Canberra is the capital city of Australia, but this is often puzzling to many travellers because it is not very densely populated. It is located in one of two territories of the land down under, the largest inland city and eight-largest city overall. The city takes up pretty much the entire territory, the Australian Capital Territory, stretching over 814.2km squared. Canberra is known for its political celebrities, as it is home to the Prime Minister, the Governor General and the place where State representatives meet. Although it is not very visited as its neighbouring cities, Sydney and Melbourne, it certainly makes for a truly unique, and to some extent authentic, city. What other major city has bush land with native flora and fauna within metres of it? You tell me.
Australian Dollar ($)
UTC/GMT +10 hours
AS/NZS 3112 (Australasian 10 A/240 V)
International country code: + 61 (Australia)
Area code: 2
How to get there
- Bus or train from major cities such as Sydney (3 hours) or Melbourne (9 hours) take you to an interchange right in the heart of the city
- A connecting flight from any major city such as Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane etc. and take a bus or taxi from the airport to civic.
Food & dining
Before dining out, your best bet is to check out a review suitable to what you want to eat, what your budget is and the time and date and where you want to eat. My biggest tip is to head to urbanspoon.com before you decide to go if you want a better chance of having a good meal. The other tip is that a lot of restaurants will close between dining hours – that is, after lunch hour, most restaurants will close until dinner service at 5 or 6 o’clock. There are plenty of cuisines to try: African, East-Asian, European, Indian, Australian amongst all.
- For breakfast options: Lonsdale Street Roasters, Two before Ten, Cornucopia Bakery are fantastic options all located in Canberra City
- Dickson Asian Noodle House in Dickson is a favourite for meals, and also ideal for families
- Fish Shack in Canberra City
- The Scholar in Dickson is a gem for yum cha – especially if you value food over customer service. Be warned, and get in early.
- Fine dining:
- Aubergine (French) in Griffith. A quick side note that Manuka/Griffith is home to some of the best food.
- Ottoman Cuisine (Mediterranean/Turkish) in Canberra City, especially if you want to spot the current Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. I hear it is one of his favourite places to eat.
- Courgette (Modern Australian) in Canberra City
- The Chairman and Yip (Chinese) in Canberra City
- Dieci e Mezzo (Italian) in Canberra City
Canberra likes to boast of its status as the nation’s capital and will not hesitate to remind you of it by adding ‘…of Australia’ or ‘National’ or even both to any name.
- Parliament House
- Old Parliament House
- National Gallery of Australia
- Australian War Memorial
- Royal Australian Mint
- Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre
- Black Mountain Tower
- Australian Institute of Sport
- Captain Cook Memorial Jet
- High Court of Australia
- International Flag Display
- National Museum of Australia
- National Library of Australia
- Canberra Glassworks
- National Archives of Australia
- National Capital Exhibition
- National Electoral Education Centre
- National Dinosaur Museum
- National Portrait Galley
- National Zoo & Aquarium
- Lake Burley Griffin
- National Embassies
- Kiribilli House
- Government House
- Hotels and motels
For those who prefer a more luxurious experience, there are plenty of hotel and motel options in various parts of Canberra and regions surrounding it
- Bed and breakfasts
- For those who prefer a more personal touch and homely experience
- Residential colleges
The university colleges open its doors to visitors during the university break which is between December and January every year
- Rural properties
There are plenty of farm stays, country retreats and bed and breakfasts options for those who prefer to retreat into Australia’s natural bush surroundings, but do not want to be too far away from the city. The only major city that can cater to you is Canberra – all of these locations are within an hour of civic.
- Caravan and camping
There are camping grounds for located conveniently within minutes of civic as well as other places further out to choose from
- Backpackers and Hostels
There are five options for those who are looking for a low-budget accommodation, all located close to or in the major parts of Canberra.
Transport & getting around
There are plenty of buses and taxis to get from A to B. Buses are one of the most inexpensive ways of getting around provided you travel off-peak, or take the Tourist Bus route. Buses can take you out of Canberra to neighbouring New South Wales areas as well. Tickets can be purchased on the bus, online and MyWay cards (top up cards for buses – to save extra cash) can be purchased in-store located in the heart of Canberra City.
- Mount Ainslie – Drive up during the evening and look over the city lights. Watch out for the kangaroos on the way!
- The Flute Bakery – hidden in an industrial zone, Fyshwick, but is an absolute gem for anyone with a sweet tooth. Be quick because it doesn’t open for long and the store is bought out within hours. There isn’t much choice once 2 o’clock comes around.
- BrodBurger – Canberra’s famous burger is the obligatory must-have-before-you-leave. Is the long wait worth it? You tell me.
- Gold Creek Village
Whilst Canberra is relatively small in population density, the city is ‘spread out’ in terms of land area. The best thing is to avoid the taxi and take the bus or hire a bike where you can. In terms of food, the prices of dining out are expensive compared to other cities, so be aware of the difference. Add one or two dollars to standard meals, so that is how much you would expect to pay in Canberra.
- New South Wales and the capital city of Sydney
- Victoria and the capital city of Melbourne