The Definitive COVID-19 Review of Canberra's 27 Supermarket Complexes

So, you’ve been stuck in social isolation with no way of leaving the house. Your outside adventures were limited to exercise and grocery shopping. Now that the restrictions have lifted, your freedom might be overwhelming. The local Woolworths isn’t quite cutting it anymore. How to choose which Canberra supermarket to revisit first?

We can help. Over the past few months, every time we’ve needed something from the shops, we’ve changed the shopping centre (observing all hygiene and social distancing rules). As time progressed, we started to review and rate these centres. Of course, we couldn’t visit every centre in Canberra, so we settled on “group centre” level complexes. These we defined as centres that serve a group (4-5) suburbs, and as containing one or more of an Aldi, Coles, Supabarn or Woolworths, in addition to a decent selection of other shops. Large IGAs or Supabarn Express did not count, and neither did a supermarket on its own.

Some of your favourite shops may not be included, but sadly we couldn’t cover the whole of Canberra. Despite this being the ‘definitive’ ranking, all comments on the centres are only our opinions. If we’ve left a bad review on your local shops, please don’t take it personally! So without further ado, let’s begin:

 

District: Gungahlin

 

A photo of Gungahlin Marketplace


Name:
Marketplace Gungahlin/Gungahlin Village

Suburb: Gungahlin

Supermarkets: Aldi/Coles/Woolworths

Rating: 6.5/10

 

Summary: The centrepiece of Gungahlin has more character than most of the district, but a fragmented layout holds it back from being in the same league as Belconnen Westfield.

Pros: Nice outside food vibes. More character than the rest of Gungahlin. Has the convenience of light rail. A large variety of shops.

Cons: Layout felt fragmented. Unpleasant parking experience. Free parking only for a short time.

 

A photograph of Casey Market Town
Name: Casey Market Town

Suburb: Casey

Supermarkets: Aldi/Supabarn

Rating: 9.5/10

 

 

Summary: A modern and nuanced take on the weekly shopping experience. The Supabarn will be hard to forget.

Pros: Stunning Supabarn. Stylish, modern interior. Large amounts of free parking. Good choice of food options. Can buy fresh pizza at the supermarket.

Cons: Parking can get congested.

 

A photo of Crace Market Town
Name: Crace Central

Suburb: Crace

Supermarkets: Supabarn

Rating: 4.5/10

 

Summary: Pretty much just a sterile feeling Supabarn with a handful of shops. Exists for functionality.

Pros: Quite clean. Supabarn pleasant to shop at.

Cons: Very sterile. Not much there. Limited albeit free parking.

 

District: Belconnen

 

A photo of Belconnen Westfield


Name:
Belconnen Westfield

Suburb: Belconnen

Supermarkets: Aldi/Coles/Woolworths

Rating: 8/10

 

 

Summary: An expansive centre with a wide variety of supermarkets and stores, even if the aesthetic is a little dark.

Pros: Convenient due to a lot of other stores around it. Many supermarket choices. Large amounts of parking. Bustling, expansive centre.

Cons: Takes a lot of time walking around the mall. A bit dark and dimly lit around the supermarkets as a result of being downstairs. Parking not free after a few hours.

 

Name: Hawker ShopsA photo of Hawker Shops

Suburb: Hawker

Supermarkets: Woolworths

Rating: 4/10

 

 

 

Summary: An unusual selection of shopfronts pared with an aging Woolworths led to a somewhat mediocre shopping experience.

Pros: Perpetual smell of fried chicken from nearby KFC. Community vibes. Decent bakery on the corner.

Cons: Quite an old feeling Woolworths. No bakery section in Woolworths.

 

A photo of Kaleen Plaza


Name: 
Kaleen Plaza

Suburb: Kaleen

Supermarkets: Coles

Rating: 4/10

 

Summary: Does the job, but lacks charm and finesse.

Pros: Honestly, not much going for it. Free parking though.

Cons: Coles was a bit cramped. Lack of charm. Bit bland and clinical. Had a bit of a depressing vibe – people seemed a bit sad. Deli still used the ticket system, which was confusing.

 

A photo of Jamison Plaza


Name:
Jamison Plaza

Suburb: Macquarie

Supermarkets: Aldi/Coles

Rating: 8.5/10


Summary:
Ideal choice if you want to get out of the city and do your shopping in the burbs.

Pros: Light and spacious, high roof. Modern and clean. Felt like a well-kept regional shopping centre. A decent selection of shops. Spacious and large Coles. Nice new Aldi. Free parking.

Cons: Entrance is a bit gaudy. The layout doesn’t provide much adventure (i.e. unexciting).

