How is Canberra different from Sydney?


Canberra is the rather inconspicuous capital of Australia. The metropolis is located almost in the middle of the country in the state of Australian Capital Territory in the middle of a picturesque landscape and surrounded by numerous rivers and hilly mountain ranges. The city appears simply graceful with its seat of government, at the same time there are numerous TOP museums. I'll show you the highlights of the city and tell you what you should definitely see and do.

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Top 5 things to do in Canberra

Canberra has a wide variety of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Canberra is completely wrongly underestimated and sometimes even referred to as boring. Read here which are our best sights in Canberra.

  • New Parliament House: The highlight of the city is the Australian Parliament, as it is a spectacular architecture. It is located on Capital Hill and can be visited as part of free tours (address: Parliament Drive, Capital Hill, to the website).
  • Royal Australian Mint: The largest mint in Australia is in Canberra. Here you can see impressively how coins are minted. Take a free tour of the Mint (address: Denison Street, Deakin, free entry).
  • Australian War Memorial: In the north of the city you will find the Australian War Memorial, which was erected in honor of the fallen Australian soldiers during both World Wars and the Korean War. There is also a Japanese submarine on the site that dates back to World War II and carried out an attack on Sydney Harbor (address: Treloar Crescent, Campbell).
  • National Botanic Gardens: The National Botanic Garden is located at the foot of Black Mountain near the city and has around 6,000 native plant species. Don't miss the Aboriginal Plant Trail, where you can learn more about the traditional use of plants by the Aborigines (address: Clunies Ross Street, Acton).
  • Black Mountain Tower: You can get a good overview of Canberra in Australia from the Black Mountain Tower (Telstra Tower). From a height of over 100 m you have a 360 ° panoramic view of the capital and its surroundings (address: 100 Black Mountain Drive, Acton).

Here you can find out more about the most beautiful Canberra sights.

Travel tips for Canberra

Arrival to Canberra

Canberra is only a stone's throw from Sydney by Australian standards - just under 290 km is a convenient distance to take a detour to Canberra. You can also visit Canberra on your Melbourne to Sydney route if you choose the inland route. It is approximately 670 km from Canberra to Melbourne.

Canberra Airport

The international airport is Canberra International Airport with the IATA code CBR. It is located in the Pialligo district, about 6 km from the city center. It is used by many airlines as a hub for flights to Eastern Australia and, in bad weather, as a replacement airport for flights to Sydney and Melbourne. Only a few airlines start from Canberra, including Qantas and a few low-cost airlines such as Qantas Link, Virgin Australia and Brindabella Airlines to selected destinations within the country. Read more about the transfer options from Canberra Airport to the city center or to your accommodation here.

This route from the airport to the city of Canberra is definitely too far to walk - especially with luggage, and the route is also not inviting. There are several ways to get to your accommodation in Canberra from Canberra International Airport. We'll show you the easiest, fastest or cheapest way to get to your hotel.

  • With the Airport Express Bus to Canberra: The Airport Express Bus in Canberra runs every 45 minutes from Canberra Airport to the city. It goes to: Blakey Square Russell, National Convention Center, YHA Youth Hostel, London Circuit and West Row. The journey takes around 20 minutes.
  • With the taxi from the airport to Canberra (from AUS $ 50): If you prefer to be comfortable and without detours to your accommodation, a taxi ride from the airport to Canberra suits you. The journey doesn't take long, but the fare to the city center is around AUS $ 45.
  • With a private transfer from the airport to Canberra (from 20 €): The great thing about a private transfer from Canberra airport to your accommodation is that you can book it before your arrival. So you have a fixed price that you can rely on. In addition, you will of course get a lot of insider knowledge about Canberra on your trip - if you want that. The trip starts at € 17.46 if you are traveling with 4 people. You can book this private transfer here.

Climate and best travel time for Canberra

The maritime temperate climate in Canberra ensures hot summers and sometimes very cool winters. Overall, it only rains in the city on around 106 days a year. The average daily temperatures are around 19.7 ° C, with January being the warmest month with over 30 ° C and July being the coldest month with an average of 10 ° C. Snow often falls in the nearby mountains in winter. The best time to travel to Canberra are the Australian spring and summer months from October to April.

Out and about in Canberra

Canberra is planned very generously and extensively as a garden city on a lake created for this purpose, so that the city appears very quiet and leaves enough space. However, this vastness also means that in Canberra you will need more time to get around. If you want to explore the area, you should get yourself a rental car (check out our rental car price comparison here!). If you want to explore the city by bike, you can do the Share-a-bike wheels borrow. But they are also very practical Culture Loop busesthat will take you from highlight to highlight in Canberra for free. Stops are at Parliament House, Museum of Australian Democracy, National Library, Questacon, National Museum, National Capital Exhibition, Visitors Center, National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra Museum and Gallery and the Canberra Center.

