Moving to Canberra – Embracing Life in the Nation's Capital

Contemplating a relocation to Canberra and keen to uncover more about the "Bush Capital"? Join us on a comprehensive exploration of all the delights and opportunities the capital city provides

26 min read

Moving to Canberra – Embracing Life in the Nation's Capital

Key takeaways

  1. Known as the 'Bush capital' of Australia, it is Australia's largest inland city and offers a unique blend of urban sophistication and natural tranquillity, providing the perks of city life without the overwhelming hustle and bustle, making it ideal for both work and leisure.
  2. With world-renowned institutions like the Australian National University (ANU) and a strong public school system, Canberra cbd is a hub for high-quality education from early learning through to tertiary and vocational training.
  3. The city's job market is vibrant, with plentiful opportunities in the public sector, technology, education, healthcare, and research, supported by a growing startup ecosystem.
  4. The capital city's calendar is packed with festivals, arts, and sporting events. Its museums, galleries, and performance spaces enrich the cultural landscape, while the surrounding natural parks and reserves offer endless outdoor activities.
  5. Getting around Canberra is straightforward thanks to efficient public transport, extensive cycling paths, and well-planned roads. The city's layout supports an active lifestyle and easy commutes.
  6. Explore a range of housing choices from tranquil suburbs to more affordable living in emerging areas, catering to different lifestyles and budgets.
  7. Canberra draws people from all over the world highlighted by events like Floriade festival and Canberra Balloon Spectacular.

Picture this: a beautiful city where nature jams out in your backyard, culture is not just a buzzword scribbled on pamphlets, and the word 'commute' doesn’t automatically translate to 'soul-crushing journey.' Yep, that’s Canberra for you – Australia’s cool, collected capital that’s more than just roundabouts and politicians.

This isn’t just the place where laws are made; its where outdoor adventures meet café culture, where history chats with modern art in the park. Known to friends as the 'Bush Capital,' this major Australian city is all about giving you the best of both worlds: city vibes without the city stress.

So, whether you’re here for the job of your dreams, some top-notch education, or simply to soak up the laid-back lifestyle, let’s dive into what makes Canberra city not just a stopover, but a destination.

A snapshot of Australian Capital Territory

Number of people living in Australian Capital Territory 145,507
Number of families 35,016
Median Age 35
Number of private dwellings 65,116
Average number of people per household 2.3
Median weekly household income $2,419
Number of people attending an education institution 42,984
People who travel to work by car 55.0%
People who travel to work by public transport 7.6%
Unemployed rate 4.0%

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Census 2021

Why move to Canberra?

So, why pack up your life and head to Canberra? Well, for starters, it's not just a city, it's Australia's capital city. It doesn't show off like the bigger cities Melbourne or Sydney and once you're here, you'll realise Canberra's got everything you need. We've got the calmness of a town with the perks of a city. You can enjoy your coffee in peace on Monday and dive into vibrant food and music festivals by the weekend. The job market is vibrant with public sector positions galore and booming industries in tech and education.

Education? World class! From world-renowned universities to the number of schools praised for their innovative approaches, it's an incredible city and a learning haven. And for the nature buffs, imagine having access to serene lakes, bushland hikes, and cycle-friendly streets, all while being a stone's throw from snow-capped mountains and sunny beaches.

But what truly sets the nation's capital apart is its vibe – a blend of laid-back living, cultural richness, and community warmth. It's the kind of place where you can find your niche, be it a meeting place in a cosy café corner or in the great outdoors. Canberrans believe in balancing work and play, when that happens, work feels less like a grind knowing nature is just a lunch break away. And the community – it’s tight-knit but welcoming, full of people from all walks of life.

And forget about those traffic nightmares – here, everything is 20 minutes away and 'rush hour' means an extra five minutes on your commute – seriously, traffic jams are more myth than reality here.

Overview of Canberra

The Australian Capital Territory, not just a place filled with politicians and old parliament house but a spot where nature and architectural planning have a secret handshake. Dreamed up by Walter Burley Griffin, it's like someone took a ruler, some green paint, and went to town creating geometric patterns and lush parks everywhere.

It's the heart of Australia's government, alright – think Parliament House, the High Court, and all those national institutions like the Australian War Memorial and the National Gallery. But wait, there's more!

