Canberra

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Canberra is the purpose built capital city of Australia, located in the Australian Capital Territory in the south-east of New South Wales. It is a planned city, with national monuments, museums, and galleries all built around large man-made lakes. A bush capital - Canberra is also a great place to enjoy the outdoors, with excellent cycling, gardens, parks, bushwalking and nature reserves.

Understand[edit]

Parliament House in Canberra

History[edit]

Canberra was established in 1913 as the capital for the newly federated Australian nation - this brought the rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne for national capital status to an end, after Melbourne had been the capital for the previous 12 years. The Australian Capital Territory was excised from New South Wales, and put under the control of the federal government. The artificial creation of the city was not without critics - cynics have said that it was a "waste of a good sheep pasture".

Canberra is a highly planned city, its primary design conceived by the American architect Walter Burley Griffin, built on the shores of an artificial lake (Lake Burley Griffin). Populated at first largely by politicians and public servants, it took time to develop its own identity and culture. Extensive building of national facilities and a concerted effort to develop public institutions in the city have made it an interesting destination.

Geography[edit]

Hot air balloons flying over the Parliamentary Triangle

Lake Burley Griffin divides central Canberra. The central shopping and commercial area, known as "Civic", on the north side and the parliamentary triangle and embassy area is on the south side. National institutions are likewise divided, examples being the National Museum of Australia and the Australian War Memorial on the north side and the National Library and National Gallery of Australia on the south side.

There are suburbs surrounding central Canberra, and also suburbs surrounding several outlying town centres. These town centres are, Belconnen and Gungahlin to the north, and Molonglo Valley, Tuggeranong and Woden to the south. The ACT also has surrounding towns, such as Murrumbateman, which boasts a strong cool climate wine selection. The historic villages of Hall and Tharwa are also on the outskirts of Canberra.

It has a population of about 350,000 people (400,000 including adjoining Queanbeyan).

Time[edit]

Australian Capital Territory follows the same time as New South Wales that surrounds it. It is 10 hours ahead of GMT (UTC+10) and 11 hours ahead (UTC+11) during daylight saving (first Sunday in October and ends the first Sunday in April).

People[edit]

Many people who live in Canberra are not originally from Canberra, having usually moved there to study or take up employment with the Australian Government. A common pattern is that people from other parts of Australia move to Canberra, study or work for a few years and then return to their place of origin or move on to elsewhere. As this means a constant influx of new arrivals to Canberra, you should not be reluctant to ask for directions and the like from locals - they are more than used to it and usually only too happy to help.

Canberrans on the whole are easygoing, friendly and tolerant people who have the highest levels of education and income in Australia.

Ethnically, Canberra's population is more diverse than most regional areas of Australia.

Climate[edit]

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 28.5 27.1 24.5 20.0 15.6 12.3 11.4 13.0 16.2 19.4 22.7 26.1
Nightly lows (°C) 13.2 13.1 10.7 6.7 3.2 1.0 -0.1 1.0 3.3 6.1 8.8 11.4
Precipitation (mm) 58 56 50 46 44 40 41 46 52 62 64 53

Source: Bureau of Meterology. 1939-2010 average.

Canberra can get just as hot as anywhere else in Australia during the summer months, with temperatures above 30°C a frequent occurrence from December through to March. It can get bitterly cold during the winter months (June–August) owing to its altitude and proximity to the Snowy Mountains. Overnight temperatures in winter frequently drop below zero and tend to hover slightly above 10°C during the day. However, it is usually a clear, brisk cold, and rarely a dull, damp cold. It almost never snows in Canberra, because the below freezing temperatures (at night) coincide with clear skies. Most Canberrans believe that late Autumn (mid-April to May) has the city's best weather.

Canberra is less humid than Australian coastal cities. The hottest days are often mitigated by welcome, cooling, mountain breezes, particularly towards the end of the day, and the temperature drops overnight. It's generally a good idea to bring a light pullover or coat when visiting in Summer as the nights can be surprisingly cool.

Visitors Centre[edit]

  • Canberra and Region Visitors Centre330 Northbourne Avenue, Dickson ACT +61 2 6205 0044, toll-free: 1300 554 114, e-mail: . 9AM-5PM weekdays; 9AM-4PM weekends and public holidays. The ACT Government operates a comprehensive visitors centre on Northbourne Avenue, the main road from Sydney into Canberra. It provides information on attractions in Canberra, and staff can book accommodation as well as tickets to local events.
  • A small Tourist Information booth is also set up in Garema Place in Civic during the warmer months. During the 2013-14 summer it is located next to the merry-go-round outside the David Jones entrance to the Canberra Centre.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

A Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800 at Canberra Airport

Canberra Airport (IATA: CBR) is well served by flights from other major cities in Australia. There are flights almost hourly to Sydney and frequent flights to Melbourne, while others may see only a morning and evening flights. A flight from Sydney to Canberra only saves an hour or so over driving from Sydney and for those who are not coming from an area close to Sydney Airport, air travel offers only a marginal time saving.

Canberra airport is often affected by fog in the mornings from late Autumn until early Spring, and this can cause extensive delays or cancellations. Many Canberrans avoid flights leaving or arriving at the airport during mornings at this time of year, and travellers will probably want to do the same. Aircraft parked at the airport overnight can generally fly out through fog, so the first departures of the day are normally unaffected. However, arrivals and subsequent departures can be greatly delayed. When fogs occur they typically lift by about 10:00. The airport has advice on what to do in the event of fog on its website here.

The following airlines fly to Canberra daily:

Jetstar and Tiger Airways do not serve Canberra Airport.

Flight time is 50 minutes from Sydney, 1 hour from Melbourne, 2 hours from Brisbane and Adelaide, and 4 hours from Perth.

Canberra airport terminals are new. Waiting and baggage collection areas are enclosed, and aerobridges are used for jet flights. Facilities are typical for a regional airport of this size: a café outside security. Past security, there are food outlets (but no fast food chains), café, a bookshop. Both Qantas and Virgin have lounges. There is an ATM in the arrivals hall. Bring a good book if you have any amount of time to spend here.

As there are no international flights to Canberra Airport, international travellers need to transit at an international airport: e.g. Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Gold Coast/Brisbane, Darwin. At Sydney Airport a transfer is required between the Sydney Domestic and International terminals. This transfer may be provided by your airline; otherwise, there is a fee.

Alternatively, Greyhound and Murrays provide non-stop coach services between Canberra and Sydney International Terminal Airport, taking around 3.5 hours.

Getting to and from the airport[edit]

The Royale Group runs a shuttle which costs $10 one way to/from Civic. Frequency is 30–60 minutes, the ride takes 20–30 minutes and it operates daily 07:00-18:00 (reduced frequency on weekends).

No public bus service runs directly to or from the airport. For an ultra-budget option, ACTION buses service the adjacent Brindabella Business Park. The closest ACTION bus stop (number 3471) is along Brindabella Circuit 500 metres walk away, and there is no shelter en route or at the stop itself.

Only a very limited number of buses stop there, and there is only service on weekdays. Bus 10 travels to/from Belconnen via Civic, every 30 minutes. These take 30 minutes between Civic and the Airport, and less than one hour between Belconnen and the Airport. Aside from Bus #10, some express buses reach that stop from the suburbs (bus 28, 737, 757, 787) but only 06:30-08:00 (the bus caters for office workers). Tickets are $4.20, including a transfer. To catch Bus 10 from Civic to the airport, check the timetable to ensure the bus does go to Brindabella Business Park (some don’t), wait at Platform 7 in Civic Bus Station, and expect a 30 minute trip.

Taxis are available in front of the terminal, and cost $25 to Civic.

Several car rental services have kiosks in the Arrival Hall. Internationally known and reputable companies like Budget Car Hire, Thrifty, Hertz, RedSpot, Avis, and Europcar are available. When returning car rentals, there is a Caltex petrol station adjacent to the terminal.

It is possible to use Canberra's off-road cycleway network to reach the airport. Follow the cycleway along the north side of the lake. A section of cycleway was recently completed alongside the Molonglo River underneath the Monaro Highway Bridge which veers left and passes underneath the Pialligo Avenue bridges. Turn right, cross the creek (beware of the gravel surface at this point), cross over Fairbairn Avenue, use the airport service road through the airport precinct, and make your way to the terminal.

There are ample-sized covered and uncovered car parks within walking distance of the terminal. The uncovered car park is cheaper. Expect to pay $20–25 per day, with special weekend rates.

For arriving passengers expecting a pick up, the pick up area is in the closest uncovered car park 100 m from the terminal exit. Private cars have a 10-minute grace period to enter and leave that area. Close by, there is a Caltex station/Subway Restaurant with limited parking spaces where cars can wait. Majura Park Shopping Centre [1] which includes a Woolworths, Big W, Costco, and other stores has ample free parking, is only a short drive away, and the car park offers a good view of landing planes.

By train[edit]

The NSW Trainlink Xplorer at Sydney before leaving for Canberra via the Southern Highlands and the scenic Molonglo Gorge

NSW Trainlink runs services from Sydney to Canberra twice a day. The trip takes just over 4 hours, which is slower than a bus or driving, but the train takes a very scenic route through the Southern Highlands and the Molongolo Gorge, compared to an unexciting freeway journey by road. The train arrives in Kingston on the south side of Canberra, a pleasant 25-30 minute walk from the closest of the attractions on the south side of Lake Burley Griffin. To get to Civic (the Canberra CBD) on the northern side of the lake, however, will require further transport, ACTION buses service the station to Civic every 15 minutes on weekdays (routes 200 and 80) and less frequently on weekends (route 980). Cash fares on ACTION bus services cost $4, but substantial discounts are available to holders of MyWay cards. Taxis meet each train arrival. On some days it is possible to do a day trip by train from Sydney and get 5–6 hours to spend in Canberra. Bicycles must be boxed and checked as luggage on NSW Trainlink services and cost $12.10 per bicycle, and there is room for only three on any train.

The economy train fare is $56 in peak season (the Christmas/New Year period and school holidays) and $40 in off-peak, discounts may be available depending on the day or for advance purchase.