 

District: West Belconnen

 

A photo of Charnwood Shops


Name:
Charnwood Shops

Suburb: Charnwood

Supermarkets: Woolworths

Rating: 5.5/10

 

Summary: Not as bad as the reputation that proceeds it. Admittedly, the smoky and concrete centre does leave a somewhat dystopian vibe.

Pros: Large, clean Woolworths. Good fried chicken. Sensible layout. Free parking.

Cons: Quite busy. Traffic a bit difficult to navigate. Somewhat grungy vibes.

 

A photo of Kippax Fair Shops


Name: 
Kippax Fair

Suburb: Holt

Supermarkets: Aldi/Woolworths

Rating: 4/10

 

Summary: A very regional feeling centre – can only recommend for the large, modern Woolworths or if you live out there.

Pros: One of the largest, good looking Woolworths in the ACT. Free parking.

Cons: Felt a bit run down. A bit claustrophobic from the narrow hallways. Has dark lighting.

 

District: North Canberra

 

A photo of the Canberra Centre


Name: 
Canberra Centre

Suburb: Civic

Supermarkets: Aldi/Coles

Rating: 8.5/10

 

Summary: Simple, elegant layout (compared to Woden) boasting an enormous variety of modern, clean shops. Parking is a pain though.

Pros: Nando’s. Wide range of sushi. Centrally located. Huge selection of shops. Monaro mall is a stylish new addition. Good lighting. Ten-pin bowling and Dendy’s.

Cons: Coles is usually very busy. No free parking at all. Hard to find a park. The downstairs food court is a bit sad. No butcher despite being in the centre of Canberra.

 

A photo of Dickson Shops
Name: Dickson Shops

Suburb: Dickson

Supermarkets: Woolworths

Rating: 7/10

Summary: It’s the Dickson shops – what more can you say. An urban community vibe.

Pros: Nice variety of shops and eating places, urban community vibe. Often a sausage sizzle on Saturdays. Convenient for the inner north. Many Asian grocers.

Cons: Not free parking generally. Woolworths is usually very busy. Can feel a bit grotty.

 

District: South Canberra

 

A photo of Kingston Shops

Name: Kingston Shops

Suburb: Kingston

Supermarkets: Supabarn

Rating: 7/10

 

Summary: An inner-city hipster paradise that falls down in grocery shopping and parking.

Pros: Really good vibes, cafes and restaurants.

Cons: Limited parking that isn’t free. The Supabarn is quite small and not ideal for your weekly shopping.

 

A photo of Manuka Shops


Name:
Manuka Shops

Suburb: Griffith

Supermarkets: Coles

Rating: 7.5/10

Summary: Unsurprisingly, similar to Kingston. Less trendy, but better for groceries.

Pros: Decent sized Coles. Many trendy cafes and restaurants.

Cons: Parking spaces are small and difficult to navigate. Coles is quite busy. Parking not free after a while.

 

District: Woden Valley

 

A photo of Woden Westfield


Name:
Westfield Woden

Suburb: Phillip

Supermarkets: Coles/Woolworths

Rating: 7.5/10

 

Summary: Like Belconnen, but confusing. Vast and mysterious.

Pros: Lots of shops, lots of space. Harry Hartog. Great for niche interests. Variety of supermarkets.

Cons: Very confusing layout and parking. Parking not free after a while. No Aldi.

 

A photo of Curtin Shops


Name:
Curtin Shops

Suburb: Curtin

Supermarkets: Coles

Rating: 6/10

 

 

Summary: Small, inner suburban shops that retain a cosy and quaint atmosphere. Reminiscent of Dickson.

Pros: Nice trees and open-air shops. Convenient layout. Community vibes. Free parking.

Cons: A little bit rundown. The Coles building is not the nicest and a bit small. Limited parking.

 

A photo of Mawson Shops


Name:
Southlands Centre

Suburb: Mawson

Supermarkets: Woolworths

Rating: 6.5/10

 

Summary: Hidden away with a confusing layout, the expansive Woolworths and wide range of stores will reward the persevering shopper.

Pros: Large Woolworths – spacious and high ceilinged. Fresh fruit market. Open spaces with gardens.

Cons: Confusing layout and confusing aesthetic. Couldn’t decide what it wanted to be.

 

District: Weston Creek

 

A photo of Cooleman Court


Name:
Cooleman Court

Suburb: Weston

Supermarkets: Aldi/Woolworths

Rating: 7.5/10

 

Summary: Pleasant shopping centre with a nice community vibe.

Pros: Lots of free parking. Nice main street. Community vibes. Good lighting in the centre.

Cons: Woolworths has a strangely dominating presence for the size of the centre. Had a Target but is not closing.

