Life in Canberra


What are the benefits to living in Canberra?

Canberra’s position as the nation’s capital means it has one of the highest qualities of life, in a country which ranks the second highest standard of living in the world.

It has excellent access to hospitals, park and community land, a clean environment and a socially inclusive community. Have a quick read of The Guardian for some more background on life in Canberra.

What is there to do on the weekend?

The weekend is yours, Enjoy It!

Skiing and snowboarding at nearby Thredbo and Perisher in the winter, hikes around Canberra’s National Park Namadji in Spring, the expansive south coast in summer and hikes up the ‘high country’ in Fall are all within a two hour drive of the city.

Otherwise stay local and listen to live music at either the ANU Bar or Tilley’s in Lyneham, see what  The Canberra Performing Arts Centre has on offer before going out to find absolutely any kind of cuisine imaginable at the Multicultural Food Festival!!!

The Out in Canberra webpage publishes regular updates on what there is to do and see, including winery tours, music and art events.

Where can I easily travel to from Canberra?                               

The Canberra airport connects Australia’s largest cities (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) with multiple daily flights, as well as to rural destinations. Making long distance travel plans becomes very easy.

The New South Wales South coast is an amazing stretch of beach, river and wine growing country, with many small towns within a 2 hour drive of Canberra.  Have a look at The South Coast website, for amazing fishing tours and hikes available for all experience levels as well as historic town attractions. It is a must see for any ANU student!

What is the cost of living?

While the cost of living in Australia is generally considered to be quite high, it should be remembered that the US dollar is buying more and more Australian currency. This coupled with the fact that many students do not purchase goods and services which attract a large amount of tax (i.e. fuel and stamp duty on new property) means the living cost for American’s in Canberra is very competitive.

What kind of fast food and restaurants are available?

All the popular fast food chains have outlets in Canberra as well as a few ‘American’ styled BBQ houses, so you will be able to satisfy a desire for some home cooking whenever it hits, don’t worry. Dickson shops (10mins from campus) boasts one of the most authentic Asian cuisines outside of… well Asia. For the more adventurous diner, the Good Food Guide details Canberra’s best places to eat and be seen.

Is there public transport?

Canberra’s most useful public transport is the ACTION bus service, which connects all suburbs with late night and early morning routes. Have a look at their website to see which routes are available.

There are also Taxi and Uber services available.

Do I need a car?

No. Having a car is a matter of personal preference, not necessity. While some people may be happy to pay a few thousand dollars to make transport simpler, others might be happy to use public transport and bikes to get around town. Cars have a higher selling price in Australia compared to the US, and taxes on fuel and registration should also be taken into account.


Updated:  20 January 2016/ Responsible Officer:  Director, NALO/ Page Contact:  Director, NALO