If you are enthusiastic about train travel, are desperate to save money, and you are travelling from Sydney and wish to see Goulburn on the way; the unbooked train service to Goulburn costs $7.80, and the booked train from Sydney costs as little as $11 to join it at Goulburn.

NSW Trainlink also runs a once-daily train/bus between Melbourne and Canberra: the bus runs from the centre of Canberra (City Bus Interchange) via the Barton Highway, Burley Griffin Way and the Olympic Highway to the town of Cootamundra, where travellers switch to the XPT (NSW Trainlink) to Melbourne's Southern Cross Station; tickets cost $91 in off-peak and $107 in peak season.

V/Line runs a competing train/bus service (Canberra Link) between Melbourne and Canberra daily. Coaches depart from the Jolimont Centre coach terminal (across the road from the City Bus Interchange). Services run relatively directly via the Barton and Hume Highways and change for the train at Albury. Tickets cost $46.

V/Line also run a Canberra service to connect with their Melbourne train at Bairnsdale. This service is called Capital Link. Services run twice a week (three times a week during Victorian school holidays). At Bairnsdale a road coach will take you via Orbost, Cann River and Cooma to Canberra, with stops at Canberra Railway Station (Kingston) and the Jolimont Centre (across the road from the City Bus Interchange). Tickets on this service also cost $46.

By bus[edit]

A bus at the Jolimont Centre

All coaches to Canberra terminate at the Jolimont Centre, in the city centre and immediately across the road from the Canberra local bus (ACTION) interchange. The burgers at the Coach station are worth trying, for their sheer size.

Murrays, tel 132251, Murrays operate up to 10 daily express services between Sydney (Central Station) and Canberra with extra services on peak days. They are the main operator on this route. Service takes just over 3 h. They always have $15 fares available on the web, for the early or late services and $18 for some others. Popular services or last-minute booking is around $35. The service is non-stop (with some services via Sydney International Airport). Murrays also run a daily service from Canberra to Wollongong and Canberra to Narooma. The coaches are more cramped than the trains. Seats are unassigned, so it helps to be there early and not to have luggage to go under the bus, as that lets you get on first and secure your window seat. Buses often fill to capacity, and can experience delays due to peak traffic into and out of Sydney, although the non-stop nature means that they have been known to run 10–15 minutes early on a good run.

Greyhound Pioneer, tel 131499, operate a bus service competing with Murray's. Fares seem to be either $15 or $36, so you might get lucky and get a cheap ride. Note that it may not be possible to get the $15 fares when booking a return journey; if so, you probably need to book each leg separately. They also offer a direct service to Melbourne. Greyhound's coach services usually include video entertainment. The Greyhound services have stops which make the service slower than Murrays'.

NSW Trainlink also run daily buses to and from Eden on the South Coast, via Bega and Cooma.

V/Line, tel 13 61 96. V/Line have two services which connect Canberra to Melbourne. The fastest option is a bus from Canberra to Albury with a connecting train to Melbourne. This takes around 8 hours. The more scenic option is to travel to Melbourne via Cooma, Sale and Bairnsdale. Likewise, this service connects with a train at Bairnsdale allowing you to continue your journey southwest towards Melbourne.

By car[edit]

The drive from Sydney to Canberra is 290 km and takes around three and a half hours from the Sydney CBD, less from outer suburbs in Sydney. The road is dual-carriageway, freeway-like conditions from the Harbour Bridge all the way to Canberra, mostly with a 110 km/h speed limit, via the M5 Motorway, Hume and Federal Highways. There are three sets of on-road services located on the Hume Highway between Sydney and the turn-off to the Federal Highway to Canberra, as well as many well-maintained and often scenic rest stops with toilets and picnic tables ideal for a picnic. Take drinks, as the rest areas have no water, or tank water which is not recommended for drinking. A third option which will enable you to see more of the countryside is to stop at one of the small towns in the Southern Highlands on the way, all of which boast many cafes and restaurants.

It is rare to make the entire trip between Canberra and Sydney without at least one police speed trap. The city of Goulburn, on the way to Canberra, is the training centre for New South Wales police officers and often send new recruits to run speed checks on the freeway. There are also several fixed speed traps, all of which are signposted in advance.

The drive from Melbourne to Canberra is 650 km and takes roughly eight hours on the Hume and Barton Highways, again mostly on dual-carriageway roads. A great alternate driving route uses the Monaro Highway and travels through interesting terrain in the Snowy Mountains.

Get around[edit]

Canberra is a car-centric city with excellent roads, and tourists who want to travel away from Civic and the main tourist attractions are generally better off hiring a car than relying on the infrequent, though generally reliable, bus services.

By bus[edit]

ACTION Buses[edit]

ACTION buses cover the majority of Canberra, with reduced services on weekends/public holidays.

ACTION buses are Canberra's only form of public transport

Fares are $4.20 for adults and $2.10 for concessions (have your student or concession card ready to show the driver. For international students, it's always good to have an ISIC Card because many drivers—although not strictly supposed to—will accept these). An all day ticket costs $8 for adults and $4 for concessions.

If spending more than $20 on tickets, consider purchasing a MyWay stored value card [2], which is more convenient, and offers discounts on travel. Value can be added onto the card [3], but there are no refunds. Apply for concession fares at a MyWay agent [4]. e.g. ANU students need to do so at the ANU Union annually.

The inter-town routes (the Blue Rapid and Red Rapid) are frequent, reliable, have fewer stops and travel quickly between interchanges. They also can be crowded during peak times. The Blue Rapid is referred to as the 300 series[5] and includes 300, 312, 313, 314, 315, 318 or 319. On weekends, it runs as the 900 series, on a different time table. These services are not of much use to tourists, however, as they do not pass any attractions. Route 200 [6] runs from Civic to near the Australian War Memorial and the Parliamentary Triangle every 15 minutes. Routes 2 and 3 stop at Parliament House and the other main attractions in the Parliamentary Triangle. ACTION maintains a useful list of the services to the main tourist attractions on its website [7].

Other services are less frequent, even less-so during off-peak and weekends. Some meander slowly through suburbs. Check routes and timetables carefully on the ACTION website. It's generally a good idea to arrive at suburban bus stops 5–10 minutes before the bus is due during the middle of the day and in the evening as they often run fast.

During weekends, there is easy parking at Woden, Belconnen and Tuggeranong car parks, which makes the Blue Rapid a good alternative to parking in Civic. During weekdays, a Park and Ride permit [8] is required. ACTION often provides free one-off services from city centres to major events e.g. between Belconnen/Woden etc. to show days, Skyfire, sporting events, Floriade or the Arboretum. These are announced on the ACTION website and through social media.

Bicycle cages along the inter-town routes can be used without additional charge. However, they are only available to registered MyWay card users, who have further applied for access to individual cages [9].

Users can plan ACTION bus trips on Google Maps. In addition, various smartphone apps display the same data in different formats. e.g. TransitTimes+[10].

Tips for riding the buses:

  • The rear doors only open at bus interchanges and busy bus stops.
  • If you need to change buses to get somewhere, ask for a transfer ticket; it'll let you on to as many buses as you need within 90 minutes of getting on the first bus.
  • Tell the driver where you need to get to (and how quickly if that's important) and ask them what your options are. Some buses snake through the suburbs and can take a while to cover a relatively short distance while others may be more direct or express services.
  • Buses do not operate after 7PM on Sundays and public holidays. They do not operate overnight, after midnight or before 5AM. There is however a 'flexibus' or 'nightrider' system with certain routes running at these times—for a flat fare of $10—that operates on weekends in early summer, but not throughout the year.
  • Many buses (including inter-town routes) have a bicycle rack attached in front.
  • If using a MyWay card, remember to tag off before alighting.
Canberra City Explorer[edit]
  • Canberra City Explorer 02 9567 8400. The Canberra City Explorer bus provides a hop-on hop-off service of the main attractions in the Parliamentary Triangle as well as the National Museum of Australia and the Australian War Memorial. It's not part of the ACTION public transport system, and tickets need to be purchased on board the bus or from the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre.

By bike[edit]

A bike path near Lake Tuggeranong

Bicycles are a practical way to get around Canberra while visiting, and will get you to most attractions using a well developed network of off-road cycle paths. Visitors can rent bicycles from several businesses, including Row 'n' Ride and Mr Spokes. There are also several bicycle shops along Lonsdale Street just north of Civic.

Canberra also has generally well developed on-road cycle facilities but the on-road cycle lanes sometimes end and start in utterly inexplicable places.

The attractions around the lake are accessible on fairly flat paths, and hilly segments are short. Attractions which involve “mountains” e.g. Mount Ainslie, Black Mountain, the Arboretum or the Stromlo Observatory will obviously have steep access. However, travel from the Civic towards Belconnen or Canberra University is mainly uphill. Pedal Power [11] has a list of commuter and other routes. Bicycles are permitted on footpaths in the ACT (except when passing shops during trading hours).

There are bike racks to lock your bike up at most shopping centres and points of interest. Bike helmets are compulsory.

Most ACTION buses have front bike racks which can carry 2 bicycles at no additional cost. The bike racks have clips, so no additional equipment is necessary. Only 20" tyres or larger bikes are carried. Kids must be accompanied by adults, and child seats and other accessories must be removed from the bike.

A new bicycle map is available online [12]. Openstreetmap shows cycle paths and water fountains [13]. Some books which feature local rides are Cycling Around Canberra by Bruce Ashley, and Where To Ride Canberra by Bicycling Australia.

By car[edit]

Town Centre?

Drivers are often confused by the many signs around Canberra that direct you to the "Town Centre". The unanswered question that the sign poses, is "Which Town?". The city centre, also known as "Civic", is its own centre, but the other Canberra "towns" are Belconnen and Gungahlin (to the north of the lake), and Woden, Weston Creek, Molonglo and Tuggeranong (to the south). Each of these towns has its own suburbs. You will see signs directing you to each of these towns, but once you get closer the sign will simply direct you to the "town centre". You need to know which town you are in for the sign to make sense.

The major car rental agencies have offices in Civic and at the airport.

Canberra roads are generally of excellent quality and relatively uncongested.

