Canberra Overview

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Canberra is probably one of the most under rated places to visit in Australia.

We have divided the city into North Canberra and South Canberra pages

There is so much to do that you will need several days at least to do it justice.

There are scores of restaurants, cafes and eateries as well as bars, pubs, night clubs,the Canberra Casino, theatres, world class art galleries and museums.

Lake Burley Griffin provides a magnificent centrepiece to Canberra and hiring a bike and cycling around it is a must.

Canberra, an aboriginal word for 'Meeting Place', was purpose built as the Nation's capital in the early 1900's.

It is located in the Australian Capital Territory or A.C.T, not in NSW as is sometimes thought; probably because the small territory is completely surrounded by New South Wales.

As the Australian's capital, the city is home to embassies and of course the Australian Federal Parliament.

Canberra is often dismissed and criticised for being 'man made' and soulless but this is an unfair, superficial view.

Spend a little time in Canberra and you will quickly appreciate the thoughtful design, architecture and general usability of the place.

Canberra is a fascinating place in which to stay and explore.

Burley Griffin

Canberra is built around the man made Lake Burley Griffin, named after the city 's visionary architect, and was designed to gently blend in with the natural landscape. More..


Civic is the main CBD of Canberra and is situated just to the north of Lake Burley Griffin at the southern end of Northborne Avenue. More..

Manuka and Kingston

Manuka and the nearby Kingston both have a delightful leafy village character and are two of the most chic and fashionable wining and dining venues in the city. More..

The Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial is located a few km east of Civic and overlooks ANZAC Parade.

The memorial is dedicated to the fallen Australian forces personnel involved in military conflicts over the years. More..

Parliament House

Parliament House, sitting a top Capital Hill and at the centre of State and Capital Circles is literally at the focal point of Canberra. More..

Telstra Tower

The 200 m high Telstra Tower is located on Black Mountain and dominates the skyline in Canberra. More..

National Museum of Australia

The National Museum of Australia is a striking addition to Canberra and has received architectural plaudits for its brave design.

Opened in March 2001, the National Museum is the first in the country devoted to the stories of Australia and Australians, exploring the key issues, events and people that have shaped and influenced our nation.

The design achieved international recognition in late 2001, winning in London the prestigious Blueprint Architecture Award for the world's Best New Public Building of the Year.

Spectacular Lake Views

The Museum includes a high-quality restaurant, Axis, which features spectacular views of Lake Burley Griffin and has become a significant destination in its own right.

Thank you to The National Museum Of Australia who provided photos and material for this page.



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Canberra accommodation

Canberra has a good selection of hotels and accommodation of a good standard which is unsurprising as this is the base of the Federal Australian Government.

See our general Canberra accommodation listings for hotels and resorts and and Backpacker accommodation for hostels.


Canberra and the A.C.T is completely surrounded by New South Wales and located in the south east of the state. For this reason we have included it within the New South Wales location pages.

Canberra's latitude is 35.3°S and longitude is 149.1° E.

Driving To Canberra

Some approximate driving times are:

3Hrs From Sydney (300Km)

7Hrs From Melbourne (650Km) )

See Route and Distance Calculator for more accurate driving times and routes from additional locations throughout Australia.

Flying To Canberra

Canberra International Airport is around 9km (5.5 miles) due east of the city.

By car, the journey into the city should take approximately 10 minutes depending on traffic conditions. Taxis, hire cars are available.

As a guide, the approximate flying time from Canberra to Perth is 4.5 hours, to Sydney 1 hours, to Melbourne 1 hours, to Brisbane 1.5 hours.

Rivers and Mountains

Away from the planned architecture of modern Australia, the ancient surrounding bush, lakes, streams, rivers and mountains are within easy reach.

A few days at least are required to fully appreciate the gentle beauty of its surroundings and the subtlety and thought which has gone into its creation.

Canberra is also an ideal and popular stop over point for visitors from Sydney en transit to the Snowy Mountains.

A.C.T School & Public Holidays

2008 Public Holidays

New Years Day Tue 1st Jan.

Australia Day Mon 28th Jan.

Canberra Day Mon 10th March

Good Friday 21st March.

Easter Monday 24th March.

Anzac Day Fri 25th April.

Queens Birthday Holiday Mon 9th June.

Labour Day Mon 6th Oct.

Family & Community Day Tue 4th Nov (To be confined)

Christmas Day Thu 25th Dec.

Boxing Day Holiday Fri 26th Dec.

2008 School Holidays

(End and start school on preceding and next week day (Mon - Fri) respectively)


Easter Holiday 14th April To 25th April.

Winter Holiday 7th July To 18th July.

Spring Holiday 23rd Sept To 10th Oct.

Summer Holiday 22nd Dec To Jan 29th

Daylight Saving

Starts Sunday 5th October

Ends 5th April 2009

Note: Dates for guidance only. Always check with your individual School as variations may occur for individual education authorities or establishments and dates may be subject to change. Always check with relevant State or Territory education department to confirm holiday periods at the commencement of each school year. Not all Public Holidays for individual regions within each state and territory are shown and public holidays falling on weekends are not listed. Not all Public Holidays may be applicable to all employers, organisations etc so always check with your employer, education authority etc which public holidays are applicable.

Canberra Climate

These figures are for guidance only:

Canberra has four distinct seasons.

Historical Average Canberra Climate

Approximate Max Average Temperature

Deg C/ Deg F

Winter(June-Aug):12 / 53

Spring(Sep-Nov):20 / 68

Summer(Dec-Feb):28 / 82

Autumn(Mar-May):20 / 68

Historical Average Canberra Rainfall

Approximate Average Monthly Rainfall - mm

Winter(June-Aug): 40

Spring(Sep-Nov): 60

Summer(Dec-Feb): 56

Autumn(Mar-May): 53

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Blue Mountains

Broken Hill

Byron Bay

Canberra (A.C.T)

Central Coast

Coffs Harbour


Hunter Valley

Jervis Bay

Manning Valley


Mount Selwyn

New England


Port Macquarie

Port Stephens

Sapphire Coast

Snowy Mountains

Southern Highlands



Wagga wagga


View from Telstra Tower
Aerial view of The National Museum of Australia in Canberra
Lake Burley Griffin
Inside The Canberra Centre
View from Mount Ainslie
Anzac Parade
Anzac Parade
Australian War Memorial
Telstra Tower at Black Mountain
View from Telstra Tower over South Canberra
Water feature in Civic
Detail of National Museum of Australia
Exhibit in War Memorial
The Canberra Centre shopping mall
View from Mount Ainslie
Australian War Memorial
View from Telstra Tower over South Canberra