Canberra is affectionately dubbed the "Bush Capital." Why? Well, step outside and you're practically tripping over nature reserves, with biking and hiking trails in Namadgi National Park, and Lake Burley Griffin is perfect for those who love to sail or just munch on a picnic. Plus, the city waltzes through four seasons, each putting on its own show, from the autumn leaves that look like a firework display stuck on pause to the spring blooms that could outshine Instagram's best.

Now, culture – this city has got it in spades. The art scene is popping, the dining is top-notch, and the local wine? Chef's kiss. Education-wise, it's a brainiac's paradise with top-tier universities and research spots. Living here is like hitting the lifestyle jackpot: clean air, safety, cool public spots, and a community vibe that makes you feel like part of the furniture in no time.

Despite its chill vibe, the central business district is always buzzing, a melting pot of folks who value the finer things: education, culture, and, of course, the great outdoors. It's the best of both worlds – peaceful living with all the city perks, making it a hit with families, professionals, and students. So, if you're looking for a place where you can have your cake and eat it too, Canberra's your spot.

Getting to know Canberra's districts

Canberra covers an area of approximately 814.2 square kilometres. This area includes the capital city itself along with its surrounding suburbs and regions, making it a sizable capital with plenty of room for its diverse landscapes, from urban centres to natural reserves. Dive into the heart of the nation's capital by exploring the distinct suburbs, regions, and towns that make up the ACT.

  1. Central Canberra - Home to iconic landmarks, government buildings, and cultural institutions, this area buzzes with activity, ideal for those who love city life.
  2. North Canberra - Known for its leafy streets and heritage homes, this region combines community atmosphere with cultural vibrancy, housing popular spots like Braddon and Dickson.
  3. South Canberra - Offering a mix of modern living and scenic beauty, areas like Kingston and Manuka are famous for their cafes, shops, and proximity to Lake Burley Griffin.
  4. Woden Valley and Weston Creek - Family-friendly with a hint of suburbia, these areas offer great schools, shopping centres, and parks, making them perfect for a quieter lifestyle.
  5. Belconnen and Gungahlin - These rapidly growing regions cater to young families and professionals with their modern facilities, housing developments, and recreational areas.
  6. Tuggeranong Valley - Framed by nature, this area provides a retreat from the city buzz while still offering all the essential amenities and community activities.
  7. Canberra surrounds - Venture beyond the city to discover charming towns and rustic landscapes, from the wine-rich Murrumbateman to the historic streets of Queanbeyan.

Each suburb, region, and town presents its unique advantages, whether you're seeking vibrant urban life or peaceful countryside living.

Canberra's beautiful landscape

Canberra, also often referred to as the "Capital Country," is celebrated for its stunning natural landscape that harmonizes beautifully with the city’s urban structure. The city's design incorporates vast green spaces, parks, and nature reserves, offering residents and visitors a unique blend of city convenience and natural beauty.

From the panoramic views at Mount Ainslie and Black Mountain, which provide a breath-taking overlook of the city's layout, to the tranquil shores of Lake Burley Griffin, ideal for leisurely walks or cycling, the city's outdoor environment is a major part of its appeal. The surrounding regions, such as the Namadgi National Park, present a haven for outdoor enthusiasts with opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife spotting in an unspoiled setting.

The Australian National Botanic Gardens and the Nation Arboretum Canberra are testament to the city’s love for plant life and greenery, showcasing a wide variety of native and exotic plants. Meanwhile, the many manicured public gardens and parks within the city, like the Commonwealth Park, invite leisure and relaxation amidst serene landscapes.

Canberra's commitment to preserving its natural surroundings while fostering a growing city offers a unique living experience – where nature’s calm meets urban sophistication.

What's the weather like in Canberra?

Experiencing the distinct seasons is part of what makes life in Australia's capital unique. The city enjoys four distinct seasons, each bringing its own charm and array of activities.

Spring (September to November) - Spring is a celebration of colour, with flowering trees and bulbs blooming throughout the city, notably the famous Floriade festival. The weather is pleasantly warm averaging a maximum of 21.7°C during the day, with cool mornings and evenings lowering to an average of 6.3°C .