Most of the major attractions provide free parking. During working hours high demand, from both visitors and employees, can see parking spaces very limited in the Parliamentary Triangle (which contains the National Library, Questacon, Old Parliament House, National Gallery, Commonwealth Place etc.).

The default speed limit on all roads in the ACT is 50 km/h, unless signposted otherwise. Major roads in the ACT have speed limits between 60 and 100 km/h. Occasionally, the same road has a different speed limit for traffic heading in opposite directions. The ACT also has the highest number of speed cameras per capita in Australia. Fixed speed cameras have warning signs in advance via overt signage; red light/speed cameras have much smaller warning signs, usually not coupled with a sign reminding of the speed limit. Mobile speed camera vans operate in the ACT (typically, but not always, on major roads); these may be overtly or covertly parked, and are identified by a large white sign on the roof.

40 km/h school zones are active throughout the school day (unlike surrounding New South Wales where they only operate for an hour or two at the beginning and end of the school day). School zones are rigorously policed.

The main shopping and commercial area of Canberra is known as Civic, but you will never see a signpost to Civic. It is signposted as "City".

Take change for parking meters in Civic if you want to park on the streets, or in the government parking lots. Parking in the town centres is difficult on weekdays. It is also difficult to park at night in Civic. There are several multi-level carparks near the Canberra Centre with ticket pay-stations and pay-booths. Note that all day parking in the Canberra Centre is cheaper on the rooftop level. You will need to collect a parking entry ticket from the first boom gate and then feed the ticket into the second boom gate as you enter the rooftop level.

Petrol/fuel. There are few fuel stations on the main roads; instead they tend to be located near local shops, off the main roads. Look for the small blue fuel pump signs pointing off the main roads. Start looking well before you run too low. There are several petrol stations just east of Northbourne Avenue at Civic. Petrol is also more expensive in Canberra than Sydney.

See[edit]

Museums and other institutions[edit]

City area - North of Lake Burley Griffin[edit]

The National Museum of Australia
  • Australian National Botanic Gardens. Located at the base of Black Mountain in Acton, the ANBG has the largest collection of Australian native flora in the country. It also has some interesting water dragons that live in the water features around the gardens. A delightful place for a picnic, try to grab some food from the city centre first to take with you for lunch. If you are there during summer, call and ask about the jazz evenings. These are held on the weekend and many families attend with evening picnic and champagne in tow, to chill out to the sounds of jazz in the balmy evening temperatures. Entry is free, however parking is $1.40/hr or $7 all day at ticket machines, with proceeds going towards the gardens.
  • Australian War Memorial, Treloar Crescent (top of ANZAC Parade, at the other end from Parliament House), ph +61 2 6243-4211 or +61 2 6243-4598 (for recorded information), fax +61 2 6243 4325, [14]. Daily 10AM-5PM. Not just a memorial, this is one of Australia's premier museums, covering Australian military history from Federation to the present day and including fascinating exhibits of equipment, memorabilia and battle dioramas. You could easily spend a full day here (it has a café, or bring a picnic lunch if the weather is nice and sit on the lawns at the front). Anzac Parade, leading up to the War Memorial has a number of memorials to different wars and those involved in wars. Free entry, allow 4–7 hours. The AWM opens its large storage warehouse in the industrial suburb of Mitchell to the public once every few years (usually in September or October), and this is a must-see event for people interested in military history.
  • Canberra Museum and GalleryCnr London Circuit & Civic Square, Civic. Tue-Fri 10AM-5PM; Sat-Sun 12PM-5PM. A museum and art gallery featuring works and exhibits of the local region. Also features the Sydney Nolan Collection - the works of Sir Sydney Nolan, a famous Australian artist. Free.
  • CSIRO Discovery CentreNorth Science Road, Acton (Entry via Clunies Ross Street and Julius Road. Adjacent to the ANU and National Botanic Gardens.),  02 6246 4646, e-mail: . The museum of the Australian Government's scientific research organisation includes exhibits on the history of Australian science and the CSIRO's current research Free.
  • Drill Hall Gallery +61 2 6125 5832. Kingsley Street Acton. Open 12-5PM Wednesday to Sunday. This small gallery operated by the Australian National University hosts interesting and well-selected temporary exhibitions of Australian and international contemporary art. One of Sir Sydney Nolan's best works, Riverbend, is on permanent display at the rear of the building. Free.
  • National Capital Exhibition. Barine Dr ( in Commonwealth Park (off Commonwealth Avenue)), open 9-5 Mon-Fri, 10-4 Sat-Sun. See an exhibition about the original Burley Griffin Plan for Canberra and how the city was planned and built. Good views over Lake Burley Griffin out to the museums on the Lake's south shore. Free.
  • National Film & Sound Archive, McCoy Circuit, Acton, ph +61 6248 2000, [15]. A unique collection of Australian sound and film recordings of which a small selection showing iconic moments in Australia's cultural history is explored in this museum. It also hosts the Arc Cinema [16] with regular showings of movies from all over the world and covering the entire history of film to the modern day.
  • National Museum of Australia +61 2 6208-5000fax: +61 2 6208-5099. Lawson Crescent. This museum presents a thematic rather than a chronological account of Australian history, and spent its early years embroiled in a controversy over whether its displays were politically biased. The NMA has recently been revamped and expanded and includes some excellent galleries on Indigenous Australia and many interesting items, but the museum as a whole is somewhat underwhelming and not likely to be of much interest to non-Australians. Free admission except for special exhibits. Allow 2–7 hours.

Parliamentary triangle - South of Lake Burley Griffin[edit]

The National Portrait Gallery
Old Parliament House
  • High Court of Australia. Parkes Place, Parkes, 9:45-4:30 Mon-Fri (not open weekends or public holidays). This vast building is the home of Australia's highest court and contains a vast lobby and three main courtrooms that are open to the public. Tours are available, though restricted when the court is sitting. There is a cafeteria in the building as well.
  • National Archives of Australia +61 2 621203900. Queen Victoria Terrace, Parkes. 9AM-5PM. Includes a small, but interesting, permanent exhibition of historically important documents as well as temporary exhibitions often focused on contemporary issues. The Queen Victoria Terrace building also houses one of the NAA's main reading rooms.
  • National Gallery of Australia +61 2 6240-6502. Parkes Place, Parkes. 10AM–5PM. Located by Lake Burley Griffin, this modern structure is one of the country's largest art galleries. It has a vast collection of paintings and sculptures collected from Australia and the rest of the world and has excellent Aboriginal artwork. A nice gift store and a large bookstore on the ground level. Free except for special exhibits. The Gallery offers free public one-hour tours: Australian and International art at 11AM and 2PM daily, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at 11AM on Thursdays and Sundays. Allow at least half a day and possibly more.
  • National Library of Australia +61 2 6262-1111fax: +61 2 6257-1703. King. The library is primarily a research centre, but houses a permanent display of historically significant items as well as temporary exhibitions showing parts of the collection. Also notable for its neo-classical architecture. The library is adjacent to Commonwealth Avenue Bridge on the southern side of Lake Burley Griffin near the National Gallery of Australia and Questacon, and is a short walk from a bus stop on the Inter-Town route. It is open 9AM-9PM Monday-Thursday, 9AM-5PM Friday-Saturday and 1:30PM-5PM on Sundays.
  •    National Portrait GalleryKing Edward Terrace, Parkes (adjacent to High Court and National Gallery of Australia),  +61 2 6102-7000. 10AM-5PM, except Christmas Day. The Gallery opened to the public on the 4 December 2008, and displays some 400 portraits of people who have shaped and who continue to shape the nation. There are gallery spaces for the collection and temporary exhibitions, public areas including a café, shop, function room, theatrette, education and school group areas, and basement car parking. Portraits are in various media, depending on the era. Galleries are themed by era. The web site gives a good idea of the content. free except for major exhibitions.
  • Old Parliament House (featuring the Museum of Australian Democracy), King George Terrace, Parkes ph +61 2 6270-8222, fax +61 2 6270-8111, [17] [18]. The headquarters of Australian government from the 1920s to 1988, this building is a must for political and/or historical junkies. The building gives a real feel of what it was like when it was in use and has in the past regularly featured rotating exhibitions on the controversies and scandals that rocked Australian politics. It is now a permanent museum. Most of the main rooms - the Prime Minister's office, the Cabinet Room, the various party rooms, the two houses - are open to visitors, as are many smaller rooms like the whips' offices and the broadcasting area. There are also historical photos of Canberra as it used to be, including the times prior to the creation of the artificial lake that show Canberra under snow during winter (the lake warmed up the city and snow falls rarely on the city now). The gift store has decent souvenirs. Parking is free, admission is A$2 for adults, A$1 concession. Allow 2–3 hours.
  • Parliament House of Australia. Capital Hill, ph +61 2 6277-5399 or +61 2 6277-2727 (for recorded information). The seat of Australia's federal government and legislature and a remarkable piece of modern architecture. Outside, the forecourt faces Federation Mall and has iconic views. Much of the inside is open to the public during business hours (your bags are x-rayed and persons pass through a metal detector at the entrance). When inside the building, do not miss: Queens Terrace upstairs towards the forecourt, and the roof (via an elevator close to walkway to the House of Representatives). Various art, including portraits of past prime ministers are hung in the hallways. Enthusiastic guides perform free tours daily at 10AM, 1PM and 3PM (no booking required). Tours are shorter when Parliament is sitting as the chambers are occupied.
    • Parliament sittings. On sitting days, you are allowed to view proceedings in the public gallery from 2PM onwards. Your belongings, including electronic items will be cloaked, and a secondary security check is required. No further arrangement is needed to sit in the Senate chamber public gallery. To view Question Time from the House of Representatives galleries, preferably book your free seat by calling the Serjeant-at-arms on 62774889 before 12:30PM. Expect queues to collect tickets, during the secondary checks, and then while waiting for sessions to begin. Consider bringing a small book to read during the wait. Members of the public can also observe hearings conducted by the parliament's various committees. Allow 2–3 hours. On-site parking can be limited when parliament is sitting.
    • Gardens. Back outside, the Formal Gardens are east of the main building. This is a small, tranquil green space, with flowers in warmer seasons, artwork, and the Bali Memorial. Here, or Queens Terrace, or the Parliament House roof, the lower slopes up the sides of Parliament House, or Federation Mall are nice places to take a breather. To explore the grounds further, feel free to walk (or ride) along tracks (within Capital Circle) both east and west of Parliament House in cool shade. Find the entrances along the corners of Parliament Drive. Another shady track runs along the base of Capital Hill (between Capital Circle and State Circle). Find this track midway down the access road to Kings Avenue, on the right side, and proceed clockwise. You can exit the track at any point along the length, and the other end is close to Surveyors Park. If in Canberra when Floriade is held, there are additional tours of the Parliament House gardens.
  •    Questacon (The National Science and Technology Centre), King Edward Terrace, Parkes +61 2 6270-2800, toll-free: 1800 020 603. 9AM-5PM. Questacon is an interactive museum of science with exhibits illustrating scientific ideas from the principles of physics to the motion of an earthquake. Great for kids and excellent science books can be picked up here. Allow at least half a day. $15.50 adults, $10.50 concessions, $9 children, and $46 for a family of 2 adults and 3 children..

