Canberra is a city unique to both Australia and the world as it was established and designed with a specific purpose in mind: to serve as the capital of the nation.
It’s also Australia’s only non-coastal state capital and is surrounded by forest, nature reserves and farmland, which has earned it the nickname ‘The Bush Capital’.
- Location: Canberra is the focal point of the Australian Capital Territory, which sits within the borders of New South Wales and is located about halfway between Sydney and Melbourne
- Population: 390,000
- Size: 2,358 km2
Canberra is relatively cool by Australian standards and has a mostly dry climate.
- Summer average: 20°C
- Winter average: 7°C
- Average rainfall: 600 mm
working in canberra
Canberra has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and the highest level of average disposable income of any state capital.
Canberra’s main industry is public administration and safety, houses the headquarters of a number of notable public service agencies including the Australian Defence Force.
While the national and state governments are strong contributors to the city’s economy, over half the workforce is employed in the private sector, and there are more than 25,000 businesses in the region.
studying in canberra
Canberra has a substantial student population and a low median age compared to the rest of the country. A quarter of the population come from overseas which means a multicultural environment that’s a strong drawcard for international students.
Canberra has five major universities, including the University of Canberra and the Australian National University (which was also Australia’s highest ranked university in the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings for 2013/14).
The Australian Catholic University is open to students of all faiths and its relatively small class sizes give it a friendly vibe. Charles Sturt University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in theology.
The University of New South Wales also has a campus in Canberra and offers tertiary education to officers of the Australian Defence Force and the armed services of Australia’s regional neighbours.
housing and property
Since January 2016 Canberra is now the third most expensive city in Australia, with housing costing AUD $657,000 on average and rent setting people back approximately $500 per week.
Buses are Canberra’s primary means of public transportation and the network is known to be one of the best in Australia (plus relatively inexpensive).
Canberra’s government is also introducing a light rail service to be integrated with the bus system. Transport Canberra, the city’s public transport management service, will be overseeing this project, which planners hope will reduce traffic.
the australian capital territory
The ACT sits within New South Wales (although it operates as its own territory).
As well as housing the national capital, beautiful expanses of national park can be found, such as Namadgi National Park.
Much of the culture and economy in the ACT is focused on government as it’s the location of Australia’s Parliament House. Because of this, the tourism industry is also a strong contributor to the state economy.
The ACT is cooler than much of Australia’s coastal and desert lands, and has a small but friendly population.