Summer (December to February) - Summers are warm to hot, averaging a maximum temperature of 27.5°C with a minimum average of 13.6°C and January being the warmest month in summer. It's perfect for outdoor activities and water sports on Lake Burley Griffin. This is a great time for picnics and evening concerts in the parks. It can

Autumn (March to May) - Autumn is a favourite for many, with the city turning shades of red, gold, and brown. The cooler temperatures can average a high of 23.1°C but hit average low of 7.6°C which still makes it ideal for hiking and cycling. Canberra's autumn foliage is a highlight, particularly around the Parliamentary Triangle and the suburbs.

Winter (June to August) - Winters can be cold, with frosty mornings and crisp temperature averaging a low of 1.1°C, sunny days however can reach an average top of 13.3°C . Snow is rare in the city but can be found in nearby mountain regions, making this capital city a gateway to winter sports.

The weather allows residents to enjoy a variety of seasonal activities and showcases the city's natural beauty in different lights throughout the year.

Getting around with public transport

Getting around from one district to another is smooth and straightforward, thanks to its well-structured public transport system. Whether you're commuting to work, exploring the city, or venturing into the suburbs, here’s what you need to know:

  1. ACTION Buses and Light rail - The public transport network primarily consists of ACTION buses and the newly introduced light rail service. The network covers the entire city, making it convenient to travel from one end to the other. Spend some time getting to know the bus and light rail routes, especially those near your home and workplace. Transport Canberra’s website and route maps can be very helpful.
  2. MyWay card - The MyWay card is Canberra’s smartcard for accessing public transport. Obtain a MyWay card for cheaper fares compared to single tickets. Regular commuters should consider setting up auto top-up to avoid the hassle of manual recharge. Register your card online to manage your account and protect your balance in case of loss or theft.
  3. Integrated ticketing system - The same MyWay card works for both buses and light rail services, simplifying your travel and ticketing process. Paper tickets are also available for occasional travellers.
  4. Real-time information - Download transport apps like the Transport Canberra Journey Planner or third-party apps such as Google Maps for real-time route planning, schedules, and service alerts. These tools can help you optimise your travel time and routes.
  5. Cycling and walking integration - For those who prefer cycling, buses are equipped with bike racks, and the light rail offers spaces for bikes, making it easy to combine cycling with public transport. Plus, the city’s extensive network of bike paths and walking trails integrate seamlessly with public transport hubs. Learn about the rules and facilities for bringing bikes on buses and light rail, such as designated areas and times when bikes are allowed.

Housing insights in Canberra

Settling into life in the nation’s capital means finding the right spot to call home. Canberra’s housing market is diverse, offering a range of options from bustling city apartments to tranquil suburban homes. The districts North Canberra, South Canberra, Belconnen, Woden Valley, and Tuggeranong, each have unique characteristics and community vibes. Researching these areas will help you find a suburb that aligns with your lifestyle preferences and needs.

What's the median house price in Canberra?

The house market presents a variety of options for those considering making the move to ACT. The current median house price stands at $1,042,730 as of September 2023, reflecting the city's demand and lifestyle quality. For those looking at more compact living or seeking a more budget-friendly entry into the market, units in Canberra have a current median price of $567,059.

Across the different suburbs, the costs vary from the more established suburbs to the growth suburbs, providing options for a range of preferences and budgets:

North Canberra is at the heart of the city’s cultural and educational institutions, with median house and unit prices reflecting its central location and desirability. For instance, in Braddon, known for its lively atmosphere and modern living, the median house price is $742,500, while units are at $555,000.

South Canberra, including Barton with its close proximity to the Parliamentary Triangle, showcases some of the higher end of housing with median prices reaching $2,172,500 for houses. Kingston and Yarralumla also offer prestigious living options near water and green spaces.

In Belconnen and Woden Valley, the housing market becomes more accessible. Belconnen, for example, offers a balance of urban and suburban living with a median house price of $603,500.

Tuggeranong gives a mix of suburban comfort and natural beauty, with Greenway providing central living options within the district at a median house price of $578,872.

For those seeking affordability, suburbs like Bonython and Banks provide a more cost-effective entry into Canberra’s property market, with median house prices around $895,000 and $737,500 respectively, without compromising on lifestyle or amenities.

What's the median rental price in Canberra?

As of the latest data, the median rent in Canberra for houses is $767 per week, while the median rent for units is $567 per week. This provides a broad overview of the rental market, indicating what you can expect to pay in the city. However, actual rent can vary significantly depending on the suburb, the size of the property, and its amenities.