In the suburbs[edit]

Chinese Embassy
  • Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), Leverrier Crescent, Bruce +61 2 6214-1111fax: +61 2 6251-2680. The AIS runs tours a couple of times a day. The tours are usually run by in-residence athletes. See the training areas and find out about the development and strategy of the facility. At the end of the tour there are interactive exhibits to try various sports. The pool here is open for public access during certain hours. $15.
  • Canberra Reptile SanctuaryO'Hanlon Place, Gold Creek Village, Nicholls (Located about 13km north of City via the Barton Hwy),  +61 2 6253-8533. Daily 10AM-5PM.. Adults $7.50, children $6, concession $7, family tickets (2 adults & 3 or more children) $29, discounts available for group bookings.
  • Cockington Green11 Gold Creek Road, Gold Creek Village, Nicholls (Located about 13km north of the City via the Barton Hwy),  +61 2 6230 2273fax: +61 2 6230 2490, e-mail: . Daily 9:30AM-5PM. One of Canberra's most well-known attractions, a miniature display village featuring a traditional English village and international display. Train rides and tea room also available. Adults $17.50 Children $9.50 Family $49 Seniors $12.50.
  • Embassies. As the national capital, Canberra hosts the embassies of most countries, listed below in Embassies. Most of the embassies are built in an architectural style typical of that particular country. In Yarralumla (the closest embassy district to the city), the Embassy of China, Embassy of Papua New Guinea and, The Royal Thai Embassy are particularly worth a look. The Embassy of the United States of America is also worth a drive past, being the oldest embassy in Canberra. It is best to have a car or bicycle for touring so you can stop and have a look around. Several of the embassies hold annual open days on weekends in Spring and Autumn which usually include stalls serving their native food.
  • Government House (Yarralumla), viewing platform off Lady Denman Drive, Yarralumla. The main official residence of the Governor-General of Australia, representative of Queen Elizabeth II in Australia. Closed to the public except for open days, which take place approximately twice a year. There is a viewing platform off the Lady Denman Drive, or glimpses can be seen from the main gate at Dunrossil Drive, Yarralumla, or Weston Park, Yarralumla. Often kangaroos are to be spotted munching grass on the lawns, so be careful driving along the ride that gets to the viewpoint, especially at dusk.
  • The LodgeAdelaide Avenue, Deakin. The Prime Minister's official residence. Generally closed to the public and one can only see part of the garden from behind the wall. There are open days about once a year and if you are lucky to be in Canberra then, it shouldn't be missed.
  • National ArboretumForest Drive (Turn off the Tuggeranong Parkway near the National Zoo and Aquarium or take Lady Denman Drive from Acton or Woden),  +61 13 22 81, e-mail: . 6AM-8:30PM during daylight savings, 7AM-5:30PM during non-daylight savings. The National Arboretum opened in February 2013 as part of the celebrations of Canberra's centenary. While the plants still need time to grow, the site has good views over Lake Burley Griffin. Free.
  • National Dinosaur MuseumCnr Gold Creek Road and Barton Highway, Gold Creek Village, Nicholls (Located about 13km north of the City via the Barton Hwy),  +61 2 6230-2655fax: +61 2 6230 2357. Mon-Thur, Sat-Sun 10AM-5PM. The largest collection of dinosaur and prehistoric fossil material in Australia. Adults $11.50, children $8.50, concession $9.50, senior $8.50, family $38.00 (2 adults 2 children or 1 adult 3 children, extra children $4.00).
  • Royal Australian Mint +61 2 6202-6999fax: +61 2 6202 6953. 9AM-4PM Mon-Fri, 10AM-4PM Sat, Sun, Public Holidays. . Take a tour of the mint and see how coins are made. You will even get the chance to mint your own souvenir coin. Look for the pudding coins as a souvenir (not always available). Allow 1–2 hours. Free.
  • Scrivener DamLady Denman Drive (Adjacent to the National Zoo and Aquarium). This small dam across the Molonglo River was completed in 1963 in order to create Lake Burley Griffin. A viewing platform is located off Lady Denman Drive near the eastern edge of the dam.

City Scenery[edit]

Black Mountain Tower
  • Black Mountain Tower (Telstra Tower), Black Mountain Drive, Acton (5 km from the city centre),  +61 2 6219-6111fax: +61 2 6257-6600. Open daily 9AM-10PM. This functional communications tower rises 195 m above the summit of Black Mountain, providing 360 degree views of Canberra and the countryside around it from a viewing platform 60m up the tower. Well worth a visit, day or night, for the fantastic views - look for the cork tree plantation and Parliament House. It has a revolving restaurant and telecommunications history display. Above the restaurant there is a two level viewing platform: the bottom level is indoor and has a souvenir shop and refreshments; the upper level is an open air area. Its a nice view, but the mountain is already already 260m above the lake, and the viewing platform is only another 60m above the mountain. You can decide if that is worth the price of admission. $7.50 adult, $3 aged pensioner, $3 child 4-16 yrs, free for children under 4 years; a family pass (2 adults, 2 children) costs $17..
  • Other Lookouts - Canberra is surrounded by hills and there are plenty of other great vantage points to view the city. Many of these you can also drive to the top. The best vantage points are:
    • Mount Ainslie (off Fairbairn Avenue, Campbell/Forrest) - vehicular access available. Otherwise, you can walk up a track beginning from the Australian War Memorial.
    • Mount Pleasant (via General Bridges Drive, Duntroon) - vehicular access available between 7AM and 7PM. A good site to visit after Mount Ainslie. A short drive from either Mount Ainslie peak, or the War Memorial. Drive will take you through a military academy. And the view will include Russell Offices, the Australian-American Memorial, and also a wonderful view along the length of the lake.
    • Red Hill (off Melbourne Avenue, Deakin/Forrest) - vehicular access available
    • Dairy Farmers Hill (access via Forrest Drive within the National Arboretum) - spectacular views looking east along the length of Lake Burley Griffen.
    • Mount Majura (access via Antill St in Watson, also service road off Majura Road) - no vehicular access, walking tracks only.
    • Mount Taylor (access via Waldock St, Chifley) - partial vehicular access; to reach the top you will need to walk.
  • Kangaroos in the wild Kangaroos are common throughout Canberra's nature reserves, and often venture into the suburbs. They occasionally penetrate into Civic, and hop down Northborne Avenue from time to time. Good spots to see kangaroos include the Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve near Civic, the Farrer Ridge Nature Reserve between Woden and Tuggeranong and the Pinnacle Nature Reserve near Hawker.

Historic buildings[edit]

The Shine Dome

As the development of Canberra didn't take off until the 1950s, the city has few noteworthy historic buildings. In addition to those which host major national institutions described elsewhere, the following buildings are considered historically significant:

  • Blundell's Cottage. A historic cottage of some of the earliest settlers of the area. Guided tours and school tours available. $7 adults $5 concession $15 family.
  • Calthorpe's House24 Mugga Way, Red Hill. Sat and Sun 1PM-4PM. Historic house picturing life in Canberra in the early days of the territory. $7 Adult $5 Concession $15 Family. Note a three site pass covers here, Lanyon (near Tharwa, see below) and Mugga Mugga in Symanston (see the website)..
  • Manuka PoolNew South Wales Crescent, Griffith +61 2 6295 1910. Open from late October until mid-March. This swimming pool was built in art deco style and opened in 1930.
  • Royal Military College - DuntroonStaff Cadet Ave, Campbell (Enter from Morshead Drive or Fairbairn Avenue). The Australian Army's officer training college was established in 1911 and is one of the oldest institutions in Canberra. Duntroon is open to the public and includes a number of historic buildings (though it is generally not possible to enter them as they remain in use). A chapel built by Australian prisoners of war being held in harsh conditions at Changi in Singapore during the Second World War has also been relocated to Duntroon, and is located halfway along Miles Road. Free.
  • Shine DomeGordon Street, Acton (Across the road from the National Film & Sound Archive),  +61 2 6201 9400. This unusual dome-shaped building owned by the Australian Academy of Science has been a Canberra landmark since the late 1950s, and is nicknamed the 'martian embassy' by locals.
  • St John the Baptist Church45 Constitution Avenue, Reid +61 2 6248 8399. Consecrated in 1845, this Anglican church is the oldest church in Canberra and pre-dates the establishment of the city by almost 70 years. It has a small museum.
  • Sydney and Melbourne buildingsCorner of London Circuit and Northbourne Avenue, Civic (The Sydney Building is on the east side of Northbourne Avenue, and the Melbourne Building is on the west side). These two large buildings in the centre of Civic were the first commercially-funded buildings in Canberra, and have been important local landmarks since the 1920s. Both buildings are surrounded by loggias modeled on those of buildings in Florence, Italy. They are currently occupied by a mix of restaurants (most of which are quite good), nightclubs, pubs and small businesses, but much of the Sydney Building is in a fairly poor state of repair. Plans to revivalise the buildings are regularly proposed, but never go far.

