Canberra is the capital of Australia with the city located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory, 300 kms southwest of Sydney, and 650 kms north-east of Melbourne.
The site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation's capital in 1908 as a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne, the two largest cities, and because of a fear of seaborne invasion. It is unusual among Australian cities as an entirely purpose-built, planned city.
Canberra experiences hot, dry summers, and mild winters with heavy fog and frequent frosts, with a rare spot of snow in the Central Business District and surrounding areas. Light snow falls in the city in one out of approximately three winters but is usually not widespread and quickly dissipates. Thunderstorms can occur between October and March, with rainfall maximums in spring and summer.
Month Dec Mar Jun Sep
Max Temp 26.1 24.4 12.2 16.0
Min Temp 11.3 10.7 0.9 3.2
Buying a Home
The median house price in Canberra is lower than Sydney and Melbourne but higher than all other capital cities. The median weekly rent paid by Canberra residents is higher than rents in most other states and territories.
A publicly run bus service, the Australian Capital Territory Internal Omnibus Network (ACTION), provides public transport throughout the city. A very good and widespread network of cycleways has been established. A private bus service operates between Canberra and Queanbeyan, the adjoining town in New South Wales.
An interstate CountryLink railway service connects Canberra to Sydney. Canberra's railway station is in the inner south suburb of Kingston. Train services to Melbourne are provided by way of a CountryLink bus service which connects with a rail service between Sydney and Melbourne in Yass, about one hour's drive from Canberra
Canberra is about three hours by road from Sydney on the Federal Highway which connects with the Hume Highway near Goulburn, and seven hours by road from Melbourne on the Barton Highway which joins the Hume Highway at Yass. It is a two hour drive on the Monaro Highway to the ski fields of the Snowy Mountains and the Kosciusko National Park. Batemans Bay, a popular holiday spot on the New South Wales coast, is also two hours away via the Kings Highway.
Canberra International Airport provides direct domestic services to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, with connections to other domestic centres. There are direct daily flights to Albury and Newcastle in New South Wales. Regular international flights have been considered, but to date only chartered international flights have connected Canberra directly with overseas destinations.
The two main tertiary institutions are the Australian National University (ANU) in Acton and the University of Canberra (UC) in Bruce. The ANU was established as a research university in 1946; it continues to have a strong research focus and is ranked among the best universities in the world
There are also two religious university campuses in Canberra: Signadou in the North Canberra suburb of Watson is a campus of the Australian Catholic University; St Mark's Theological College adjacent to the Parliament House is a campus of Charles Sturt University.
The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) and the Royal Military College, Duntroon are near the suburb of Campbell in Canberra's inner north-east. ADFA teaches military undergraduates and postgraduates and is officially a campus of the University of New South Wales; Duntroon provides Australian Army Officer training. Tertiary level vocational education is also available through the multi-campus Canberra Institute of Technology.
There are around 140 public and private schools in Canberra; 30% being private. Most suburbs are planned to include a primary school and a nearby preschool, and schools are usually located near open areas for play and sports.
The largest groups of Canberra’s residents were born overseas from English-speaking countries, led by the United Kingdom and then New Zealand. Significant numbers of immigrants have also come from Germany, Italy and Vietnam. Most Canberrans are native speakers of English; many have a second language, the most common being Chinese, Italian, Croatian and Greek.
Approximately 30% of adults in the ACT had a level of educational attainment equal to at least a bachelor's degree, significantly higher that the national average of 19%. Approximately 63% of Canberra residents describe themselves as Christian, the most common denominations being Catholic and Anglican; less than 3% of the population practice a non-Christian religion and 19% are not religious.
The Canberra Hospital
Canberra has two large public hospitals, The Canberra Hospital - formerly the Woden Valley Hospital - located in Garran and the smaller Calvary Public Hospital located in Bruce.
Both public hospitals are also teaching hospitals. The largest private hospital in Canberra is the John James Memorial Hospital Hospital in Deakin. Calvary Private Hospital in Bruce and Healthscope's National Capital Private in Garran are also major healthcare providers.
The city has aged care facilities. Canberra's hospitals receive emergency cases from throughout southern New South Wales. The ACT Ambulance Service is one of four operational agencies of the ACT Emergency Services Authority.
Canberra has numerous sporting ovals, golf courses, skate parks, tennis courts and swimming pools that are open to the public. Water sports like sailing, rowing and water skiing are popular activities on Canberra's lakes.
