Discover Canberra
"Little Switzerland" in the center of Australia

A city with a mild climate and a cozy atmosphere


More than 400,000 people live in Canberra. The capital's status and privileges attract people from various fields, as it's easier to find high-paying jobs here. Most of the people who come here are from Germany, Italy, Vietnam, and Russia; over 20% of Canberra's residents are immigrants. In general, there are a lot of young people here. The average age of citizens is 30 years old, and those who are over 65 comprise only a little over 8%. The language of communication is English but Italian, Chinese, Croatian, and Greek are also common.

Brief history

Canberra was laid out in 1908. It was built to settle a dispute between Melbourne and Sydney. The two cities were competing to be the capital of the Commonwealth of Australia. The winner was Canberra, the Aboriginal name for a 'meeting place'. A piece of land in the interior of the state of New South Wales was allocated for the new capital. Earlier, in the first half of the XIX century, the Australian tribes Ngunnawal and Walgalu lived here.

The plan for the city was developed by the architectural couple from Chicago, Walter Burley and Marion Mahony Griffin. According to their concept, the basic design of the streets and squares was to be a "garden city", where green spaces occupied the majority of the territory. And so it happened. There's so much natural vegetation that the Australians call Canberra their 'Forest Capital'. It's surrounded by nature parks, wildlife refuges, and wilderness areas.

Up until the Great Depression (world economic crisis of 1929-1939) and World War II, which caught up with it, Canberra had been thriving. The forced disruption caused by these events slowed things down, but after the war, the construction of homes and government buildings began apace. The city quickly recovered and became prosperous.

The best time to visit Canberra

Australian cities, including Canberra, are located along the coast, so they have a mild climate. The city is inland, so it has hotter summers and colder winters. In January, the temperature can get up to +40°C; the coldest minimum is in July, down to -10°C. The best time to travel is considered April, May, September, and October. It's less cloudy in the south and no rain in the north. Canberra hosts the Floriade Flower Festival from September to October. Thousands of flowerbeds bloom in the city during this time.

In March, the annual Balloon Festival takes place. It is considered one of the most spectacular urban festivals of the southern hemisphere. The skywalks begin in the morning and end late in the evening with a unique show of "glowing" balloons.

The Truffle Festival starts in Canberra in June. It includes harvesting these royal mushrooms, cooking classes, and tastings at local restaurants.

Useful notes

Things to do in Canberra

  • Walk the streets and explore the center and the surrounding area. Canberra is a city of extraordinary sculptures and modern buildings. In the last few years, entire neighborhoods of high-rise buildings have been built here with a completely unusual design. Glass, concrete, and wood make up such architectural compositions that people often come to see, even from Melbourne and Sydney. You won't see anything like this in other Australian cities.
  • Go cycling. It's a popular mode of transport in Canberra, and tourists often use it. The cozy, almost European beauty of the parks and gardens, surrounded on all sides by mountains, has allowed travelers to call this corner 'little Switzerland' in the center of Australia.
  • Climb to the top of Black Mountain and enjoy panoramic views from a height of 195 meters. There is a telecommunications tower with three viewing platforms and a revolving restaurant.
  • See the rich collection of the National Botanic Gardens of Australia. It stretches over 90 hectares. Over 5.5 thousand plants are planted here. It's a unique experience to behold — a garden of rocks and wet rainforest; eucalyptus and flowering bushes; sand flora and fragrant acacia trees. You can spend a whole day here without noticing it.
  • Take in the grandeur and beauty of man-made Lake Burley Griffin and visit the James Cook Memorial. Both sites are located in the geographical center of Canberra. The lake stretches for 11 kilometers; its maximum depth is 18 meters. Basin was built in 1964 and named after the American architect who designed Canberra. The memorial is located directly beside the lake. The Queen of Great Britain, Elizabeth II, attended its opening in 1970. This area is decorated with a 147-meter fountain and park area of 3139 square kilometers.
  • Get in touch with the beauty in the National Gallery of Australia. In addition to the exhibition, the building itself, which has a very unusual angular shape, deserves attention. A sculptural garden and tropical plants surround it. The gallery has 120,000 pieces: paintings, photographs, ceramics, and more. They include works by Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol.
  • Listen to the National Carillon (Chimes) on Aspen Island in downtown Canberra. It is one of the largest bell towers in the world, with 55 bells. Each one weighs from 7 kilograms to 6 tons. The steel band can play 4.5 octaves and can play from classical compositions to folk tunes. The view from here is dizzying, with breathtaking views of Lake Burley Griffin and downtown Canberra.
  • Step inside Parliament. Canberra's Parliament Building can be visited as a free listener (take part in a session). Or you can book a private event in one of 14 dedicated rooms. It's just about the only government building that allows it.
  • Have a traditional Australian meal: Vegemite. This thick paste of yeast, barley, salt, malt extract, folic acid, and flavorings is spread on bread and crackers and used as a filling for buns. Anyone who has tasted this unusual pâté notes its strong salty taste and speaks of the similarity of Vegemite to beef broth.

Map Canberra

Hotels in Canberra

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