Events[edit]

Canberra Floriade occurs during the Australian spring
  • Floriade. Festival of flowers, a yearly event held in spring (September–October), not to be missed. Tulips are the main feature but many other colourful flowers and floral displays are featured. There are also sculptures, garden stalls, makeshift restaurants, activities, live music by local performers and sometimes there is even a gnome or scarecrow festival where children (and some adults) paint gnomes or make scarecrows and enter a competition to choose the best. Great for a photo opportunity!
  • Summernats. A festival of modified cars, car cruising, burnouts, etc., which takes place first thing in the new year. If you are not into this culture, this is a good time not to be in Canberra, as even the most civilised hotels are overtaken by drunken 'nats'.
  • The Multicultural Festival. A must to visit, has many events, such as concerts, performances and an International Food Fair with over 200 stalls selling food of different countries. Happens every year in February.
  • Thai Food & Cultural Festival. Annual festival held in September at The Royal Thai Embassy in Yarralumla. The Festival is a bonus for floriade visitors and Canberrans alike and it's the Embassy's biggest free event of the year. Exotic event hall and beautiful court yard with 2 outdoor stages for live performances plus Thai food & beer, "made-in-Thailand" quality products, and fun & games for children. Do not miss this! The Philippines, Sri Lanka and some other embassies do similar events sometimes.
  • Diplomatic Charity Bazaar - held occasionally. Great place to buy original things specific to various countries, sold by staff of the embassies.
  • The National Folk Festival - held every Easter over 5 days, featuring local, national and international folk musicians, dancers and craftspeople.
  • The Canberra show. Held in February featuring shows, amusement park rides and agricultural competitions. Has most of the features of the Sydney Royal Easter Show, but on a smaller scale with less crowds.
  • Canberra Balloon Spectacular. Claimed to be "one of the top three hot air ballooning events in the world", hot air balloons fly over Canberra on most mornings in March. The balloons typically take off from the Parliamentary Triangle, and fly over the lake and centre of the city. The numbers of balloons flying tends to be greatest during early March and on weekends.
  • Check out the Canberra Times [19] newspaper on Saturday for upcoming events.

Country ACT[edit]

Bimberi wilderness, Namadgi National Park, southern ACT

The majority of the Australian Capital Territory is actually not Canberra city and there is a large area of national park. While most people don't spend any time outside of the city there is plenty to do if you want to get away from the museums and attractions for a while.

  • Tharwa Village (via Tharwa Drive, accessible from the Monaro Highway south of Canberra or at the end of the Tuggeranong Parkway). A small village, one of the original settlements in the ACT area. See the old bridge over the Murumbidgee River, visit Lanyon Homestead (see below) and Cuppacumbalong Pottery. Tharwa is also the gateway to Namadgi National Park and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
  • Lanyon HomestedLanyon Drive. Tuesday - Sunday 10AM-4PM. Historic homestead of early Canberra settlers, guided tours, walks and a maintained garden. Cafe for lunch, coffee and cake. Note a three house pass for $15/10/30 covers Lanyon, Calthorpe's House and Mugga Mugga house in Symanston. $7 Adult $5 Concession $15 Family.
  • Namadgi National Park (via Tharwa Road and Naas Road (some parts accesible via Weston Creek, Cotter Dam Road and Brindabella Road further north)). The National Park making up most of the ACT and the most northerly of the Australian Alps national parks. Lots of walking tracks, including scenic views over the Brindabella Ranges, mountain bike trails and scenic drives (on unsealed roads), rock climbing at Booroomba Rocks. Inside the park are Honeysuckle Creek and Orroral Valley, the former sites of tracking sites for the Apollo Moon Landings. Enquire at the visitors centre on Naas Road or see the website for further details. In winter roads in the park may be closed because of snowfall. Free (charges apply for camping).

Do[edit]

Lake Burley Griffin
  • Explore Lake Burley Griffin - on or off the water. You can:
    • Hire a paddle boat, canoe or kayak and mess around on Lake Burley Griffin. Hire is available from:
      • Lake Burley Griffin Boat Hire +61 2 6249-6861. Acton Jetty Acton. (Note: The lake may be closed when algae blooms are significant)
      • Row'n'Ride +61 410 547 838. Canberrra Avenue, Fyshwick.,
    • Alternatively, take a scenic cruise on the lake with Lake Burley Griffin Cruises. Phone 0419 418 846.
    • If you're up for some exercise, you can walk, run, cycle or skate around Lake Burley Griffin. A shared path runs along the edge (the eastern edge at Kingston is interrupted), and the 2 bridges intersect it into 3 “loops”. The Western Loop is 16 km, the Central Loop (“bridge to bridge”) is 3.7 km, and the Eastern Loop is 9 km; visitors can travel along each, or combine them as fitness or time permits. Each segment has its own highlights. The entire circumference is approximately 25 km. Hire is available from:
      • Capital Bicycle Hire +61 412 547 387. Which rents high quality mountain bikes and runs tours around Canberra's extensive bicycle path network and off-road trail system.
      • Mr Spokes Bike HireDrive, Acton. ph 61 2 6257-1188.. Offers a wide range of bikes and has two seated pedal cars (the ones with steering wheels) which can be a lot of fun and great when taking smaller children. There is also a small shop selling high quality gelato and beverages. Plenty of parking near by.
      • Segways. Can be rented close to the lake at Parkes Place.
  • Ride Canberra's Mountain Bike Trails: There are several locations around Canberra to ride mountain bicycles, many of which are considered some of the best in Australia. See Canberra Off Road Cyclists (CORC [20]) for locations. Canberra is also home to the largest 24 hour Mountain Bike Race in the world (Scott 24hr [21]), held in early October each year.
  • Go bush walking: Befitting the term “Bush Capital”, the “bush” is frequently very close to housing areas. e.g. in non-winter months, it’s not uncommon to see families walk through the local nature parks after dinner time. Or for locals to climb up a hill after work before heading home. One of the most popular with visitors is the walk to the lookout atop Mount Ainslie. Others include Cooleman Ridge, Mount Taylor, Oakey Hill, The Pinnacle, Red Hill etc. Territory & Municipal Services lists some sites [22]. Otherwise, CANwalk[23] and ACT Walking for Pleasure have maps, and schedules each week [24].
  • Helpfully between Civic and the War Memorial, walk through the Heritage-listed suburb of Reid. Observe the houses with leafy surrounds, the wide roads, little walking paths and recreation areas, in one of the oldest untouched Canberran suburbs. As (some) locals would say: “as Burley Griffin intended”.
  • Geocaching. Canberra has an incredibly active Geocaching community.
  • Explore Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is about a 40 minute drive south of Canberra via Tuggeranong Parkway and Tharwa Drive. You can take Ranger-guided walks or have fun with the hands on displays such as the interactive computer program on Tidbinbilla's bird species and look at the live animal displays. The gift shop sells an interesting range of clothes, toys, books, cards and souvenirs. Coffee and light refreshments are also available.
  • Go tobogganing in Corin ForestTourist Drive 5 +61 2 6235-7333. Weekends, ACT school & public holidays, 10AM-4PM. This alpine recreation facility features a bobsled ride in summer, and snowplay and tobogganing in winter. It is high enough to receive natural snowfalls. Check the website or call before heading up that the road is open, and that there is snow. Free entry, rides from $7, all day pass $35.
  • See the stars and planets at Mount Stromlo Observatory, Cotter road, Weston Creek. ph +61 2 6125-0230. Mount Stromlo is Australia's premier astronomical observatory. Badly damaged in 2003 bushfires, the partially rebuilt observatory reopened in October 2004. They run a Saturday night star gazing event for the public, call +61 2 6125-0232. The site's damaged buildings and equipment remain and may be fascinating for tourists.
  • Go wine tasting in the Wineries around Canberra (most are outside of the ACT but all very close to Canberra). They are described as cool climate wines and some are very well known and regarded. Try Jeir Creek, Gallagher, Clonakilla and Lark Hill, just to name a few. There are '33 wineries within 35 minutes of Canberra'. Visit the Canberra Wineries website for more information [25].
  • Take a scenic drive into the southern ACT - recommended by locals:
    • Head south to Tharwa, and then take the road to Adaminaby. Take the signed road to Honey Suckle Creek. Very important historical site, this is where the signals from the Apollo 11 space landing were received, and then beamed around the world. Also a nice drive, and a very good camp ground.
    • On the same road, not far off the Adaminaby Road is a walking (Fire ranger) trail to the top of Mount Tennant. About a 5 hour round hike, but worth every step. Go back onto the Adaminaby road, and head south. Another site of a space centre on the right down the road, worth a look, but not as interesting
    • Remaining on the road for another ten kilometers, entering the Namadgi National park, and two hundred meters after a single lane bridge is a signed turn off to Yankee's Hat. This is a four km drive, any car can take it, and look for Kangaroos. Hundreds either side of the road. The walk to Yankee's hat will take you to see aboriginal art.
    • Road to Adaminaby. If you have a robust vehicle, take the road south. The country is magnificent. It takes about an hour from Yankee's hat.
  • Visit the National Zoo and Aquarium999 Lady Denman Drive, Weston Creek ACT 2611. (Take Parkes way and follow directions),  +61 2 62878400. This privately owned zoo and aquarium offers the standard service plus special tours that allow interaction with the animals. The range of tours offers opportunities to interact with animals (feed or touch) including tigers, lions, cheetahs, giraffes, bears, dingos, elands and snakes. The tours are quite special and certainly worth it if you love animals. Make sure that you turn up at the 'Check in time' instead of the start time as the two are different.
  • Molonglo Gorge Recreation Reserve (Molonglo Gorge), Sutton Road Queenbeyan East. Scenic walks, picnics, camping, swimming

Learn[edit]

The John Curtin School of Medical Research at the ANU
  • The Australian National University (ANU) [26] is in the suburb of Acton, bordering the city centre. It is highly regarded internationally and is rated as one of the best universities in the world in the various international rankings. It is also locally known for its expansive green campus which boasts an interesting sculpture collection [27]. The ANU often hosts public talks by Australian and international academic experts and politicians, and includes a small classics museum [28] which is open during weekdays.
  • The University of Canberra (UC) [29] in the suburb of Bruce (about 8 km (5 miles) NW of the CBD). While not as large as the ANU, UC delivers courses across a wide range of subject areas.
  • The Australian International Hotel School (AIHS) [30] awards undergraduate and graduate degrees in business and hospitality fields, and is well regarded internationally.
  • The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) [31], a campus of The University of NSW, provides teaching for military and civilian undergraduates and postgraduates.
  • The Australian Catholic University (ACU) [32] Canberra campus is in the suburb of Watson, currently offers Education, Nursing, Social Work and Theology

As the national capital, Canberra is also home to a number of research-oriented facilities. The National Archives of Australia, Australian War Memorial and National Library of Australia are important research centres, including for people researching their family history. Readers cards are available for free to Australian residents, though the institutions charge for photocopying. The National Museum of Australia, ANU and several government departments also maintain specialised archives and facilities which are available to researchers. The ACT Heritage Library serves as Canberra's state library and administers a collection of items related to the history of the territory.

