Canberra may not be an immediate choice as an Australian city to visit when exploring Down Under. However, the Australian capital is a location that shouldn’t be missed thanks to its history, culture, and natural surroundings in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Canberra, nicknamed the “Bush Capital”, is surrounded by forests, mountains, and natural
scenery. It is much different than Australia’s other top travel destinations of Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. The capital is a planned city and didn’t grow organically like others in Australia. In spite of being a city created to be the country’s capital and head of government, it offers visitors a wealth of sites, activities, and more.
How to get in and out of Canberra
Canberra is situated in the ACT. The territory is in Australia’s southeastern region and close in proximity to many other major cities. Compared to Australia’s other major tourist destinations, Canberra doesn’t receive as many international tourists. In 2019, Canberra welcomed 266,278 international tourists. An additional 5.2 million domestic tourists
visited Canberra. Tourists have the chance to fly, drive, or venture to the city via train.
Canberra International Airport -
The airport receives around 14 international flights per week from Singapore and Qatar. Canberra International Airport is a short flight from
Australia’s other major cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth. You can reach Canberra from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane in just two hours through the air. International flights make it possible to fly in and out of the city for a holiday.
Canberra Railway Station
– If you want to see some of Australia’s amazing countryside, then hop aboard the direct rail service at Sydney Central Station and take the four-and-a-half-hour trip to Canberra. It is a leisurely journey. There are also train services from Melbourne and other locations in New South Wales.
All roads lead to Canberra and you can easily reach the capital overland by coach or car from numerous points. Coach services begin and end in Canberra from points such as Sydney and Melbourne. You can drive along Australia’s well-maintained road system to arrive in the capital in no time. Sydney is just a three-hour drive while Melbourne is eight hours away and offers the chance for an extended road trip.
How to get around Canberra
The city has a variety of options for getting around. From Canberra’s light rail system to buses to rideshare companies, there are many ways to move about during the day or evening.
Light rail – Canberra's light rail system begins at Gungahlin and services the city along Northbourne Avenue. It is an efficient way to get around Canberra. The line is 12 kilometres long and has 13 stations.
Buses – The city’s bus network reaches multiple points of the city and suburbs. If you have a bicycle, the TC bus allows you the use of its bike racks. You can reach Canberra’s top attractions all year-long as the bus network runs 365 days a year.
Rideshare/taxi – Canberra is home to several rideshare companies and taxi services. Uber and Lyft both operate in the capital, and Ola is another popular car service found in the city. You can book a rideshare provider for trips to and from Canberra
What to do in Canberra
Canberra is home to a variety of historical and cultural attractions. As Australia’s capital, there is a lot to see and do. The city’s natural surroundings make for great adventures whether you are on an extended trip or a weekend getaway.
Canberra is the centre of Australian politics, so it makes perfect sense to take a tour of Parliament House. Opened in 1988, Parliament House is unique thanks to its incredible architecture. Tours are available daily to explore the building.
If you fancy a road trip, then don’t miss Namadgi National Park, which is just 40 kilometres outside of Canberra. The park is on Australia’s National Heritage List. It is the ideal place to find ACT’s local wildlife and flora.
For more outdoor adventure, head to the National Botanical Gardens. Instead of walking through the gardens, you can explore them via a 45-minute bus tour that provides plenty of information about the plant life on display.
To get above the clouds – or just below them – climb Mount Ainslie to see Canberra from on high. You can take the Mount Ainslie Kokoda summit train to reach the top.
History buffs shouldn’t miss the chance to explore the Australian War Memorial. The building’s architecture is in the Byzantine-style and provides a look at Australia's
history in war.
You have got to try
In 1951, Frank McEnroe invented the Chiko Roll. It is to Australian Rules Football what hotdogs are to American baseball. The take-away food is filled with carrots, onions, cabbage, and beef incased in a flour and egg pastry. The roll is fried similar to a Chinese egg roll. Chiko Rolls go great with a cold Aussie lager. The regional roots of the
Chiko Roll have been debated for decades and even was discussed in parliament
in the last few years.
Canberra experiences four seasons and thanks to the great natural surroundings of the ACT, the weather patterns provide unique adventures based on the temperature. The average yearly weather temperatures range between 1°C to 28°C.
Summers are between December and March and are rather warm. The average summer temperature is 25°C.
Autumn begins in mid-March and the cool weather begins, ushering in cold winter months.
June, July, and August are Canberra’s winter months. The coldest month of the year is July when winter is at its height. Temperatures may reach 1°C during the month.
Spring occurs from September to November. This is the season in which the clouds begin to disperse and summer’s warm temperatures are on the way.
Canberra is home to the Deep Space Communication Complex. It is one of three NASA space bases in the world. The Deeper Space Communication Complex provides constant radio contact with spacecrafts in orbit. The other two NASA space bases are located in Goldstone, California and Madrid, Spain.