If you're used to chaotic, traffic-snarled capitals, then you're in for a big surprise with Canberra. Created from scratch in the early 20th century, on bush lands originally occupied by the 'Ngunnawal' people, it has all the hallmarks of being a purpose built city designed with mathematical precision.
The city's principle architects, Walter and Marion Griffin, did their apprenticeships under the tutelage of the leading modernist architect Frank Lloyd Wright.Canberra embodies many of the principles and styles he championed, including the extensive use of modern building substances like concrete and 'organic architecture' which emphasizes the sympathetic design of buildings to compliment the landscape they are set in.
Australia's capital is only the country's 7th biggest city in terms of population, so it's certainly not overcrowded. Canberra tends to divide the opinion of visitors. Some find its style and layout impersonal and clinical, others see considerable charm in the relaxed way of life. It undoubtedly has some interesting structures and monuments and is a good place to see world-class exhibitions, artistic performances and sporting events. Furthermore, as the seat of government, it is an ideal place to intern abroad.
What is the Cost of One Month of Housing in Canberra?
Between AUS$1,200 a month for a room in shared accommodation to AUS$2200 for a self-contained apartment.
AirBnB has rooms in shared accommodation in a central location from AUS$1200 a month. Expect to pay around AUS$2200 for a self-contained apartment.
Canberra City YHA, 7 Akuna Street, has beds in shared dorms for AUS$40 or private double rooms for AUS$60 a night – great for those travelling with friends to work abroad. The centrally located Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1 Binara Street, has double en-suites for AUS$165 a night. Ibis Budget Canberra, 15 Tay Street, about 8km out of the city centre, has doubles for AUS$73 a night.
The University of Canberra offers accommodation in its student halls during vacations. Prices start from AUS$89 for a single room. Check the ucvillage website for availability.
What is the Cost of Transportation for One Month in Canberra?
About £250 if you are just travelling within the city
Canberra airport offers flights to many major Australian cities and there are regular buses to Sydney, the journey taking just over 3 hours.
Bikes: There's little doubt that Canberra is a huge city to get around. The good news is it's flat, with wide roads. There's not too much traffic, even at rush hour, so it's an ideal city for cyclists and you'll find cycle lanes throughout the city. Make sure you take a hat and water as the city gets very hot in summer. Capital Bicycle Hire has bikes from AUS$90 a day with discounts available for groups and longer hire.
Buses are provided by the ACT Internal Omnibus Network. You can buy single-trip tickets (adult AUS$4.60) or a daily ticket (adult $6.80) and students travel for half price. Or get a "MyWay' pre-purchase ticket from Action agents (including the visitors center and some newsagents), this will save you AUS$1.45 on a single fare alone.
What is the Cost of Food for One Month in Canberra?
Budget AUS$500-600 for meals mostly cooked at home with the odd lunch and drinks out
Shopping in supermarkets, expect to pay around AUS$1.50 for a liter of milk, AUS$3.50 for a loaf of bread, AUS$5.15 for 12 eggs, AUS$4.75 for a kilo of apples and AUS$5.60 for a half liter of domestic beer. In cafes and bars a cappuccino will cost around AUS$4-5 and AUS$7 for a half liter of domestic beer.
There are great local markets where you can buy and sample seasonal produce, including a Saturday morning Farmer's Market at Exhibition Park.
With so many people driving into the city each day Canberra tends to lack the 'after work' bar scene of cities like Sydney. However, there's no shortage of great places to eat and drink. Indo Café, Ground Floor Waldorf Apartments London Circuit, offers lunchboxes of tasty Indonesian inspired dishes like Gado-Gado for AUS$8, main dish curries are about AUS$18, soft drinks are AUS$2. Double Drummer, 2-4 National Circuit, Barton, is popular for food and drinks alike. It has different sorts of schnitzel, burgers, fish and pasta dishes for around AUS$10-13. There are also a number of different beers on tap.
What is the Cost of Entertainment for One Month in Canberra?
One of the great things about Canberra is the access it gives you to free, un-crowded, world class museums and galleries including Canberra Museum and Gallery, 176 London Circuit, for exhibitions of paintings and the social history of Canberra. The National Gallery of Australia houses the famous 'Ned Kelly' series by Sidney Nolan as well as extensive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.
It's also well worth taking the time to visit both Old Parliament House (AUS$2) and the new Parliament Building (you can't miss it, it has a huge flag hoisted above it on a pole nicknamed 'the coat-hanger') and the moving Australian War Memorial (donation requested) with its granite walls marking the names of the thousands who have been lost in conflict over the years.
If you do hire a bike you can cycle Canberra's new Centenary Trail, a 145 km loop that will take you through the city's urban and rural landscapes. If watching sport is more your thing, there's a range sporting events to enjoy, eg day tickets to international cricket matches start at AUS$20, more details via the cricket world cup website.
Canberra Theatre Centre, Civic Square, London Circuit is a venue for plays, dance and comedy shows. Tickets start at AUS$45 with concessions available.
Nightclubs include The Academy, 50 Bunda Street (free entry on Thursdays, AUS$10 before midnight on Saturday) and ICBM Bar, 50 Northbourne Avenue (free entry). For live music check out Mercury Bar, 38 Northbourne Avenue.
Want to Study Abroad in Canberra?
Canberra has a highly respected university. Undergraduate fees start at AUS$21,000 per annum.