A Typical Saturday in Canberra

by Rosemarie John and Joseph Ellis on January 14, 2016

Canberra on a Saturday

So, what is a typical Saturday in Canberra like? It can be as exciting and as low-key as you want it to be. There is no perfect Saturday, but ours last week was almost perfect!

We started our morning with delicious breakfast at the Museum Cafe. We picked a table outside, facing the water and watch the dragon boats race down the lake. Food at the cafe is by Broadbean Catering, which we have heard quite a bit about. And it is no surprise as to why.

Joseph had the buttermilk pancakes with berry compote and maple mascarpone and it was absolutely divine! It was the best pancake dish we have had in Canberra, no exaggeration here. I ordered the baked eggs and sourdough toast with grilled asparagus on the side. I enjoyed it to bits, it was light and fluffy. I did wish for my sourdough to have a more generous spread of butter on it, but it’s only a small issue for the crunchy and lightly salted grilled asparagus more than made up for it.

We stayed and sipped on our decadent hot chocolates, gazing across the lake until it was time to head over to the National Library.

Canberra Broad Bean Catering

We were visiting the library to view their newest exhibition which we were really excited about. We have travelled to Xi’an, a year ago and learnt about the first imperial dynasty called the Qin Dynasty that was famous for its Terracotta Warriors, unique culture/religion and food.

Having an opportunity to learn about the last imperial dynasty of China in our own backyard was not something we would miss.

“The Celestial Empire exhibition presents a unique selection of works from the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). The selection of books, maps and other documents produced under the dynasty represent a journey through different levels of society. They are used as markers in a tour of life in China over the last centuries of imperial rule.” ~ National Library of Australia

The Qing dynasty ruled China for nearly 270 years before it became the Republic of China on 1 January 1912. My favourite bit about the exhibition was that most documents had two forms of writings on them, the Manchu script and Chinese script. We found the Manchu script extremely beautiful to look at.

I was also very intrigued by the bright red silk Marriage Contract but it only had a very small description on what it entails. The topographic maps were amazing to look at, the details on them were fantastically preserved.

The National Library is a very interesting place and has a lot of to offer. If you are history buffs like us, you might want to consider becoming Friends of the Library.

Canberra Morning

Celestial Empire: Life in China, 1644-1911 will be on until 22 May 2016. Entry is free, but bookings are required. You can get your tickets here. Photography is not allowed in the exhibit. NLA is located at Parkes Pl W, Canberra ACT 2600.

The Museum Cafe is located within NMA at Lawson Cres, Acton ACT 2601. Find opening times here.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirsty January 14, 2016 at 9:02 pm

What a decadent sounding breakfast, yum! How lucky are we in Canberra to be able to merely stroll from one great national attraction to another. I totally agree, the Celestial Empire exhibition was fantastic. What a collection of culture and intricate artifacts.


Rosemarie John January 17, 2016 at 1:40 pm

We are so lucky, Kirsty! I cannot imagine not living here! 🙂


Anna @ shenANNAgans January 18, 2016 at 7:36 am

Those pancakes… drool! I have been craving them since you posted on social media. Ha! I agree with Kirsty, we really are very lucky to have access to so many amazing attractions, many of which within walking distance too. This year is all about saying yes and getting outside my normal routines, so will totes get on checking out the exhibition and maybe even becoming Friends of the Library. 🙂


Rosemarie John January 18, 2016 at 9:49 am

I am definitely heading back to have the pancakes all to myself! I only had one bite the other day! Let me know if you liked them as much as we did… it’s vegan by the way! 🙂


Anna @ shenANNAgans January 23, 2016 at 7:53 am

Vegan too…. Far out, that totally means I can have double the amount right?! 🙂
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David January 18, 2016 at 8:23 am

Canberra has a more impressive library than I ever imagined. I love underrated travel destinations!
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Krista January 22, 2016 at 6:22 am

What an interesting exhibit! And your breakfast sounds divine. Especially that maple mascarpone. 🙂
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Paula McInerney January 22, 2016 at 7:06 am

I remember when you guys were moving to Canberra. Now it seems you have settled in well. I love the Museum Cafe, and am coming soon to have the buttermilk pancakes.
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Gary January 22, 2016 at 9:43 am

Hopefully they should still be on the menu this Saturday… I might follow what you did as it looks quite fun!!


michelle taylor January 22, 2016 at 9:48 am

I love your zest for life and exploration. I missed this exhibition. Must keep up with what is happening in my town!
Excellent post. x
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Laura January 22, 2016 at 10:09 am

Canberra looks like a really fun place to explore. I’d love to visit someday. It sounds like there’s some great food places to check out too.
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Eileen January 22, 2016 at 5:12 pm

Sounds like a lovely day Canberra! Will have to keep these venues in mind for future 🙂


Tandy | Lavender and Lime January 22, 2016 at 8:44 pm

Sounds like an interesting place to live!
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Elaine J Masters January 23, 2016 at 6:31 am

Food and history are two favorite topics of mine too. Cool that the Chinese culture is being celebrated so close to home.
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Serina Huang January 23, 2016 at 7:56 am

I really love the Celestial Empire exhibition, too. I hadn’t actually seen the Manchu script, either, so I was really fascinated by it. Apparently the Australian National University has one of the largest collections of ancient Manchu script.
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Tammi @ Tea For Tammi January 23, 2016 at 10:50 am

The museum Cafes just seem to have really well-presented food! Gorgeous surroundings, too.
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Amelia January 24, 2016 at 12:14 pm

Sounds like a good way to spend a relaxing day in Canberra! There are soooooo many things to do if you get out and find them. Haven’t eaten at the National Museum for a while so I’ll have to get back there so!


@ChristineSalins (FoodWineTravel) January 25, 2016 at 11:52 am

I’m really looking forward to seeing the Celestial Empire exhibition next time I’m in Canberra. Always love the National Library exhibitions. Good to hear that they are doing some nice food at the Museum. Will have to check that out too.
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Lesley Peterson May 25, 2016 at 11:29 am

Any weekend that begins with breakfast at a museum cafe has got to be great! The Celestial Empire exhibition sounds amazing.


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