Canberra's cost of living

The cost of living tends to run a bit on the higher side compared to other Australian cities. This is mainly because it's the nation's capital, housing various federal government departments and agencies. The locals here generally pull in higher average incomes, which helps balance out the added living expenses. When it comes to essential stuff like groceries, utilities, and getting around, the costs are pretty much in line with, if not a tad above, the national average. Eating out and having fun can also take a chunk out of your wallet each month. But hey, Canberra's got a lively dining scene and plenty of cultural and leisure activities to enjoy. Housing is the real wallet-buster for most folks, whether you're paying rent or a mortgage. It plays a huge role in how pricey it is to live in the city. Despite the costs, Canberra offers a top-notch quality of life, loads of public services, and a well-kept-up infrastructure that make it a sweet deal for many residents.

How much everyday grocery items cost?

Everyday Item Price (AUD)
Milk (1 litre)  $2.67
Bread (1 loaf)  $3.76
Rice (1kg)  $3.33
Chicken breast (1kg)  $13.69
Eggs (a dozen)  $6.81
Apples (1kg)  $5.15
Tomatoes (1kg)  $8.86
Lettuce (1 head) $3.90
Coffee (standard cappuccino in a cafe)  $5.28
Beer (500ml) $8.09

Employment opportunities in Canberra

The employment landscape is diverse and robust, primarily driven by the public sector but also thriving in areas such as technology, education, healthcare, and research. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Public sector employment - As the nation's capital, Canberra is the heart of Australian government operations. The government is investing heavily in defence, cybersecurity, and technology, translating into increased job opportunities in these areas. Departments like the Department of Defence and the Australian Cyber Security Centre are key employers. This provides extensive career opportunities in various government departments and agencies, offering roles in administration, policy, defence, and more.
  2. Technology and innovation - The city is becoming a hub for tech companies and startups, spurred by supportive governmental policies and a highly educated workforce. The city hosts several tech companies and government contractors like Lockheed Martin, IBM Australia, and Datacom. The city is also fostering a burgeoning startup ecosystem, supported by initiatives like the Canberra Innovation Network (CBRIN).
  3. Education and research - With several world-class universities and research institutions, there are ample opportunities in academic, administrative, and support roles within the education sector. Home to notable universities such as the Australian National University (ANU), University of Canberra (UC), and the Australian Catholic University (ACU). These institutions not only offer academic roles but also careers in research, IT, administration, and student services.
  4. Healthcare sector - The ever expanding healthcare system requires professionals in medical, nursing, allied health, and administrative roles, supported by hospitals and health services that are among the best in the nation. Major hospitals like Canberra Hospital (public) and Calvary John James Hospital (private) provide employment across a range of medical, research, and administrative roles. These facilities are known for high-quality care and advanced medical research.
  5. Private sector and entrepreneurship - Beyond public service, there's a vibrant private sector and a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and small businesses, especially in areas like retail, hospitality, and services.
  6. Cultural institutions and tourism - Home to national museums, galleries, and cultural institutions, there are opportunities in curatorial, conservation, educational, and visitor services roles, as well as in the broader tourism and hospitality industry. Notable places include the National Museum of Australia, the Australian War Memorial, and the National Gallery of Australia. The burgeoning tourism sector also supports jobs in hospitality, tour operations, and event management.

Education in Canberra

The education here is more than just learning; it's an enriching journey that prepares you for the global stage while nurturing your personal and intellectual growth.

Schools and education options

The educational landscape is enriched by its wide array of schools, known for their commitment to fostering holistic development and academic excellence. Whether you're looking for public, independent, or religious institutions, Canberra offers diverse options to cater to various educational philosophies and family needs:

  1. Public schools - Canberra's public schools are well-regarded for their high educational standards and inclusive approach. They are zoned based on residential areas, ensuring every child has access to quality education close to home. Schools like Telopea Park School and Canberra High School are known for their comprehensive curriculum and supportive learning environments.
  2. Independent schools - For families seeking alternative educational approaches, independent schools offer varied curriculums including Montessori and International Baccalaureate programs. Schools such as Canberra Grammar School and Daramalan College have reputations for academic rigor and well-rounded programs.
  3. Faith-based schools - Catering to various religious communities, these schools combine academic learning with spiritual development. St Edmund's College and Burgmann Anglican School are examples where students receive education aligned with specific faith traditions while being encouraged to achieve academic excellence.
  4. Specialised programs - Many schools also offer specialised programs for sports, arts, and academic extension, catering to students with specific talents or interests. This ensures that every child can pursue their passion while receiving a solid educational foundation.
  5. International focus - Reflecting Canberra's multicultural community, several schools offer programs for international students and bilingual education, fostering a global perspective from an early age.

