‘Armadillos Cafe’

DT@Armadillos cafe-Gold Creek ACT

Dig around in one of the small clusters of businesses at Gold Creek Village and you’ll stumble upon Armadillos Cafe. Read any literature and it will tell you Gold Creek Village is for Canberrans and visitors alike. I visit with my sister who has lived in Canberra for 35 years, and I think she may have visited once – maybe. It’s a strange place. I get the feeling that once upon a time it had high hopes, but now feels forgotten. The day I visit Armadillos Cafe offers a choice of plain, ginger, or date scones. I try a plain and a ginger scone for something different, and to be honest, can’t tell the difference. Either the ginger is very subtle, or the heat from the microwave has neutralised any flavour, but they are definitely made on the premises as opposed to bought-in. The rich and fruity raspberry jam pairs well with the double thick cream. Once done sconing it up, there are enough shops to meander through, more cafes to try, as well as the National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra Walk In Aviary, and Canberra Reptile Zoo.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: An unusual array of T2 loose-leaf teas served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Friendly and welcoming.

Location: Gold Creek, 7 O’Hanlon Pl, Nicholls ACT 2913 Ph: 0422 076 313

Reviewed May 2018

‘Barracks Cafe’

DT@The Barracks-Lanyon Homestead

The restored 1850s Lanyon Homestead on the outskirts of the ACT is surrounded by a superb series of convict-era outbuildings and well-established gardens. The homestead is presently a house museum managed by the ACT Historic Places. It still retains its homestead feel overlooking pastures and The Brindabellas. The original barracks have been transformed into a cafe and aptly named The Barracks. The place is popular for weddings and there’s a huge marquee set up out the back of the cafe ready for the upcoming weekend. There’s a cosy indoor area but it lacks much natural light, so if it’s warm out, there’s plenty of seating with views. I know this sounds silly, but the scones taste very colonial; simple and floury. The strawberry jam is average but the whipped cream is lovely and thick. Guided or self-guided tours of the Homestead are available. Closed Mondays.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A range of Twinnings loose-leaf teas served in a two-cup pot.

Price: $$

Overall: A quaint and relaxing country experience not far from the city.

Location: Lanyon Homestead, Tharwa Dr, Tharwa ACT 2620 Ph: 02 6237 6500

Reviewed May 2019

‘Daughters at Hall’

DT@Daughter of Hall-Hall ACT

Teetering on the ACT/NSW border, the historic village of Hall remains hidden away from the city lights. Proclaimed a village in 1882, settlers had moved in long before then,  stablishing a store, post office, cottages and homesteads. Considering its close proximity to Canberra, the place has managed to maintain a village atmosphere, attracting visitors to its monthly Hall Markets, the various cafes, and even beer, wine and cider tastings at Hops and Vine. Daughters at Hall, the general-store-turned-café, is run by a couple of chicks whose family first settled in the area in the early 1800s. The building has passed its centenary quite a few years ago, but still retains a facade from yesteryear. Huge picture windows light up the large space while tables are set up outside in fine weather. A serving of scones includes just one small scone that’s already dressed with a dollop of cafe-standard strawberry jam topped with thickly whipped cream. The scone isn’t particularly impressive; the tough base and its small size doesn’t lend itself to providing a soft and fluffy scone. Points go to the lovely presentation though.

Scones: teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small selection of loose-leaf teas served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: A cute historic village not far from Canberra’s action.

Location: 5 Victoria St, Hall ACT 2618 Ph: 02 6230 2457

Reviewed May 2018

‘NGA Cafe’


There’s always a good reason to visit the National Gallery of Australia. They are forever nabbing the best exhibitions and the gallery houses Australia’s most prized art collection. I’ve just squeezed in a visit to the Toulouse-Lautrec Paris & the Moulin Rouge exhibition and I must say I was more fascinated by the stories accompanying the art than the art itself. Managing to slip in to the NGA Cafe by the skin of my teeth as it closes at 4.30pm, I’m able to nab the last lonesome scone off the shelf. The cafe is light and bright, a nice gathering space to chat about the art. I’m impressed with the thickly whipped and ample cream (considering I only have one scone) but the jam is nothing extraordinary. The scone is really crispy on the outside and I like the thick texture on the inside, they were definitely fresh this morning (as opposed to yesterdays). Try to make it in the morning rather than at 4.29pm, when the scones are straight out of the oven.




Tea: Several varieties of T2 tea in fancy teabags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Bright and open, the perfect place to absorb and rest.

