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On-walkabout in: The Civic Neighborhood of Canberra

I often find myself traveling to Canberra for work related reasons and this month I found myself back in Canberra.  Most Australians don’t like the city because they think it is boring and too far out in the bush; maybe that is why I like it so much? I have posted many times before about Canberra so make sure to read my prior postings about this great city and draw your own conclusions.

Anyway this time in town I was staying in the Civic neighborhood on the northside of town.  This neighborhood is now considered the hippest area of town because of all the new construction here that is supposed to bring a more cosmopolitan feel and night life to Canberra.  This area town is quite nice with all its new buildings but as can be seen during the day, it sure can be lacking in people:


Something I liked about this newer area of Civic was that it was a pedestrian only area.  Maybe it is just me, but I don’t mind having to park my car outside the shopping area and walking around.  Considering that Australia is not the world’s fattest country maybe more downtown shopping areas need to become pedestrian only?

From the newer pedestrian area I went over to the older shopping area of Civic where you can really tell the difference between the newer and older parts of downtown:


One of the biggest differences is that you have to start dodging cars again to get to the older shopping area.  There wasn’t a whole lot to see in this area of Civic so I walked back to the newer area and had lunch at a pretty good Japanese restaurant that was located on the second floor of a building in the pedestrian only area.  This restaurant is well labeled and easy to find.  The restaurant actually has Japanese people working in it which is always a good sign that the restaurant is probably pretty good.  However, like outside there was next to nobody in this restaurant which is a shame because it is quite good.

To be fair though, the night before this area of Civic was packed with mostly college students.  That night my colleagues in Canberra took me to the same bar these guys take me to every time we go to Canberra, King O’Malley’s:



King O’Malley’s is like an institution in Canberra the way locals are dedicated to it.  The place is an Irish style pub and it was actually quite a fun place, but keep in mind I’m pretty easy person to entertain; the place had Guinness so I was good to go the whole night.

After lunch I then decided to walk over to the massive new shopping mall in Civic.  I think the reason there was no one outside was because they were all inside this massive shopping mall:


This mall was actually quite nice and has every store you can think of.  It is three stories big and extremely long.  I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around this massive place.  When it was dinner time I decided to stop at the steak restaurant on the first floor of the shopping center.  My colleagues had told me this place had the best steaks in Canberra so definitely wanted to check it out while I was in town.

The place was quite pricey but for a good steak I’m willing to pay good money.  Here is what $45 bought me, a small steak, potatoes, break, and a salad:


To say I was disappointed by this meal would be an understatement.  The bread they served me at first was extremely hard and nearly uneatable.  Then for whatever reason they served my salad with my steak.  The salad should come before the steak.  The potatoes were good, and the steak though small, was actually above average but not great.

For $45 I definitely felt like I didn’t get my money’s worth.   My favorite Australian steak restaurant continues to remains the Red Heifer in Newcastle and this restaurant didn’t even come close to matching it.   In fact the rest of the time in Canberra I played it safe and kept going to the Japanese restaurant for dinner where I got more and better food for half the price.

Overall though Civic is actually a pretty nice area to stay while visiting Canberra.  It is pedestrian friendly, clean, plus has plenty of shops & restaurants.  I really can’t complain even if I got ripped off on my steak.

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