Vocational education and training

Vocational education and training (VET) provide practical, skills-based learning that paves the way for diverse career opportunities. Here’s what the capital offers for those seeking a more hands-on approach to education:

  1. Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) - At the forefront of vocational education in Canberra, CIT offers a wide range of courses designed to equip students with industry-relevant skills. From hospitality, automotive, and construction to IT, nursing, and business, CIT's programs are tailored to meet the current and future needs of the job market.
  2. Apprenticeships and traineeships - There are plenty of apprenticeship and traineeship programs, allowing students to gain practical experience and earn while they learn. These programs are perfect for those looking to enter trades or technical careers and are supported by both educational institutions and industry partners.
  3. Specialised training centres - Beyond CIT, they city also hosts specialised training centres and private RTOs (Registered Training Organisations) that offer targeted training in sectors such as security, aged care, fitness, and beauty. These institutions provide certifications and diplomas that meet national standards.
  4. Industry partnerships - Many VET providers in also collaborate closely with local businesses and industries to ensure that the training is aligned with employer needs and future employment trends. This collaboration enhances job readiness and creates smoother pathways from education to employment.
  5. Flexible learning options - Understanding the diverse needs of its students, the VET sector offers flexible learning options including part-time study, online courses, and evening classes to accommodate different lifestyles and commitments.
  6. Career guidance and support services - VET institutions can also offer extensive career counselling and support services, helping students navigate their career paths and connect with potential employers.

Universities in Canberra

Canberra is not just the political heart of Australia; it's also a thriving centre for higher education and research. The city's universities are renowned for their innovative approaches, diverse programs, and contributions to global research. Here’s what sets these universities apart:

  1. Australian National University (ANU) - As one of the world’s leading universities, ANU is renowned for its research output, distinguished faculty, and vibrant student body. Located in the heart of the capital, it offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs, particularly excelling in areas like politics, environment, law, and science. The campus is a hub of intellectual activity, offering state-of-the-art facilities and a wealth of resources.
  2. University of Canberra (UC) - Known for its focus on professional education, UC prepares students for successful careers with its industry-aligned programs and practical learning approach. The university offers a diverse range of courses in health, sports, arts, and sciences, and is celebrated for its innovative research centres and community engagement initiatives.
  3. Australian Catholic University (ACU) - ACU’s Canberra campus specialises in education, nursing, paramedicine, and social work. The university is committed to providing a values-based education, encouraging students to think critically and ethically. ACU is known for its supportive learning environment and community outreach programs.
  4. Charles Sturt University (CSU) Study Centre - While primarily located in New South Wales, CSU operates a study centre in Canberra offering courses in business and IT. This centre provides opportunities for students to engage directly with the capital's vibrant business and tech sectors.

Each university not only offers a high-quality education but also enriches students’ university life with a range of cultural, social, and recreational activities. With their lush, expansive campuses, they provide an ideal environment for study, research, and personal growth, making Australia's Capital Territory a sought-after destination for students from across Australia and around the world.

Extracurricular activities

Life outside the classroom is as enriching and diverse as the academic experience. The city offers a myriad of extracurricular activities that cater to all interests, many of which are unique to the capital. Here’s a snapshot of what you can dive into:

  1. Lake Burley Griffin - Centrepiece of the city, the lake offers activities like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and sailing. The surrounding parks and bike paths make for perfect picnics, jogs, or leisurely bike rides with stunning views.
  2. National cultural institutions - Take advantage of city's status as the cultural heart of Australia. Explore the National Gallery of Australia, the National Museum of Australia, or the Australian War Memorial. Many institutions offer behind-the-scenes tours, workshops, and volunteer opportunities.
  3. Bushwalking and nature exploration - Canberra is encircled by nature reserves and parks. Explore the Namadgi National Park, or hike the trails of the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. For a leisurely afternoon, the Australian National Botanic Gardens offers a serene escape.
  4. Political engagement - As the nation’s capital, it provides unique opportunities to engage with Australian politics. Attend question time at Parliament House, visit the Museum of Australian Democracy, or participate in public forums and discussions.
  5. Festivals and events - From the vibrant Floriade festival celebrating spring to the enlightening National Folk Festival and the captivating Canberra Balloon Spectacular, the city’s events calendar is bustling all year round.
  6. Arts and crafts - Dive into the creative scene with art classes, pottery workshops, or photography walks. Local markets like the Old Bus Depot Markets provide a platform for artisans and offer hands-on craft workshops.
  7. Astronomy - Given the clear skies, visit the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex or attend a stargazing night at Mount Stromlo Observatory. It’s a unique chance to gaze at the stars and learn about the universe.