Location: National Gallery of Australia, Parkes Pl, Canberra ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6240 6411

Reviewed in February 2013

‘Poppy’s Cafe’

DT@Poppys cafe-War Memorial ACT

Visit the Australian War Memorial late in the day and be sure to stay for the Last Post Ceremony. It kicks off when the Memorial closes at 5pm and begins with the Australian national anthem followed by the piper’s lament. Every day a different name is chosen from the Roll of Honour and their story is shared. The ceremony takes place around the Pool of Reflection, and after a few speeches, wreath laying and the sounding of the Last Post, you’d be one tough cookie not to feel moved. Literally a minute’s walk from the Memorial, the proximity of Poppy’s Cafe is a treat. Not just any old cafe, it’s part museum and part memorial, and feels more or less an extension of the Memorial. When ordering scones, what you’ll get is one well-sized scone that doesn’t look particularly appetising. However, when dissected and dressed, it’s fluffy centre hits the spot. The strawberry jam is rather ordinary but the slightly sweetened chilled whipped cream makes up for it.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A very small range of Tea Drop silk teabags served in a small pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Light and bright; it feels like a quirky gallery belonging to the War Memorial.

Location: Australian War Memorial, 5 Treloar Cres, Campbell ACT 2612
Ph: 02 6262 7380

Reviewed May 2018

‘Queen’s Terrace Cafe’

DT@Queens Terrace Cafe - Parliament House, ACT

It’s been a while since I have driven Canberra’s neat and tidy parliamentary ring roads. Everything feels spacious and the public spaces have a ‘unlived in’ vibe. I remember when Parliament House first opened, but this is my first time inside and past the airline-style security. I sneak a peek at The Parliament House Great Hall Tapestry, which was designed by Australian artist Arthur Boyd. It’s one of the largest tapestries in the world, and I vow to sign up for a tour next time I’m in town. On level two, the Queen’s Terrace Cafe takes up quite some space at the front of The House. Due to this, the view from any of the cafe windows is to the back of Old Parliament House, up Anzac Parade, and to the War Memorial in the distance. The large modern cafe doesn’t quite spill out onto a terrace, but the extensive terrace can be accessed through a secure door that is testimony to the extremes in weather in the capital – or would that be security? The scones look more like bread rolls than scones, and unfortunately taste as dull as they look – bland and dry. Is it because it’s close to closing time that the scones are dry? The blackberry jam is better than your ordinary, and the thick cream tastes more like mock cream than whipped fresh cream, but nonetheless is good. Combine a cafe visit with a tour of Parliament House, several types run daily.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapothalf 

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small range of T2 silk tea bags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Handy after a tour of the House, inconvenient otherwise.

Location: Parliament House, Parliament Dr, Capital Hill ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6277 5239

Reviewed November 2017

‘Rodney’s Garden Cafe’

DT@Rodneys Cafe - Plants Plus, Piliago ACT

Rodney’s Plants Plus is your typical 21st century garden centre. There is plenty to peruse including a vast selection of plants, flowers and herbs, basically anything green and living for the garden is on offer. Let’s not forget everything needed to help the garden thrive and of course, the cafe. Garden shopping is hunger-inducing work, right? All comings and goings is through the home and giftware store, and good luck in leaving empty-handed! Rodney’s Garden Cafe has indoor, outdoor, and shaded eating areas, and a plethora of nooks and crannies for diners. During inclement weather indoors is recommended, as shade cloth doesn’t hold back the rain. The scones are sensational: delicate, and oh-so-fluffy and feather-light. The miniature jam jar of strawberry jam is cute, but the jam is nothing better than the average jam served in cafes. Additionally, we might like our scones super light, but the cream? It’s a definite no-no. The fresh cream from a cream canister looks tidy, but is way too aerated for the DT Guide. The sprig of fresh mint leaves is a fitting garnish, considering we are at a garden centre.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small range of Serenitea silk tea bags served in a small teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Everything to make your garden grow under one big roof.`

Location: Rodney’s Plants Plus, 24a Beltana Rd, Pialligo ACT 2609 Ph: 02 6257 5822 

Reviewed November 2017

‘The Tea Lounge’

DT@The Tea Lounge- Hyat Hotel ACT#2

The Tea Lounge in the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel Canberra is an institution for lovers of afternoon tea. I’ve been here many times over the years for weekend High Teas and the occasional Devonshire Tea. On this visit I’m here with a critical eye. As far as five-star hotels are concerned, this heritage hotel is pretty low-key. With a hint of 1920s and doormen that look like they belong on a golf course rather than in a hotel, the Hyatt Canberra is suitable for both business and leisure travellers. If you are staying at the hotel you’ll inevitably end up in the Tea Lounge, which is more open-plan-space than intimate lounge. There are three scones per serve, which is generous, and if you include the mini friand served with the tea, it’s almost a full meal! The blueberry Beerenberg jam in petite jars is better than most generic jams found in cafes, but the pot of firm chilled cream rounds out this spread.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: Around 30 choices of loose-leaf teas and tisanes served in a large teapot.