Buy[edit]

Markets[edit]

  • Canberra Antiques Centrefax: (02) 61623737. Ph/. 10AM-5PM seven days at 37 Townsville Street, Fyshwick. Over a dozen professional dealers, both local and interstate, offer a top variety of antique and retro furniture, funky vintage clothing, vintage fabrics, militaria, numismatics, pottery, vintage needlework tools & accessories, electricals, silver, art glass, quality bric-à-brac and designer items. Well presented with great music playing and a nice vibe throughout.
  • Jamison market - every Sunday near Jamison centre, in Belconnen. Fresh produce stalls and flea market. Come and get your bargain. Vinyl records, second hand clothing, furniture, bric-à-brac.
  • Old Bus Depot Market, every Sunday. Arts and crafts – all of a high standard. Food stalls, including fresh produce and live music. Theme days such as international food held occasionally.
  • Gorman House market - every Saturday in Braddon, just north of the city (easy walk). Crafts, second-hand items, antiques, international food in a lovely, grassy setting.
  • Tuggeranong Market - First Sunday of every month in the lovely Tuggeranong Homestead opposite the Calwell Shops. Lots of stalls, selling amazing stuff.
  • Trash and Treasure Market in Woden is hosted by Rotary and held every Sunday morning. Expect a mixed bag of books, plants, and assorted household junk.
  • Fyshwick Market +61 2 6295-0606. Dalby St (Cnr Mildura St) Fyshwick. - Fresh produce, including fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. Open Thursday to Sunday. Sunday afternoons are a good time to pick up some bargains.
  • Capital Region Farmers Market. EPIC (Well Station Road near Federal Highway, North Canberra) - Saturday mornings 8AM-11AM. Sellers are the producers. Stalls are all food related.
  • Southside Farmers Market. Woden CIT (formerly Woden High School) (Ainsworth Street near Hindmarsh Drive, Phillip) - Sunday mornings 9AM-12PM. Sellers are the producers. Stalls are all food related.
  • Gold Creek VillageBarton Highway, Gungahlin (From the city, take Northbourne avenue to the Barton Highway (left) then follow about 5km to a major roundabout; go straight on about 2km and follow signs to turn right.). shopping hours. This is a 'village' of specialty shops, attractions, hotels (for drinks), coffee shops, a native reptile 'museum', a butterfly enclosure, and garden supplies, in a group of separate buildings in a strip about 1 km long. Locals and visitors alike use the area, especially on weekends.

Shopping centres[edit]

City Walk in winter
  • Canberra Centre. Is a large shopping mall in Civic, covering a large section of the central Canberra shopping district. It has department stores, food hall and eateries, specialty shops for adults and kids fashion both upmarket and basic. There are also electronics, books, CDs, souvenirs and Australian made products.
  • City Walk is an outdoor mall area in Civic. There is alfresco eating and shopping.
  • Belconnen Mall is the name of the enclosed shopping centre owned by Westfield located within the Belconnen Town Centre to the north. Although it does not have as many clothes stores, it features a Myer department store and a K-mart, as well as two supermarkets and a food court. It is located over three levels.
  • Woden Westfield and Tuggeranong Hyperdome are the two major enclosed shopping centres to the south, located within the Woden and Tuggeranong town centres respectively. Woden Plaza features a David Jones department store, a BIG W, two supermarkets, as well as approximately 200 speciality stores and a food court. The Tuggeranong Hyperdome (further south) features a K-mart and a Target, as well as supermarkets and a food court plus speciality clothing stores.
  • Fyshwick is the suburb to shop for appliances and technical stuff, along with furniture and homewares. It is also Canberra's 'red-light' district. Most of Canberra's antique shops and several second hand bookshops can also be found here. Fyshwick also has a DFO - Direct Factory Outlet.

Boutique[edit]

  • Lonsdale Sreet in Braddon (close to Civic) houses a handful of boutiques which specialise in independent clothing labels and other designer objects. Several boutiques are grouped together as the 'Lonsdale Street Traders' [33], and operate out of a converted auto-mechanics workshop. The southern end of Lonsdale Street is also the home to many of Canberra's outdoor clothing and camping stores as well as several bicycle shops.
  • Manuka is another area that has boutiques and restaurants. Millers of Manuka boutique sells leading women's fashion brands like Max Mara and others. For less expensive women's clothing try Witchery. Booklovers would do well to check out Paperchain bookstore.
  • Kingston is yet another shopping and restaurant area not far from Manuka.

Specialty[edit]

Many of the most interesting shopping experiences are at the national institutions, almost all of which have specialist shops inside. The National Gallery has a superb range of art books, both overseas and indigenous. Likewise the National Library, the Questacon Science Museum, the War Memorial, the National Museum at Acton, the Film and Sound Archive, and so on - if you're looking for unique Australian items, these are the places to go.

Bookshops[edit]

While Canberra is a bookish city, it lacks a stand-out bookshop. However, there are several good options:

  • Academic Remainders28 Kembla Street, Fyshwick +61 2 6280 4499. 9AM-5PM Monday to Saturday, 10AM-5PM Sundays and Public Holidays. This unusual bookshop stocks a wide range of discounted books on specialist topics, many of which are rather eccentric (The Complete Chicken Encyclopedia and a large supply of English-Albanian dictionaries, for instance). It also has a smaller branch on City Walk in Civic which focuses on the less-unusual areas of its stock, including a good range of travel books.
  • Alexander Fax BooksellersShop 10, Mawson House, Southlands Shopping Centre, Mawson (Near the post office),  +61 2 6290 0140. Wednesday-Friday: 10:30AM-4PM Saturday 11AM-3PM. Second hand bookshop which specialises in military history.
  • Beyond Q41 Curtin Place, Curtin (Located down a set of stairs near the Coles supermarket),  +61 2 6162 3999. Open 7 days from 9AM-6PM. Large second hand bookshop. Includes a cafe which offers live music in the afternoons on most weekends.
  • The Book GrocerShop 6, 1-11 Kennedy Street, Kingston +61 2 6239 7798. Mon-Tue 10AM-7PM, Wed-Sat 10AM-9PM, Sun 10AM-6PM. Part of a chain which sells heavily discounted copies of recent books.
  • Dymocks CanberraShop CL17 Canberra Centre, Bunda Street, Civic (Located behind the escalators in the Canberra Centre's food court),  +61 2 6257 5057. While part of a fairly unexciting national chain, this branch of Dymocks has a unusually well-chosen stock. Other, and less interesting, Dymocks branches are located in Belconnen Mall and the Tuggeranong Hyperdome.
  • Electric Shadows Bookshop40 Mort Street, Braddon +61 2 6248 8352. Monday to Thursday:9AM-6PM, Friday 9AM-7PM, Saturday 9AM-6PM, Sunday 11AM-4PM. Small independent bookshop which also rents arthouse movies.
  • Gaslight BooksUnit 10, 83 Wollongong Street, Fyshwick +61 2 6239 3633. Thursday and Friday 10AM-5:30PM, Saturday 10AM-3PM. Good range of new and used science fiction, fantasy and crime fiction.
  • National Library of Australia BookshopParkes Place, Parkes +61 2 6262 1424. Not surprisingly, this store stocks an excellent range of recent Australian books.
  • Paperchain Bookstore34 Franklin Street Manuka +61 2 6295 6723. Open seven days from 9AM to late. A medium-sized independent bookstore with a good range. Popular with journalists and politicians.
  • Portrait Gallery StoreKing Edward Terrace, Parkes (Located just inside the entrance of the National Portrait Gallery),  02 6102 7170, e-mail: . The National Portrait Gallery's store stocks a large range of recently-released art and non-fiction books and is very popular with Canberrans.

Eat[edit]

Canberra has many fine eateries, but beware - many will be closed on Sundays. All public buildings in Canberra are smoke free.

