Capital delights! The best Canberra hotels to rest your weary head

Grab your car keys, we're bound for the ACT.
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For a city whose origin story revolves around its existence as a spot midway (give or take a few 100kms) between Sydney and Melbourne – places that were battling out for the title of Australia’s capital more than a century ago  –  Canberra has really managed to come into its own.

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The Australian politics Mecca, which is also home to everything from Questacon to Floriade, is an arguably more humble holiday destination than its more outwardly flashy or sun-drenched counterparts like the Gold Coast, which more often feature in expensive Tourism Australia campaigns. 

But hey, no one likes a show off. And there’s no doubt Canberra’s understated beauty is single-handedly a strong allure.

Located about a three-hour drive south of Sydney or seven hours north-east of Melbourne, the nation’s capital is a great road trip destination on its own (particularly if you’ve got a penchant for Australian politics) or an ideal pitstop if you’re making your way between the country’s two most populous cities.

Armed with an energy efficient Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid, we’re ready to explore the city and its surrounds. The hybrid SUV’s ease of control made it a breeze to navigate Canberra’s streets as well as its infamous endless roundabouts.

RELATED: Country chic: The best underrated road trip locations in NSW

mt ainslie canberra
The stunning view from Mt Ainslie is not to be missed. (Credit: Are Media)

Meanwhile, the latest tech such as Apple CarPlay integration and safety features such as in-built blindspot monitors ensured a smooth and safe ride on unfamiliar grounds.

One of the most picturesque places to head to while in town – and the first on our list – is Mt Ainslie. The lookout acts as an optimal vantage point to soak in all the sights Canberra has to offer and is easy to access via car with ample parking available.

toyota canberra
One of the best ways to see everything Canberra has to offer is to drive – we opted for a Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid. (Credit: Are Media)

For history and politics buffs, checking out Parliament House in addition to Old Parliament House is a must. Meanwhile, the Australian War Memorial offers a harrowing immersive look into the battles our soldiers faced in some of the more darker points of our history.

Want to stretch your legs? Try a stroll around Lake Burley Griffin and stop for a coffee at the cafes along the way.

Or if you want something less arduous (the full 11km walk around is quite lengthy!), choose a smaller section or head to the Kingston Foreshore.

Of course, while you’re staying in Canberra and need a place to pull up stops for the night, there are more than a few options to select from.

Scroll on for our pick of some the best hotels to stay at in Canberra in 2023

Vibe Canberra Airport

Best airport hotel – Vibe Hotel, Canberra Airport

Got an early flight in the morning or simply want to check in to your accommodation as soon you touch down? The Vibe Hotel is the go-to place to stay. Though many airport hotels are notorious for simply being a spot to get some shuteye close to the terminals, Vibe’s restaurant and bar area is a great place to unwind – and even offers live music on certain days of the week.


Qt Canberra

Best central hotel – QT Canberra

Located at 1 London Circuit, this hotel is right in the heart of the city with most of Canberra’s tourist attractions including Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial within a five-minute drive. And as part of the well-regarded QT family, you can rest assured you can’t go wrong when booking here for your next getaway.


Ovolo Nishi

Best luxe hotel – Ovolo Nishi

Ovolo has garnered a reputation for running some of the most aesthetically pleasing hotels across the country, each sprinkled with their own personality derived from the location they’re based in. And its Canberra iteration? It’s certainly no different. Each room is kitted out with Ovolo’s signature flair.


East Hotel
(Credit: Supplied)

Best family-friendly hotel – East Hotel

Located in the often-overlooked suburb of Kingston, the East Hotel is a gem in Canberra’s hotel scene. While it’s a top option for any type of guest, families will love some of the hotel’s clever details that cater to the kids. On offer is the “Kid’s Cubby” accommodation option which features bunk beds, bean bags and an Xbox ONE loaded with games, as well as other activities for the children. There’s a bar, restaurant and café downstairs but if you want to keep costs down, rooms have kitchenettes to whip up a meal on your own.


Jamala Wildlife lodge

Best unique hotel – Jamala Wildlife Lodge

Level up your Canberra getaway by booking a stay at Jamala Wildlife Lodge. Skip the simple bed-and-mini-bar hotel combo (snooze!) by picking this much more unique option, which lets you get up close and personal with wildlife and learn about these stunning creatures. The five-star luxury lodge has three different accommodation areas: the seven-room uShaka Lodge, Giraffe Treehouses and Jungle Bungalows.


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