September 11, 2020 | 4 minute read
The Weekender loves chatting to talented locals doing amazing things in places we love to visit. So, recently we caught up with Gina Ciancio, an Interior Stylist and the creative mind behind the award-winning blog Style Curator from Canberra. Here's what she had to say ...
* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
What do you love about living in Canberra?
I told myself I’d only live in Canberra for a year or two tops, but twelve years later, I’m still here! The city has a way of sucking you in with its incredible beauty, thriving food scene, emerging creative industries and easy liveability.
March is probably my favourite time of year. The days are long and the weather is just right. It’s the month of the balloon festival so most mornings the sky is filled with hot air balloons of all shapes and colours. Enlighten Festival is also on in March where the buildings in the parliamentary triangle come alive with large-scale projections, and there are live bands, roving artists and those fabulous Night Noodle Markets!
Most of all, I love the connection to nature in Canberra. The city is designed in a way where roads are lined with green nature strips and it's nestled amongst mountains. A short drive later you can find yourself in Jindabyne, the Blue Mountains, Bowral or any other of these surrounding towns that make for great weekend trips. And if you feel like a city experience instead, Sydney is just a quick 40-minute flight away.
Where are your favourite places to visit in Canberra?
It depends a lot on my mood. If I feel like disconnecting, I’ll head outdoors – taking my dog for a swim at Uriarra, walking up Mt Ainslee, or enjoying fish and chips by the lake at Snapper in Yarralumla.
On the weekends, a visit to Kingston markets is fun. I like seeing the latest from local makers, and the fresh produce and food hall there are always good too. If I’m feeling more artsy, there’s plenty of choice in Canberra but the Portrait Gallery and Sculpture Garden are probably my favourites, and I love the gift shop there.
Hidden secrets/tips for people who love buying homewares?
There are plenty of places to shop for the home in Canberra but many of them are a little tucked away. For a weekend outing combined with great food, I love Pialligo where you’ll find a beautiful range of nurseries, gift stores, cafes and the ceramic workshop of Bison.
Just across from the city is Braddon, another favourite district for homewares shopping with stores like Hive and Tip You're It. Also a popular destination for brunch, I prefer to enjoy the restaurants and bars at night.
Canberra also has a fab Handmade Market four times a year which attracts the best makers and artists from the region. Held at the Epic halls, you’ll find hundreds of stalls of gifts, homewares, art and fashion, as well as a gourmet food hall. I talk about more of the best places to shop in Canberra over on Style Curator, here.
Where would we find you at 10am on a Sunday?
With two very young children, our Sundays start particularly early. We’re generally out of the house by 7.00 am to have breakfast at one of our favourite cafes – Gus’ in the city (Canberra’s oldest café), Urban Pantry in Manuka or Double Shot in Deakin. We’re usually home by 9.00 am to get one child off to swimming and the other down for his morning nap, so by 10.'' am I’d most likely be home, trying to tick a few things off my to-do list!