Healthcare services in Canberra

Boasting a healthcare system that offers a wide range of services to its residents and visitors. From world-class hospitals and clinics to specialised care centres, the city ensures accessible and high-quality medical care for all. Public and private facilities work in tandem, providing comprehensive services including emergency care, routine check-ups, specialist treatments, and mental health support. With a focus on patient-centred care, Canberra's healthcare institutions are equipped with the latest technology and staffed by skilled professionals dedicated to maintaining the well-being of the community.

Public and private healthcare

The public healthcare system is funded by the government, providing free or subsidised health services to Australian citizens and permanent residents through the Medicare system. This includes treatment in public hospitals, access to medical practitioners, and certain health services and pharmaceuticals.

On the other hand, the private healthcare system offers additional choices for those willing to pay for private health insurance or out-of-pocket expenses. Private healthcare in the major Australian city includes services from private hospitals, specialist practitioners, and access to private rooms in hospitals. It often ensures shorter waiting times for elective surgeries and treatments, a wider selection of healthcare providers, and additional services such as dental and optical care which are not covered by Medicare.

Both sectors strive for excellence in healthcare delivery, complementing each other to meet the diverse needs and preferences of the territory's population. The choice between public and private healthcare allows individuals to tailor their medical care according to their health needs, financial capacity, and desired level of comfort and convenience.

What are the main hospitals?

Home to several key hospitals that serve the community with a broad spectrum of medical services:

  1. Canberra Hospital - Situated in Garran, Canberra Hospital is the largest public hospital in the region, providing comprehensive tertiary level healthcare services. It is renowned for its extensive range of services including emergency department, maternity unit, and specialised medical and surgical care.
  2. Northside Hospital - Canberra Health Services now manages and operates North Canberra Hospital (previously known as Calvary Public Hospital Bruce) and Clare Holland House. This is another major public hospital offering emergency services, intensive care, and a wide variety of medical and surgical services.
  3. The National Capital Private Hospital - This facility, positioned in Garran alongside Canberra Hospital, is the leading private hospital in the region. It offers advanced surgical and medical treatments, maternity services, and a comprehensive range of inpatient and outpatient services.
  4. Calvary John James Hospital - Situated in Deakin, this is the largest private hospital in the ACT, providing a wide array of healthcare services including surgical, maternity, and rehabilitation services.

These hospitals are instrumental in providing critical healthcare services to the residents of Canberra and surrounding areas. With state-of-the-art facilities and dedicated healthcare professionals, they ensure the community has access to exceptional medical care.

How to get around

Getting around Canberra is straightforward, thanks to its well-planned layout and range of public and private transport options. Here’s how you can navigate the city efficiently:

  1. Public transport - Transport Canberra operates the city’s bus and light rail services, providing comprehensive coverage across the territory. The integrated network makes it easy to transfer between different modes of transport. Use the MyWay card for convenient and cost-effective travel.
  2. Cycling - Known as the ‘cycling capital’ of Australia, with an extensive network of bike paths and dedicated lanes crisscrossing the city and its green spaces. Bike hire services, including shared bike schemes, are available for those without their own wheels.
  3. Driving - If you prefer to drive, the wide roads and ample parking make car travel a viable option. Be aware of peak traffic times, especially around central business districts and school zones. Car sharing services are also available in the city.
  4. Walking - Designed to include interlinked parks, lakes, and walking paths, making it a pleasant city to explore on foot. The city centre, in particular, is pedestrian-friendly and offers easy access to shopping, dining, and entertainment.
  5. Taxis and rideshares - Taxis and rideshare services like Uber and DiDi are readily available throughout al suburbs. These can be especially convenient for direct travel to specific destinations, late-night transportation, or when public transport services are less frequent.
  6. Park & Ride facilities - For those living further out, Park & Ride facilities allow you to park your car and catch public transport into the city centre, helping to reduce traffic congestion and save on parking fees.