The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is located in the Canberra suburb of Bruce. The AIS is a specialised educational and training institution providing coaching for elite junior and senior athletes in a number of sports.
There are a number of well known teams in Canberra including the Canberra Raiders and the Brumbies who play rugby league and rugby union respectively and who have both been champions of their leagues. Both teams play their home games at Canberra Stadium.
Cycling is a very popular pastime in Melbourne. There are extensive off-road paths and flat terrain. Beach Road combines with the Nepean Highway forming a 90 kilometre stretch to Port Melbourne to Sorrento and incorporates the Bayside
There are also teams that participate in national competitions in netball, hockey, ice hockey and cricket. Manuka Oval is another large outdoor sporting facility where cricket and Australian Rules football are played. The historic Prime Minister's XI cricket match is played at Manuka Oval annually.
Other significant annual sporting events include the Canberra Marathon, the City of Canberra Half Ironman Triathlon and the Canberra Women's Tennis Classic held in the lead up to the Australian Open.
Arts and Entertainment
Canberra Monuments & Institutions
Canberra is home to many national monuments and institutions such as the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery currently housed at Old Parliament House, the National Library of Australia, the National Archives of Australia, and the National Museum of Australia.
Many Commonwealth government buildings in Canberra are open to the public, including Parliament House, the High Court and the Royal Australian Mint. Lake Burley Griffin is the site of the Captain Cook Memorial and the National Carillon.
Other sites of interest include the Telstra Tower and the Australian National Botanic Gardens on Black Mountain, the National Zoo and Aquarium on Scrivener Dam, the National Dinosaur Museum and Questacon – the National Science and Technology Centre.
Canberra has many venues for live music and theatre: the Canberra Theatre and Playhouse which host many major concerts and productions; and Llewellyn Hall (within the ANU School of Music), a world-class concert hall. The Street Theatre, also located at the Australian National University, hosts many amateur student and community theatre groups. Stonefest at the University of Canberra is Canberra's largest music festival.
There are numerous bars and nightclubs which also offer live entertainment. Popular cultural events include the National Folk Festival, the Royal Canberra Show, the Summernats car festival and the Celebrate Canberra festival which is held over 10 days in March in conjunction with Canberra Day.
The Business Environment
Treasury of Australia
As a result of low unemployment and substantial levels of public sector and commercial employment, Canberra has the highest mean weekly disposable income of any Australian capital city. The city's main industry is government administration and defence.
The major public-sector employers in Canberra include the parliament, government departments such as Department of Defence, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Treasury. Property and business services, construction, health and community services, and education are other significant contributors to the economy of Canberra. A large amount of Australian and international visitors make tourism a significant contributor to the economy.
Shopping Centers in Adelaide
Most suburbs have their own local shops that are located close to a larger shopping centre serving a group of suburbs. Community facilities and schools are often located near local shops or group shopping centres.
Canberra and Surrounds
Canberra is full of interesting places to visit. The National Gallery of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Library of Australia, the National Archives of Australia, and the National Museum of Australia have interactive displays.
Other places of interest are the Dinosaur Museum, the Botanical Gardens, Aquarium and the Royal Mint.
Because of its close proximity, 3 hours drive, a visit to Sydney is often a great way to spend the day or weekend.
Not too far away are the ski fields of the Snowy Mountains and the Kosciusko National Park. The Snowy Mountains are the highest Australian mountain range and contain the Australian mainland's highest mountain, Mount Kosciusko. They form part of the Great Dividing Range. The Snowy River originates in the Kosciusko National Park and flows south to Victoria. There are tunnels, dams, generators and other parts of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme is within the park.
The ski resorts of Thredbo, Selwyn snowfields, Perisher Blue and Charlotte Pass lie within the park, as does Cabramurra the highest town in Australia. The larger towns of Cooma and Jindabyne lie just outside and service the park.
Picture of Mount Kosciusko
Only two hours drive away, Batemans Bay is the closest coastal town to Canberra. This makes the Bay, as it is commonly called, a popular holiday destination for Canberra residents. It is home to retirees and young families seeking affordable housing and a relaxed seaside lifestyle with safe beaches and bays for families along with good surfing beaches.
Other local industries include a sawmill, oyster farming, forestry, eco-tourism and retail services. The Clyde River empties here into the Tasman Sea.