Budget[edit]

  • Burmese Curry House Sydney Building, Alinga St, behind the Civic bus interchange. Delicious Burmese curries with rice for just $7! Popular with locals, open for lunch and dinner but closes around 8PM.
  • Dumpling Inn1/1 Lawry Place. Jamison Group Centre, Macquarie. Excellent Chinese food with Yum Cha lunch on Saturday and Sunday. Very popular with locals and booking might be required. ph + 61 2 6253 2268.
  • Zambreros29 Lonsdale St. Braddon, Cnr East Row & Aligna St Civic, also in Woden & Belconnen. Absolutely delicious local favourite, serving fresh Burritos & Tacos with great sauces and salsas. The Civic store is open late night on Thursday - Saturday nights, perfect drunken snack!
  • Cornucopia Bakery40 Mort Street. Braddon, ph 6249 1494. Wide range of traditional bakery products, meat pies and sandwiches, prepared on the premises. (However, for a bakery it is fairly expensive)
  • Griffith Vietnamese RestaurantGriffith Shops. Cheap, no frills place with little/no décor and ordinary 'Australianised' Vietnamese food.
  • Hansel & Gretel42 Townsend St. Philip. Great European style shop and cafe. Canberra's best coffee is roasted and sold on the premises. Also great selection of nuts, chocolates, and Easter and Christmas treats. The cafe serves healthy light lunches and a selection of cakes and biscuits.
  • Kenny's19 Woolley Street +61 2 6248 9899. Dickson. Chinese Style Restaurant for fast dine in, BYO & Take away. 11:30AM-11PM (7 days).
  • KismetFlinders Way Manuka. Another wonderful Turkish eatery at easy on the pocket prices, Kabak and Falafel are easily one of the best in Canberra if not Australia.
  • Pide House2 Lawry Place. Jamison Group Centre, Macquarie (near Belconnen T/C) and Woden Plaza, Corinna Street, Woden. tel +61 2 6251-3325 (Jamison) and +61 2 6260-3016 (Woden), [34]. Nice, inexpensive Turkish food in a proper restaurant (not a takeaway outlet). The Woden location is open all day (one of the very few in Canberra).
  • Piyaros +61 6248 8802. Lonsdale St, Braddon (close to the city). Great quality, cheap, Thai food. 11:30AM–2:30PM Lunch Mon-Fri, 5-10PM Dinner 7 Days. Take away available.
  • The Front Gallery and CafeLyneham Shops, Wattle Street, Lyneham.. Enjoy a coffee and explore an art exhibition. Comfy couches. 8AM–10PM Tues - Sat & 8AM–6PM Sun - Mon.
  • Yarralumla Halal Pide House45 Novar St +61 2 6281 1991. Yarralumla. High quality Turkish at a reasonable price, no alcohol allowed on premises. Absolutely delicious and very generous kebab rolls - local favourite. Take away available.
  • Civic Asian Noodle House +61 2 6247 5145. Sydney Building, 34 Northbourne Avenue. Good laksa at reasonable prices ($15). Relaxed atmosphere.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Belluci's Restaurant +61 2 6257-7788. Cape St (cnr Woolley St), Dickson. Popular Italian restaurant.
  • Blue Olive Cafe56 Alinga St +61 2 6230 4600. Canberra. Famous for their delicious New York style sandwiches. Great coffee and breakfast menu, wonderful service.
  • Bruno's Truffels +61 2 6286-6377. Unit 2, 106 Mawson Place, Mawson. Nice cafe and shop for locally made chocolates and pastries.
  • Cafe D'Lish +61 2 6281-3533fax: +61 2 6281-3450. Shop 3, Duff Place, Deakin. Swiss owner, nice pastries made on premises.
  • Dickson shops. This is the Canberra equivalent of Chinatown. Lots of great Asian food and a few pubs/clubs to have a beer at. This shopping centre is located a 10 minute bus ride north of Civic, just off Northbourne Avenue, and has a fantastic eat street, with everything from Thai to Turkish to Vietnamese at reasonable prices. Turk Oz has a delicious spinach and feta pide. Dickson Noodle House makes a terrific Laksa and is quite cheap. Au Lac is an excellent vegetarian Vietnamese place with delicious soy-based versions of everything.
  • Four Rivers Sichuan Chinese RestaurantUnit 66, The Coventry Apartments, 12 Challis Street, Dickson +61 2 6162-0666. Very tasty, authentic Sichuan cuisine. Yum-cha lunches.
  • Thirst Winebar and Eatery20 West Row +61 2 6257 0700. Civic. Tasty Thai food in modern styled restaurant. Two-for-one mains on Monday and Tuesday make this a top option! Otherwise expect to pay around $25.
  • Ginseng15 Flinders Way. Manuka. tel +61 2 6260 8346 or +61 2 6260 8347. Try either the traditional or vegetarian Singapore noodle and the Laksa. Book in advance and ask for a table on the second floor, you will get the best view of the Manuka tree tops!!
  • Italo-Australian ClubFranlin St, Forrest. You can obtain a temporary 28 day membership for $1 upon entry. You can get a hearty Italian pasta dish for around $15, with drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic reasonably priced.
  • Koko BlackBunda St Canberra Centre North Quarter. Warm and tasty Chocolate shop with a second to none chocolate selection as well as an innovative and interesting Hot Chocolate and Drink Menu. Nice, welcoming decor.
  • Maestral Seafood Restaurant13 Trenerry Street +61 2 6287 3930. Weston Creek. Mediterranean/Croatian, lots of fresh seafood and steak.
  • New Asia Chinese Restaurant, Unit 75, The Coventry Apartments, 2 Cape Street, Dickson, +61 2 6262-8860. - Offer authentic Shanghai, Sichuan, Cantonese, and some Malaysian cuisines. Some of the signature dishes include: Crispy Fragrant Duck, Yu Xiang Pork and Egg Plant Hot Pot, Shantung Lamb and Shantung Chicken. The food is fresh and the service is friendly. Very popular with Chinese oversea students and local communities. Open 7 days a week (except Saturday and Sunday lunches). Fully licenced. BYO for bottled wines only. Setting capacity: 34 people.
  • Rama's, Shop 6, Pearce Shopping Centre, Hodgson Crescent, Pearce. tel +61 2 6286 1964 or +61 2 6286 9437. Fijian/Indian, best (and hottest - no joke) curries in town. Can be very noisy.
  • Red Belly Black, located near the ACT law courts in Hobart Place. Excellent coffee, good breakfast menu, mid priced lunch menu, great cakes. Only open Mon - Fri from 7:30AM-4PM. A good way to start the weekday morning.
  • Sammy's Kitchen Bunda St Canberra Centre North Quarter. This Canberra institution serves a menu inspired mainly by Malaysian but also Cantonese flavours. It is hugely popular with locals, and the staff sometimes hurry slow eaters along to free up their table - it's not a place to linger over a meal.
  • Silo Bakery and Cafe36 Giles St +61 2 6260-6060. Kingston. Good breakfast, however almost always very crowded - expect 'attitude' instead of service. They also have a dedicated cheese room.
  • Sukothai27 Bentham Street +61 2 6281 1092. Yarralumla. Inexpensive non-authentic Thai food. Eat in and takeaway.
  • Tosolini'sCnr London Circuit and East Row, Civic +61 2 6247-4317. 7AM until late, 7 days. Great breakfast, good lunch and brilliant dinner. Traditional and experimental Italian cuisine, with a fine list of local and imported liquor. Very friendly and warm atmosphere, with professional staff.
  • Tu Do7 Sargood St +61 2 6248 6030. O'Connor. Cheap and tasty Vietnamese, very popular with the local Vietnamese community. Good bar nearby too.

Splurge[edit]

  • Aubergine Restaurant18 Barker St +61 2 6260-8666. Griffith. Food is very good, but beware the cancellations policy when changing a booking - you could be charged for the meals your party did not eat.
  • Courgette Restaurant54 Marcus Clarke St +61 2 6247-4042. Acton. Sister restaurant to Aubergine Restaurant, fine dining.
  • Ottoman Cuisine Restaurant +61 2 6273-6111. Cnr Broughton & Blackall St Barton. Consistently awarded best Turkish in Australia, great atmosphere.
  • Rubicon +61 6295 9919. 6A Barker St, Griffith. Consistently excellent food, extensive winelist and BYO (bring your own) are accepted. Great atmosphere, romantic rear indoor courtyard.
  • The Chairman & Yip108 Bunda Street, Civic +61 2 6248-7109. Lunch noon-2:30 Tue-Fri. Dinner 6-10:30 Mon-Sat. East/West fusion of great repute.
  • The Promenade Cafe at the Hyatt Hotel, Commonwealth Ave, offers daily buffet dinners in its restaurant from 6PM and high teas from 3 to 5PM.

Drink[edit]

The Sydney Building in Civic houses several bars and clubs

Canberra's many bars and clubs will be closed on Sunday nights and early into the week. Civic can appear to be a ghost town but there are areas such as Bunda Street where you will always find some happening funky bars.

In the city:

  • The Phoenix21 East Row. Canberra City, 6247 1606. About as rustic and dingy as a Canberra establishment is likely to get, this pub attracts a varied crowd, with more than its fair share of bohemian types.
  • PJ O'Reilly's (West Row - City, and Tuggeranong Town Center). Another Irish themed bar like King O'Malley's.
  • Mooseheads (East Row - London Cct - City). A bar with local history. Recently burnt down and restored, Mooseheads is famous as an Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) hangout.
  • Kremlin Bar (Northbourne Ave - City). Lounge bar with a good cocktail list. Find a DJ there most weekends.
  • Shooters (East Row - City). Rough and tumble reputation.
  • ICBM (Northbourne Ave - City) No Cover Charge! Awesome if you like simple and not "mixed up music", can get very busy on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Northbar (Northbourne Ave - City) A great place to start the night, cool, chic decor is a great setting to sip on a famous Vodka infusions.
  • King O'Malleys in Civic (inside City Walk Hotel building, Ground floor). Large Irish pub with a relaxed atmosphere, does pub-style meals lunch and dinner and a home for all types.
  • The Wig and Pen Canberra House Arcade, Alinga St Civic, 6248 0171, [35]. Serves a wide range of award winning beers brewed on the premises, as well as a selection of other boutique and independent brews.
  • Hippo Lounge (Upstairs, Garema Place, Civic). Cocktail bar with an intimate setting amidst Baroque-meets-student-digs decor. There's also live Jazz on Wednesday nights.
  • Old Parliament House. Every Friday afternoon (5PM-7PM), the courtyards of Old Parliament House have DJs and reasonably priced cocktails. It is very popular with graduates after work, before heading off to other places.
  • Academy (Bunda St Civic). Two-tiered nightclub, Canberra's largest, is a converted movie theatre which retains the old projection screen. Enjoy the dance floor downstairs or sit back in the cosier cocktail bar upstairs.
  • Cube33 Petrie Plaza, Civic (downstairs from Antigo's cafe),  +61 2 6257-1110. Opens Thu 8PM, Fri 9PM, Sat 10PM, Sun 9PM. Closes 5AM. Canberra's only gay nightclub with a variety of theme nights. Fridays and Saturdays are busiest.
  • Parlour Wine Room(Civic) (Behind Rydges Lakeside). Very intimate comfortable lounge bar, great selection of wines.