What's on in Canberra?

The cultural and recreational landscape is as diverse and sophisticated as the city itself, offering residents and visitors alike a multitude of ways to engage, learn, and relax. Here's a look at the cultural calendar of what Canberra has to offer:

  1. Floriade - Typically runs from mid-September to mid-October, transforming Commonwealth Park into a vibrant display of flowers and creative installations.
  2. National Multicultural Festival - Usually held in February, this festival celebrates cultural diversity with food stalls, performances, and activities spanning several days in the heart of Canberra.
  3. Canberra International Film Festival - Often takes place in October or November, showcasing a range of international and Australian films across various venues in the city.
  4. Canberra Balloon Spectacular - Held in March, this event sees hot air balloons from around the world taking flight over Canberra, creating a spectacular scene at dawn.
  5. The Enlighten Festival - Running in late February to early March, it features stunning illuminations of Canberra’s iconic buildings, alongside food, music, and cultural performances.
  6. National Folk Festival - Scheduled around Easter in April, this festival brings together folk musicians, dancers, and artists for a celebration of folk culture at Exhibition Park.
  7. ANZAC Day - Commemorated on April 25th, with significant ceremonies at the Australian War Memorial, including the dawn service, which is a deeply moving experience.
  8. Canberra Wine Week - Usually in April, celebrating the harvest with tastings, tours, and events in the Canberra wine region.
  9. The Truffle Festival - From June to August, celebrating the winter truffle season with a series of events, dinners, and hunts in and around Canberra.
  10. Christmas in the city - December brings festive decorations, markets, and events to the city centre, including the lighting of the Christmas tree.

How to get to Canberra?

Reaching the major Australian city, nestled in the heart of the Australian Capital Territory, is convenient and accessible from any direction, making your journey to this unique city smooth and straightforward. Here’s how you can make your way to Canberra:

By Air

Canberra Airport is the primary gateway for travellers coming from within Australia and select international destinations. Offering direct flights from major Australian cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide, the airport is just a short drive from the city centre.

Flight duration

Given Melbourne's central location in Australia, it's relatively quick to reach from other major cities. Here's an approximate guide:

Flying from Flight Duration (approximately)
Sydney to Canberra 1 hour 
Melbourne to Canberra 1hour 5 minutes
Brisbane to Canberra 1 hour 45 minutes
Adelaide to Canberra 3 hours 20 minutes via Sydney
Perth to Canberra 6 hours 20 minutes via Sydney
Hobart to Canberra 2 hours 5 minutes

By Road

Driving to Canberra offers scenic routes and the flexibility to explore at your own pace. From Sydney, it’s a 3-hour to 4-hour drive via the Federal Highway. Melbourne to Canberra is about an 8-hour drive along the Hume Highway, turning onto the Barton Highway.

By Bus

Several coach services, including Greyhound Australia and Murrays Coaches, offer regular trips to Canberra from Sydney, Melbourne, and other regional centre. Buses arrive at and depart from the Jolimont Centre in the city centre.

By Train

NSW TrainLink provides rail services to Canberra from Sydney. The journey offers picturesque views and arrives at the Canberra Railway Station in Kingston, making it a scenic alternative to road or air travel.

Whether you’re flying in for a quick visit, driving through the beautiful landscapes, or arriving by train or bus, getting to Canberra is an easy and enjoyable part of your travel experience. Once you arrive, the city’s efficient public transport system and pedestrian-friendly layout make exploring the city convenient and pleasant.

