Drive around Canberra’s leafy inner-south suburbs to see official residences, Art Deco bungalows, carefully tended gardens and the diplomatic precinct. Most of the embassies are located in the suburbs of Yarralumla and Forrest, between State Circle and Empire Circuit. The Lodge , the prime minister’s Canberra residence, next to Parliament House, is noticeable by the large cream brick wall that surrounds it. It is not open to the public, but occasional open days are held. Likewise, Government House , the governor-general’s residence at Yarralumla, a grand 1920s building, is only open to the public once or twice a year. There are views of the grounds from a lookout on Lady Denman Drive.
Manuka and Kingston
Over the years many of the original homes in these two suburbs have been replaced by townhouses and apartments – their proximity to both Lake Burley Griffin and the city centre has made them sought-after addresses. Both Manuka and Kingston have vibrant shopping precincts, with a fabulous variety of cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, bars and pubs. Up-market shops and public squares add to the vibe, and the lovely Telopea Park is only a few minutes away from both suburbs. On the Kingston Foreshore you’ll find the Canberra Glassworks, nestled in an old powerhouse next to the weekly Old Bus Depot Markets. The nearby suburb of Griffith has some of Canberra’s best organic and alternative shopping, along with a couple of excellent restaurants and cafes.
Built in 1927 in Spanish Mission style, the house contains the original furnishings and photos, offering glimpses into what domestic life was like in the then-fledgling capital. Explore the 1920s garden or hide in the World War II air-raid shelter. There are guided tours during the week (group bookings only) and open house on the weekend. 24 Mugga Way, Red Hill; (02) 6295 1945; open 1–4pm Sat–Sun.
Set on 17 hectares of grazing land, Mugga-Mugga is a collection of buildings and cultural objects dating from the 1830s to the 1970s. The highlight is the 1830s shepherd’s cottage, which has been carefully preserved and furnished with household belongings from the early 1900s. The option of combined admission fees with Calthorpes’ House and Lanyon Homestead (see Day tours, p. 119) offers good value. Narrabundah La, Symonston; (02) 6239 5607; open 1.30–4.30pm Sat–Sun.