 

District: Tuggeranong

 

A photo of Tuggeranong Southpoint


Name:
Tuggeranong Southpoint

Suburb: Greenway

Supermarkets: Aldi/Coles/Woolworths

Rating: 6.5/10

 

 

Summary: Somehow blends a mix of renovation and datedness. One of the more eccentric centres.

Pros: Very spacious, lots of stores. Wide choice of supermarkets. Novelty of climbing stairs to go down an escalator from the carpark. Has some unique stores. Ticket gate was busted (so free parking?).

Cons: Should have stuck with the old name of “Hyperdome” which sounds way cooler. Clinical lighting. Despite what appears to be renovations, still feels dated. Climbing stairs to go down an escalator from the carpark. Takes a long time to get anywhere. Ticket gate was busted.

 

A photo of Calwell Shops


Name:
Calwell Shops

Suburb: Calwell

Supermarkets: Woolworths

Rating: 5.5/10


Summary:
A peculiar charm emerges from the plastic and metal interior – vaguely reminiscent of a metro station

Pros: Community vibes. Large Woolworths. Symmetric layout. Free parking.

Cons: Lack of cafes. Rather small. Not very flattering from the outside.

 

Chisholm Shops


Name:
Chisholm Village

 Suburb: Chisholm

Supermarkets: Aldi/Coles

Rating: 4.5/10

 

Summary: Nice and spacious, but nothing much distinctive to recommend this one.

Pros: Good Coles. Brightly lit. Open, crescent-shaped layout. Free parking.

Cons: Not much distinctive.

 

A photo of Lanyon Marketplace


Name:
Lanyon Marketplace

Suburb: Conder

Supermarkets: Aldi/Woolworths

Rating: 9/10

 

 

Summary: A scenic and well-designed shopping centre with all the right shops and a nice, modern interior. Too bad it is nearly out of Canberra…

Pros: Mountain scenery. Picturesque layout. Modern interior with wood panelling. All the good shops, especially for food. Large amounts of free parking.

Cons: Very, very, very far south…

 

A photo of Kambah Village


Name:
Kambah Village

Suburb: Kambah

Supermarkets: Woolworths

Rating: 5/10

 

Summary: These shops stand out with a distinctive rural style and aesthetic, despite the size and potential lack of variety.

Pros: Interesting rural style and atmosphere. Free parking. Nice central courtyard.

Cons: Shops did not feel modern. A little small.

 

A photo of Erindale Centre


Name:
Erindale Centre

Suburb: Wanniassa

Supermarkets: Woolworths

Rating: 5/10

 

Summary: Honestly, quite forgettable.

Pros: Large bakery. Simple layout. Largish Woolworths. Free parking.

Cons: Aisles in Woolworths were not where we expected them. Outside was a bit plain.

 

A photo of Wanniassa Shops


Name:
Wanniassa Shops

Suburb: Wanniassa

Supermarkets: Coles

Rating: 3/10

 

Summary: Not the flashiest of shopping centres and feels a bit redundant considering the bigger Erindale Centre is in the same suburb. Similar vibes to Kaleen.

Pros: Free parking. Playground in carpark??

Cons: Lacks charm. Feels redundant. Quite cramped and claustrophobic. Not an extensive range of shops.

 

District: Majura

 

A photo of Majura Park


Name:
Majura Park (NB – did not go to Costco)

Suburb: Majura

Supermarkets: Aldi/Costco/Woolworths

Rating: 3.5/10

 

Summary: Vast, but feels barren and hollow. Not a pleasant place for weekly groceries. (Note: Due to not having a membership, we did not go to Costco. If we did, it may have swung the rating)

Pros: Costco. A huge amount of free parking. Very large Woolworths and a large number of other stores. Near Ikea

Cons: No sense of community. Very sterile.

 

District: Queanbeyan

 

Riverside Plaza


Name:
Riverside Plaza

Suburb: Queanbeyan

Supermarkets: Aldi/Coles/Woolworths

Rating: 6.5/10

 

 

 

Summary: Large mall servicing a regional area. Hence, it has strong nostalgic regional vibes (both authors are originally from regional areas)

Pros: VERY large Coles. A large number of convenient shops. Free parking

Cons: Woolworths is not in the mall complex. Nothing really stands out, given how many people it services.

 

A photo of Jerrabomberra Shops


Name:
Jerrabomberra Shops

Suburb: Jerrabomberra

Supermarkets: Woolworths

Rating: 4.5/10

Summary: Quite small and isolated. Not unpleasant to visit, but also not much there.

Pros: Free parking. Clean exterior. Homey feeling.

Cons: Had highway service station vibes. Quite small with a lack of shops.