Price: $$$

Overall: A Canberran afternoon tea institution.

Location: Hyatt Hotel Canberra, 120 Commonwealth Ave, Canberra ACT 2600
Ph: 02 6269 8815

Reviewed May 2018

‘Tulips Cafe’

DT@Tulips Cafe, Pialigo ACT

Pialligo is a green thumb’s paradise, where garden centres sell all manner of stuff to do with gardens, including garden accessories and giftware. Although, visit Bliss Garden and Giftware and you might be disappointed if after living greenery. Instead, there’s an abundance of accessories to beautify gardens such as garden pots and furniture, water features, and home and giftware. Sharing the same plot of land is Tulips Cafe, which has a seating arrangement to suit all plus a large kids playground to keep the young and restless occupied. A tad unusual but there’s a peacock wandering around the garden furniture, although I’m not sure where he belongs. I choose one of the large plain scones, leaving the date scone for another day. It’s on the dry side, but it is closing time after all. For the size of the scone there’s not enough jam, but that’s no great loss as it’s mediocre. The cream on the other hand is double thick rich and goes the distance. Impressive is the contemporary fine bone China cup and saucer by Pearl, which makes sipping quality tea a pleasure. Don’t leave your visit too late as the cafe staff have one foot out the door before 3pm.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf 

Jam: teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapot3

Tea: A small range of Adore loose-leaf teas served in a good-sized pot.

Price: $$

Overall: Half garden accessory and gift shop, and half cafe.

Location: Bliss Garden and Giftware, 8 Beltana Rd, Pialligo ACT 2609 Ph: 02 6249 6118

Reviewed November 2017

‘Yarralumla Gallery and Oaks Brasserie’

DT@Yarralumla Gallery and Oaks Brasserie-Yarralumla

The Yarralumla Gallery and Oaks Brassiere is nestled in a leafy section in Western Parklands just of the cycle path and spitting distance from the Heritage Nursery. The Yarralumla Gallery commandeers the little cottage rooms with art and jewellery, while the Oaks Brassiere spills out into the gardens surrounding the cottage. It’s Saturday when I visit, so after placing my order inside at the counter, there’s a bit of a wait for the scones to arrive. The ‘Devonshire Tea Special’ is on the menu and a daily occurrence. The two small lemon scones are dense rather than light and fluffy, and flecked with lemon zest. Where it gets ‘special’ (I think) is in the jam and cream. A major disappointment is the two small Kraft sachets of raspberry jam, and the two huge dollops of freshly whipped cream are unnecessary. It would make sense to replace a dollop of cream with a dollop of jam, and ditch the sachets. Who am I to say? But the whole thing is imbalanced.  If you are after some new plants for the garden, be sure to pop into the Heritage Nursery, which was established over 100 years ago. The cafe and gallery are closed Mondays.

Scones: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Jam: teapothalf

Cream: teapot3teapot3teapot3teapothalf

Tea: A basic range of loose-leaf teas served in a teapot.

Price: $$

Overall: Perfect in fine weather as most of the seating is scattered out in the gardens.

Location: Western Parklands,Cottage 1 Weston Park Rd, Yarralumla ACT 2600
Ph: 02 6260 5253

Reviewed May 2019



6 thoughts on “CANBERRA

  1. I just must say, thank you thank you for this site. My goal on holidays is one session of delicious, authentic DT. You have made my day!

  2. The Yarralumla Gallery and Oaks Brasserie now serves jam in a small glass dish. Not the highest quality but quite good.

  3. Fabulous website! Unfortunately we weren’t in Canberra long and only sampled one tea at the National Portrait gallery. We were directed there from the NGA whose cafe is only doing Tuscan lunches at the moment. Scones were great and cream and jam were ok. Great outdoor seating though. For visitors to Canberra who are really into Cream teas a map would have been useful.

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