and mains restaurant.

Best souvenir to take home as a memento of your visit?

“Each museum and gallery has an interesting gift shop. In Belconnen, Splatter (which can be found in the Westfield shopping centre) is a delightful shop selling high quality craft while in the city, Trove (on Bunda Street) is a cooperative of artists, designers and makers and sells local craft. Four times a year Handmade Market sells an amazing range of craft and food.”

Best place to go for visitors to learn more about your town?

“Canberra Museum and Gallery on London Circuit can help with finding out about Canberra’s past, and the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre at Regatta Point overlooking Lake Burley Griffin is your one-stop-shop for all the latest to see and do.”

Do you love your town (or village, or suburb)? Do you have some great tips to share with any Travel at 60 visitors passing through?

Keen to share your thoughts with other 60-pluses? You can sign up as a contributor and submit your stories to Travel at 60. While you’re at it, why not join the Starts at 60 Bloggers Club on Facebook here to talk to other writers in the Starts at 60 community and learn more about how to write for Travel at 60. Community blogs published on the website go into the draw for some great weekly prizes.

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