Unique experiences only found in Canberra

Some of the most unique experiences you can’t find anywhere else. Here’s a glimpse into what makes Canberra uniquely captivating:

  1. Parliament house behind-the-scenes tours - Gain insight into Australia's political history and workings with a tour of Parliament House that goes beyond the public areas. Witness where laws are made and explore the art and architecture that embody the nation’s identity.
  2. Anzac Day dawn service at the Australian War Memorial - An experience steeped in solemnity and national pride, the Dawn Service on Anzac Day is a poignant reminder of Australia’s military history and sacrifices.
  3. Floriade - Australia’s biggest celebration of spring, this flower festival is not just about the blooms; it's a month-long event that includes art installations, workshops, and gastronomy, set against the backdrop of Canberra’s Commonwealth Park.
  4. Sky gazing at Mount Stromlo Observatory - Participate in a public astronomy night at the Mount Stromlo Observatory, where you can stargaze through telescopes and learn about the cosmos from experts in the field.
  5. Hot air balloon ride over the capital - Catch a bird's eye view of the city and national parklands from a different perspective with a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. Drift over the Parliamentary Triangle, Lake Burley Griffin, and other iconic landmarks.
  6. Explore the National Institutions - From the National Gallery of Australia’s world-class art collections to the interactive exhibits at Questacon, Canberra’s national institutions offer in-depth encounters with art, history, science, and culture.
  7. Canberra wine region tour - Venture into the surrounding Canberra District Wine Region for cellar door tastings and vineyard tours. The region is renowned for its Shiraz, Riesling, and cool-climate wines.
  8. Truffle hunting - Join a truffle hunt during the winter season in the Canberra region, a rare and indulgent experience that showcases the luxury of hunting and tasting fresh truffles.
  9. Bush capital trails - Embrace Canberra’s title as the “Bush Capital” by exploring its extensive network of walking and cycling trails that weave through natural reserves and stunning landscapes.
  10. Attend a sitting of Parliament - Witness democracy in action by attending a live parliamentary sitting. It’s a unique opportunity to see Australia’s politicians debate and make decisions that shape the country.

Ready to move to Canberra?

Moving to the Australian capital can be an exciting journey. To ensure a smooth transition to life in capital country, here are some essential tips:

  1. Prepare for Canberra’s distinct seasons. The city experiences hot summers and cold winters, so a versatile wardrobe is key. Don’t underestimate the chill of a Canberra winter – heating in your home is a must.
  2. Research established suburbs to find the best fit for your lifestyle and needs. Whether you prefer the bustling city vibe of Braddon, the family-friendly atmosphere of Belconnen, or the peace and quiet of Woden Valley, Canberra has a suburb for everyone.
  3. The public transport system is efficient and user-friendly. But make sure you get a MyWay card for convenience and to save on fares. If you enjoy cycling, you’ll find Canberra’s extensive network of bike paths a great asset.
  4. The city welcomes a diverse community. So be sure to join local groups or clubs related to your interests to meet new people and integrate more quickly into your new surroundings.
  5. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural scene. From national museums and galleries to local music gigs and theatre productions, there’s always something happening.
  6. Be aware of the cost of living in Canberra. While it offers a high standard of living, planning and budgeting, especially for housing and utilities, can help you manage your finances effectively.
  7. If you have children, familiarise yourself with the school enrolment process. Canberra’s schools are zoned, and it’s worth considering this when choosing where to live.
  8. Keep up to date with local news and events through Canberra’s various media outlets. This will help you feel connected and informed about what’s happening around you.
  9. Canberra is known for its relaxed pace, friendly people, and quality of life. Embrace what it has to offer, and you’ll soon find yourself feeling right at home.

Once you're ready to move to Canberra, Find a Mover can help you find removalists who move you to Canberra. Moving to Canberra is not just about changing your address; it’s about embracing a work life balance culture incorporating work and leisure in one of Australia’s most well balanced cities.

Final thoughts

As you plan your move to Canberra, remember this city offers more than just a seat of government; it's a place of community, culture, and natural beauty. It combines the vibrancy of city life with the tranquil countryside, making it a unique setting for starting a new chapter.

Whether you're drawn by the promise of professional opportunities in the public sector, the pursuit of academic excellence, or the allure of a city that prides itself on quality of life, Canberra welcomes you with open arms. Here, you'll find a supportive community ready to embrace newcomers, offering a sense of belonging and connection.

Remember, transitioning to a new city is about exploration and discovery. Take the time to wander through Canberra’s leafy suburbs, indulge in its cultural offerings, and lose yourself in its natural landscapes. Each season brings its own charm and a reminder of why Canberra is not just a place to live but a place to thrive.

As you settle in, let the tips and insights shared here guide you towards a smooth and enjoyable relocation process. Canberra is more than Australia’s capital; it’s a city with a heart, rich in history and forward in thinking. Embrace the journey, and soon you'll find that Canberra doesn’t just feel like a new home—it becomes a part of who you are.

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