In partnership with VisitCanberra.
With the ACT now leading the nation in vaccination rates and restrictions easing, there has never been a better time to get out and enjoy everything the Canberra Region has to offer.
From the bars and cafes to our theatres, galleries, events, world-class attractions and bucket list items, there is no shortage of things to do right here in our own backyard.
So, with the sunshine upon us, we decided to talk to three prominent Canberrans, who are passionate about their home city, and ask them: Now that the lockdown is over, what are you looking forward to most?
Getting back on the water...
For GoBoats owner Nick Tyrrell, rekindling his passion for local tourism (and the lake) is high on the list.
After spending the winter fiberglassing his boats, Nick's ready to get back out on the water, and spend more time with his young family.
"I have a one-year-old son, so I'm definitely looking forward to spending more time outdoors with our family and friends, and having people from interstate visit," Nick explained.
On his list is the National Arboretum Canberra. He says, their outdoor play area and great cafe make it a perfect family spot that "ticks all of the boxes".
Living in the Inner South, he is looking forward to coffees and breakfast at the Urban Pantry and supporting other nearby businesses. And, of course, he's looking forward to getting back in the water.
"There's plenty of water in the lake, so getting the gang back together for some electric boating would have to be on the list," he said.
"I'm lucky enough to not have to pay for it but I think with everyone's obsession with picnics these days it's the perfect level up for your picnic, to go from sitting around the lake to sitting on it."
Everything and anything...
For Canberra Capitals great Jess Bibby, the answer to what she is looking forward to doing this summer is simple: Everything and anything!
As the owner of the much-loved local mobile coffee business ShotClock Espresso, she is really looking forward to seeing large crowds and events come back. Whether it's Shakespeare in the Park or weekend junior sports, she says, she'll be there with a latte ready.
She is also looking forward to getting out and about and discovering all of the local secrets she may not have encountered in the past.
"Having my basketball career and a family, I've never had the chance to go to all of the Canberra Region wineries and they're the types of things I want to explore," she said.
"They're the places we take for granted, they're on our doorstep, but still I haven't ever visited them, so over summer it's those types of things I want to get to," she continued.
"I also pre-booked tickets yesterday for the outdoor Sunset Cinema... (and) I said to a friend of mine, let's write a list of all of the restaurants in Canberra we want to visit that we haven't in the past."
Jess is passionate about the region. When she moved here from Melbourne, she never wanted to leave.
"When I came to Canberra I said, 'I'll stay one year', but 15 years later I'm still here, just because I love it so much!"
"It's such a beautiful place to get out and about and we've got the best of all worlds. Whether it's outdoors or fine dining, the nightlife or something family oriented, we've got it all right here at our doorstep!"
A summer of art and culture
For Gallery of Small Things (GOST) owner Anne Masters the thing she is most looking forward to is getting out and supporting the many wonderful artists we have in our region.
GOST was only able to re-open in the past few weeks but already the visitors are coming back, she says. Now, with warmer weather upon us and so many of her friends and peers getting back to business, she is keen to reconnect with them.
"I can't wait to get back out into that scene because I know so many artists that have had exhibitions postponed, so I really want to go out and support them in those galleries," she said.
"We also have the Ancient Greeks Exhibition at the National Museum of Australia which is opening up in December and one of our artists, Fran Romano, was commissioned by the gallery shop to make works to coincide with the exhibition. So, for me it's about supporting other galleries and networks."
Anne also says she can't wait to get back out into nature and visit the city's beautiful gardens, with the Australian National Botanic Gardens high on the list of priorities.
Become a tourist in your own backyard
Anne has a deep passion for the city and is one of its greatest advocates. She puts together pamphlets of her favourite restaurants and bars, which she offers to her customers from out of town when they ask for a recommendation.
She often gets follow up phone calls from people telling her how much they love her recommendations. She says Canberra has so much to offer and hopes everybody gets out and discovers it this summer.
Nick Tyrrell agrees, saying the best destination this holiday season is your own backyard.
"There have been so many people doing it tough and I think there is a great temptation for Canberrans to take the shackles off and scoot down the coast," he said.
"But I'd encourage them, if they can, to think about what fantastic opportunities there are to get out and about in their own town; to support those businesses that help put Canberra on the tourism map and encourage their friends from interstate to visit more and more often, which will help contribute to employment and the local Canberra economy."
So, what are you looking forward to doing this summer?
Canberra, more than our home.