Hyatt Hotel Canberra
The Speaker's Corner Bar at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra. Photo: Andrew Meares
Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla, Canberra, ACT
phone: (02) 6270 1234
The beauty of Canberra - and people can be very unkind about it - is that it's close enough to leave work in Sydney on Friday afternoon and be settled into your hotel room before dinner.
From there, decide whether to stay in and order room service (and at the luxurious heritage-listed art deco Hyatt Hotel Canberra, that's a very good option) or go out, not very far away, for Turkish at Ottoman Cuisine (corner of Blackall and Broughton streets, Barton; 02 6273 6111) or pan-Asian at The Chairman & Yip (108 Bunda Street, Civic; 02 6248 7109).
Then walk it all off the following day as you take in the Boyds and Brackses and Gleesons in the National Gallery of Australia's permanent collection (Parkes Place, Parkes; 02 6240 6411; nga.gov.au), or move up the hill for a tour of Parliament House (Capital Hill; 02 6277 5085; aph.gov.au), where you can sit inside the chambers and have a quick lesson on Australia's mechanics of democracy.
Or check out Questacon (King Edward Terrace, Parkes; 02 6270 2800; questacon.edu.au), a museum of science that lets you virtual-race Olympic champions, experience an earthquake or watch a lightning bolt form before your eyes.
Cost: from $275 a night; packages, from $315 a night (discounts for longer stays), include full buffet breakfast and access to the hotel's pool, spa, gym and sauna.
Distance: 290km (3 1/2 hours' drive) south-west of Sydney.
- Good Weekend