In the other suburbs:

  • Kingston Hotel (Off Canberra Avenue, near Manuka Oval). One of Canberra's longest running pubs, offering a 'cook your own' style open grill bistro, comprehensive restaurant, several pool halls, a drive-through bottle shop and bare bones backpackers accommodation (though usually occupied by long-term tenants). Once notorious for being rough, it is now a safe and friendly pub. Same ownership as Civic Pub and Uni Pub.
  • Trinity Bar (Just behind the Turkish Pide House in Dickson). This is a great lounge bar with impressive cocktail menu and jazz/DJs playing each evening Thurs-Saturday. Sunday afternoons/evenings are also busy during Summer.
  • Uni Pub (University Ave). Multistory bar with levels dedicated to various activities including Pool and a Restaurant. Fridays and Saturdays are busiest.
  • Tilley's Devine Cafe Gallery (Lyneham Shops). Originally a "female only" establishment, it now opens its doors to everyone and is a fantastic venue for acoustic and jazz local and international acts. Food and coffee available, along with a large bar selection.
  • All Bar Nun (O'Connor Shops). Recently expanded bar in a suburban shop setting. Great for pre-dinner drinks before moving on to one of the small restaurants in the area.
  • Das Kapital (Narrabundah Shops). Intimate lounge bar, $5 Homemade Pizza and $10 jugs of Beer Wednesday-Thursday. DJ's and Bands most weekends.
  • Durham Pub(Kingston). Good selection of beers on tap, warm atmosphere, Trivia on Tuesdays and Karaoke on Wednesday
  • Knightsbridge Penthouse1/34 Mort Street, Braddon +61 2 62626221. Great DJ and lovely selection of cocktails. Good crowd, lots of dancing. Often a line after 10PM.

Sleep[edit]

Most of Canberra's hotels are located in or around Civic or the suburbs which are adjacent to the Parliamentary Triangle. In recent years a small number of hotels have opened in the Belconnen, Gungahlin, Tuggeranong and Woden town centres. Note that the availability of accommodation can be tight during periods in which Parliament is sitting - the schedule for parliamentary sittings is available here.

Budget[edit]

  • Victor Lodge29 Dawes St, Kingston +61 2 6295-7777fax: +61 2 6295-2466, e-mail: . Reception 7:30AM-9PM. Kitchen is only open from 11AM-9PM but breakfast is provided and included in the rates. Free parking. Shops, cafes and grocery store are nearby. Dorm beds from $27.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Belconnen Premier Inn110 Benjamin Way, Belconnen ACT 2617 +61 (02) 6253 3633, toll-free: 1800 672 076fax: +61 (02) 6253 3688, e-mail: . Belconnen Premier Inn is one of the few accommodation options if you want to stay in the Belconnen area. The motel has standard rooms, deluxe rooms and two bedroom apartments, and is situated within walking distance of Belconnen Town Centre - useful if you need to visit one of the offices situated there (e.g. Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Australian Bureau of Statistics, etc.) Full Rates range from $190 for a standard room to $320 for a 2 bedroom apartment.
  • Best Western PLUS Garden City Hotel55 Jerrabomberra Avenue, NARRABUNDAH ACT 2604 +61 (02) 6295 3322fax: +61 (02) 6239 6289, e-mail: . This motel is situated in Narrabundah which is located away from Canberra's main attractions so having access to a car is highly recommended if staying here. Rooms are small but provided you have a car, accommodation tends to be substantially cheaper than accommodation options in Civic. Full Rates range from $150-220 for a standard room.
  • Rydges Eagle Hawk Resort +61 2 6241-6033fax: +61 2 6241-3691, e-mail: . Federal Highway. A large resort, a few kilometers from the outskirts of Canberra, with motel-style accommodation. It is on the Federal Highway just across the border. Rooms include small kitchenettes, and it is possible to get two interconnecting rooms for families or groups (at less than the price of two rooms). The resort has a large pool, a breakfast room and restaurant, and a small spa and sauna area. Double rooms $140 per night without breakfast and $170 with breakfast. Rates may be as low as $110 if you pay in advance and agree to a 48 hr cancellation period via the Rydges Direct system.
  • Novotel Canberra Hotel65 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra ACT 2600 +61 2 6245-5000fax: 6245 5100, e-mail: . In Canberra's Civic Centre on Northbourne Ave, Novotel Canberra accommodates business and convention visitors, and families travelling with children. Directly above the Canberra Coach Terminal. Rate range $150 – 250.
  • Rydges Lakeside Canberra, toll-free: 1300-857-922. London Circuit, Rydges Lakeside Canberra is on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, walking distance to Civic.
  • Rydges Capital Hill, toll-free: 1300-857-922. Cnr Canberra Avenue & National Circuit Forest. Located across the lake from Civic, close to Parliament House.
  • University House, 1 Balmain Crescent Acton, ph: +61 2 6125 5276 email: UniHouse@anu.edu.au, [36]. This hotel is located on the campus of the Australian National University about halfway between Civic and the National Museum of Australia. Accommodation options range from single rooms with shared bathrooms ($95 per night) to two bedroom apartments ($185 per night). Several of the ANU's residential colleges also offer tourist accommodation over the summer months [37].

Splurge[edit]

An 80-year-old residence for Canberra's visiting politicians is now its most prestigious hotel
  • Hotel KurrajongNational Circuit, Barton +61 2 6234-4444fax: +61 2 6234-4466. Each of the Kurrajong’s 26 rooms have King size beds, mini bar, tea and coffee making facilities, in-room safe, free in-house movies.

Bed and Breakfast[edit]

  • There are a number of Bed and Breakfast places just off Northbourne Avenue, in Canberra's inner north. These tend to be mid-range, cost-wise, but are comfortable and refreshing if you are looking for a 'home away from home'.

Serviced apartments[edit]

Serviced, short-term apartments are widely available throughout Canberra and are available for stays as short as one night. Amenities typically include kitchen, washer and dryer, and separate bedrooms. A full range of properties exist from budget to 5 star.

  • Canberra Serviced ApartmentsResident manager at Kingston Terrace Apartments, 16 Eyre St Kingston +61 2 6239 9411, toll-free: 1800 655 754fax: +61 2 6239 9499. Located in Kingston, the apartments are within easy reach of Canberra’s main attractions.
  • Pinnacle Apartments11 Ovens St, Kingston. More apartments in Kingston. If you don't mind staying in serviced apartments that obviously started out as an apartment complex built in the 1970s, this place is not too bad. Certainly good for families or large groups as you can get 3 bedroom units.

Stay safe[edit]

Canberra is a very safe city and enjoys one of the lowest crime rates in all of Australia. However, be cautious, especially around bus interchanges, where some youths may tend to be hostile.

Despite its apparent affluence, Canberra has people who live 'rough'. Particularly around Civic, it is not unusual to be asked for money. This is a well-organised activity targeting both visitors and locals: if you simply say that you don't have any money, the beggar (real or fake) will usually move on to the next available person.

There are no public lockers. If you want to store your luggage, book a room or keep it at a friend's place.

Once you leave Civic, Canberra is fairly spread out. For much of the year, evenings can become cold and windy fairly quickly. Don’t count on adequate lighting even in otherwise popular or marked footways/cycleways. Similarly, when traveling on such routes in between city centres, or when in the bush, it is possible not to see any one else for an entire journey. Ensure your mobile phone is charged, have a map and appropriate clothing. On hot days, carry water. For bicycle riders, having the means to fix a puncture, and having proper lights is particularly necessary in Canberra.

Do not swim in the lakes (including Lake Burley Griffin) until you check online, as the water quality frequently makes it unsafe. Few Canberrans ever swim in the lakes due to the frequent algal blooms in summer.

Death cap mushrooms (Amanita phalloides) is common in many Canberra suburbs, and ingestion of a single one can cause death [38].

Unlike other cities which have small, specified off-leash parks for dogs, most recreation grounds in Canberran suburbs are off-leash areas and have no signs. These include grounds through which cycleways pass. Check the maps of areas that you are visiting.[39]

Connect[edit]

The National Library of Australia has free Wi-Fi and computer terminals, as well as a copy of almost every book ever published in Australia

The National Library of Australia provides free Wi-Fi and free internet access on 40 computer terminals (webmail is blocked on some computers, so ask the staff to show you which ones you can access webmail from).

All the ACT public library branches [40] have free Wi-Fi and computers. The computers at Tuggeranong may be occupied during school hours by students of the college next door since it is a dual-use library. Membership is not required, but you may have to book a few hours in advance due to high demand.

McDonald's restaurants in Australia offer free Wi-Fi, no purchase required. The restaurants in Civic are at: corner East Row & Alinga St, and corner Cooyong Street & Northbourne Avenue.

The Pancake Parlour at Civic (in the Sydney Building, near bus bay 4) offers free Wi-Fi to customers, along with power points at several tables.

Cope[edit]

Embassies and High Commissions[edit]

This is a list of foreign missions in Canberra. Some countries may have their representative in other cities, and the Department of Foreign Affairs keeps a complete list.

Go next[edit]

NSW regions:

  • Queanbeyan - located just across the NSW border
  • Yass - Service town, near the road to Melbourne
  • Goulburn - Country town, worth a visit if you are travelling onward to Sydney.
  • Snowy Mountains - its possibly to spend a day skiing from Canberra, leaving early, and returning late.
  • Batemans Bay - the closest ocean beaches to Canberra - 115 minutes away.
  • Collector - a small historic town 30 minutes drive north of Canberra ideal for a day trip. Famous for a kidnap and murder by bushrangers.
  • Gundaroo - a small historic town north of Canberrra, you can follow the range from Gundaroo through to Collector as an scenic alternative to the federal highway. Some dirt roads involved (between Gundaroo and Collector, the road between Canberra and Gundaroo is all sealed).
  • Bungendore - a small town 20 minutes drive from central Canberra, via Queanbeyan.
  • Braidwood - a heritage listed town on the highway to the South Coast of New South Wales about an hour from Canberra
Routes through Canberra
END  N Australian Route 23.svg S  MichelagoCooma


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