Facts about Canberra

Canberra is a modern city with a cosmopolitan feel. It offers all the city services and lifestyle amenities of a world-class capital: an excellent transport network; great shopping; an exciting nightlife; and a stylish café/restaurant culture.*

Canberra is very family-friendly. As well as Australia’s best education system and excellent health facilities, we have a clean environment, low crime rate, Australia’s best roads and hundreds of kilometres of bike paths. It’s a safe, relaxed way to live.*

Here is some more important information and interesting facts about Canberra.


Canberra is located in the Australian Capital Territory, surrounded by New South Wales. The city is 150 kilometres inland and 571 metres above the Pacific Ocean, 281 kilometres from Sydney and 660 kilometres from Melbourne.


379,600 people


You can experience four seasons in the nation’s capital, each with their distinctive beauty and charm. Canberra is a rare treat among Australian cities providing a kaleidoscope of colour, activity and experiences throughout the year.

Spring is glorious. Inhale the perfume as trees reveal spring blooms and see our regional vineyards awaken with the first bud bursts. Awake to moderately fresh mornings, bright, sunny days and brisk nights. Canberra enjoys longer sunshine hours in spring than Sydney and Melbourne making it ideal for Floriade, Australia's celebration of spring and bushwalking to see wildflowers in bloom at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

Summer delivers endless opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, especially on Lake Burley Griffin where plenty of water sports and activities await. Days are warm to hot, with plenty of sunshine and little humidity, followed by mild, balmy nights.

Autumn is a delight as the city's parks and gardens take on a special appeal. Canberra’s stunning landscape changes as leaves of red, gold, russet, ochre and crimson emerge; balanced by the soft greys and greens of native eucalyptus and coniferous trees. Grab your favourite scarf and coat for cool nights and mild days.

Winter is the perfect time to snuggle up in front of a fire with a big glass of cool climate wine. The nights and early mornings are brisk, with frosts and occasional fogs clearing to striking sunny days. Be refreshed by the pleasure of a bike ride and walks by the lake.

 *Degrees Celsius (Data from www.weatherzone.com.au/act/act/canberra



Located on the ancient lands of the Indigenous Ngunnawal people, Canberra’s name is thought to mean ‘meeting place’, derived from the Aboriginal word Kamberra.

European settlers arrived in the 1830s, and the area won selection by ballot for the federal capital in 1908. Canberra’s special contrast of nature and urban living was planned in 1912 by master designer, Walter Burley Griffin, a Chicago architect, who won an international design competition.

The provisional Parliament House opened in 1927 in what was then a treeless paddock. For more information on Canberra’s history, visit www.nationalcapital.gov.au.

Since then, Canberra has grown into a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with national attractions housing the heritage, history and national collections that make Canberra the home of the Australian story.

Banking Hours

  • Monday to Thursday: 9.30am to 4.00pm
  • Friday: 9.30am to 5.00pm

Most branches offer 24 hour Automatic Teller Machines (ATM). Teller machines are also located in many petrol stations, some convenience stores, shopping centres and licensed clubs.

Retail Shopping Hours

  • Monday to Thursday: 9.00am to 5.30pm
  • Friday: 9.00am to 9.00pm
  • Saturday: 9.00am to 5.00pm
  • Sunday: 10.00am to 4.00pm

Hours vary at smaller shopping centres or factory outlets and in the nearby city of Queanbeyan.

Public Holidays 2015

  • New Year's Day Thursday 1 January
  • Australia Day Monday 26 January
  • Canberra Day Monday 9 March
  • Good Friday Friday 3 April
  • Easter Sunday Sunday 5 April
  • Easter Monday Monday 6 April
  • Anzac Day Monday 27 April
  • Queen's Birthday Monday 8 June
  • Family & Community Day Monday 28 September
  • Labour Day Monday 5 October
  • Christmas Day Friday 25 December
  • Boxing Day Saturday 26 December

Transport in Canberra

Whether you are catching a bus, riding a bike or walking, it is simple to get around Canberra, with less traffic than big cities and almost no traffic jams. Most students catch a quick bus ride to get around and it is possible to buy a daily, weekly or monthly bus ticket.

See Transportation – Travelling in and around Canberra for more information.


While appreciated, is not expected in Australia. If you receive excellent service, particularly in a restaurant or for a taxi fare, a tip is always welcome.


The Australian domestic standard voltage is AC 240 volts, 50 Hertz cycle. The standard electrical plug is a three-prong type. Suitable adapters are available from travel goods stores and some electrical retail stores.


Canberra water comes from Namadgi National Park. It is treated to national health standards and is safe to drink from taps and basins.


  • Canberra's area code is 02 if calling from within Australia or +61 2 from overseas
  • The cost of a local call from a public phone is 50 cents. Public phones accept coins and pre paid telephone cards, which are available at newsagents, convenience stores and Australia Post Offices. Public phones are located at shopping centres, malls and at Post Offices
  • International calls can be made from pay phones. Charges vary depending on the time of day and distance
  • 1800 numbers are free call numbers when dialled from anywhere within Australia
  • 1300 numbers are costed at the local call rate when dialled from anywhere within Australia.

*Some information taken from www.liveincanberra.com.au

Hr Line

Visit Canberra LogoSome information and imagery sourced from
Australian Capital Tourism.