A weekend in your suburb: 36 hours in Barton

A weekend in your suburb: 36 hours in Barton

When I searched 'Things to do in Barton, ACT' I got this: "Sorry, your search did not provide any results. Please refine your selection."

Really? And that was on the number one listed tourism website.

Sure it's a tiny hamlet quietly nestled behind bustling local foodie meccas Kingston and Manuka, and smothered by the shadow of the big house on he hill.

But there are people that live in the area - so what do they do for fun and why should you go out of your way to go there?


Firstly some of Canberra's most refined and well-credentialed restaurants are based in Barton.

There are lots of them, all top quality. If the thought of Ottoman Cuisine's degustation menu, Malamay's spicy Sichuan, Konoba's Mediterranean, Maple and Clove's whole food goodness or The Boathouse's pan seared scallops with water views doesn't have your fine-dining salivary glands rushing, you probably haven't sampled them. Yet.

Are you a sports fan? The RUC (Rugby Union Club) boasts not only the only dedicated sports bar in the area, but it will also truck you and your mates to and from the Brumbies' home games at Canberra Stadium. If the Canberra cold gets too much for you (or your missus) they stream the game onto enormous screens and will keep the food and alcohol coming, until you are singing and jeering like a drunken barmy army cheer leader in the warmth and comfort of a heated club under the cosy armpit of a fellow supporter.

Barton is also the home to the iconic National Press Club of Australia, established in the 1960s by journalists who wanted a genuine national forum to discuss issues of the day. You don't need to be 'media' to pop in and soak up the culture or take a swill a from a whisky glass, behind the same walls that have housed some of this country's most important and heated debates.

Did you know one of Canberra's oldest parks defines one of the borders of Barton? Telopea Park was established in 1922 and its many well established native and introduced trees, quaint little bridges, free barbeques and play areas also make for a beautiful family magnet.

The perfect lazy Sunday afternoon could start with a barbecue and a flick of the frisbee there, before crossing over Bowen Drive to feed appropriate leftovers to the bevy of water birds. Another boundary of Barton is the East Basin of Lake Burley Griffin, also boasting water views and lake frontage. The jewel in the crown of the flock that call the banks of Barton their home is an ever growing ballet, bank, lamentation, regatta, wedge or fanfare (choose your favourite collective noun) of swans that seem to delight humans young and old.

You can also walk back in time and walk hand-in-hand with former Prime Ministers John Curtin and Ben Chifley. A great selfie photo-op for you and your family is the very hands-on, pathway-installed, life-sized statue of these guys. Edmund Barton himself is also just over the road, in front of the heritage listed building named after him.

Another interesting Barton fact? Our 16th Prime Minister, the pipe-smoking Ben Chifley refused to live in The Lodge but preferred to dwell in Barton. He stayed at the Hotel Kurrajong until the day he died of a heart attack - right there in the hotel itself, still an esteemed Canberra watering hole with a special grandeur of its own.


It's also no coincidence Barton seems to house some of the ACT's most beautiful people. The Realm precinct is becoming a magnet for those seeking beauty and pamper treatments. Not only can you visit a five-star spa like Mudd, classy hairdressers Kundalini or rejuvenate at Evo health club - you can pop in to one of the plastic surgeons conveniently operating in the area to complete your top-to-toe transformation.

Then you can toast your inner-south excursion success with girlfriends, mojitos and gossip at the Ostani bar, all the while while plotting how you can make this compact suburb your next home address.