AT’s guide to the best cheap accommodation for summer and Christmas holidays 


Why do we rate it?
You have to visit the nation’s capital… but the cultural offerings are superb.

Where is it?

286km from Sydney, Canberra is a 3hr 30min drive south-west on the Hume Highway.

Where to stay
Hotels just north of the CBD in Braddon come without the hefty rates of more central ones, but are still only a 10min drive away. The heritage Mercure Hotel Canberra has a small but sweet garden and several pet-friendly rooms. Try Clifton on Northbourne or Breakfree Capital Tower for two-bedroom apartments with a pool, gym and restaurant onsite. The brand new Aria Hotel has rooms and apartments right behind the Pavilion on Northbourne.

How much is it?
Mercure Hotel Canberra queen/twin rooms cost $155 on weekends; $197 midweek. Two-bedroom suites cost $250 a night at Clifton on Northbourne and $299 at BreakFree Capital Tower. Aria’s basic rooms cost $140 a night for two, spa suites $185; one-bedder apartments $180.


Rooms are available for Christmas and January; large rooms book out first. Book in advance for New Year’s.

What to do

The best things in life, and in Canberra, are free: the NGA, Library, Museum, Archives, Mint, Museum of Australian Democracy and War Memorial. Whatever you do: don’t go during SummerNats Jan 6-9!


Mercure Hotel Canberra //
Corner of Ainslie & Limestone Aves.
(02) 6243 0000;
BreakFree Capital Tower //
2 Marcus Clarke St.
(02) 6276 3444;

Clifton Suites on Northbourne //
100 Northbourne Ave. (02) 6262 6266;

Aria Hotel //
45 Dooring St, Dickson.
(02) 6279 7000;

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