Things to do in Canberra

  • Hot air balloon flight at sunrise: The absolute highlight is a flight over Canberra in a hot air balloon. You can enjoy the sunrise and watch the city wake up with its lakes and parks in the middle of the bushland. (To buy online)
  • Canberra bike tour: Canberra is a very sprawling city. You can explore them relaxed on a bike tour. You can rent the bikes at one of the Share-a-bike stations or at the Canberra Visitors Center on Barrine Drive.
  • First Australians tour: Even if entry to the National Museum of Australia is free, we can only recommend the First Australians tour. Here you will find a lot of background information about the history of Australia and the cultures of the indigenous people (online tour purchase).
  • Tour of the New Parliament House: A visit to Canberra would be incomplete without exploring the Parliament building on Capital Hill. Free tours of the building are offered. The best day for this is Friday as there are no meetings here.
  • Sunset Cinema in the Botanical Gardens: In the summer months, the Sunset Cinema takes place on the Eucalypt Lawn in the Australian National Botanic Gardens. (Address: Clunies Ross Street, Acton, to website)

The locals appreciate the mild climate, which also makes the city a pleasant place to stay for visitors. The city also scores with its proximity to nature and various landscapes such as steppes, bush forests and mountains. In summer the numerous lakes in the area of ​​Canberra are ideal for swimming, while in winter the Snowy Mountains for skiing invite. The high point of the year is the so-called Floriade Festival, which is celebrated from mid-September to mid-October and is a colorful spectacle. That is also worth a visit Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve near Canberras. The original bush landscape can be admired here, while a visitor center provides information about the landscape. The park is ideal for hiking and is home to a large number of birds. Many of them are so trusting that they let humans feed them. The is located on Lady Denman Drive National Aquarium and Wildlife Park, in which regional fish from freshwater and the sea can be admired and researched.

Eating & drinking in Canberra

On my first visit to Canberra, I was just amazed. I wasn't expecting anything because I was told that the city was a bit rough and rather sleepy. But I was taught better. Great bars, cafes and restaurants make Canberra a city with demands for which you should plan a day more than less. Read our culinary tips here.

Cafes in Canberra

You can find cafes in the center of the capital of Australia on almost every corner. We'll show you which institutions we like - and where the coffee really tastes.

  • Coffee Lab: This little café has a nice atmosphere. You can have a good breakfast here or simply enjoy one of the coffee specialties (address: Canberra Center, 26 Narellan Place, Canberra).
  • RYE Café: You should definitely try the Affogato here - the Espresso on Ice is a delicious affair. In addition to breakfast, you can also have a good lunch here. (Address: 9 Lonsdale Street, Braddon)

The best bars in Canberra

  • Hippo Co: One of the hippest bars in Canberra is Hippo Co. Blues awaits you on Mondays and live jazz on Wednesdays. Enjoy good cocktails or whiskey with it - the selection is one of the best in Australia (address: 1/17 Garema Place, Canberra).
  • 88mph: Back to the 80s it says in the 88mph. Here you can celebrate in the style of the 80s. Sing karaoke, dance to the beats of the 80s or enjoy a good drink. (Address: 8-10 Hobart Place, Canberra)

Restaurants in Canberra

  • Bar Rochford: Strictly speaking, the Rochford bar is a wine and cocktail bar. However, we think the location and the dishes are so great that we count them among our favorite restaurants (address: 65 London Circuit, 1st floor, Canberra, website).
  • pilot: This really stylish restaurant deserves a lot of praise. You should try the Shares Menu here, which is brought to the table on a daily basis. (Address: 1 Wakefield Gardens, Ainslie)
  • Raku dining: You can have a really good Japanese meal at Raku Dining. The modern restaurant even has moderate prices. Try the honetsuki ramu niku (lamb). (Address: 148 Bunda Street)

Art, culture and museums in Canberra

  • National Capital Exhibition: If you are interested in the urban development of Canberra, you should visit the National Capital Exhibition at Regatta Point. Here you will find an exhibition on the subject of urban development. Every day at 11 a.m. you can attend a free tour. One of the oldest houses, Blundell’s Farmhouse, built in 1858, can also be visited (address: Barrine Drive, Regatta Point, Commonwealth Park).
  • National Museum of Australia: Beautifully located on Lake Burley Griffin, you can learn a lot about Aboriginal culture and Australian history at the National Museum of Australia. Admission is free, a donation is requested (address: Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula).
  • National Gallery of Australia (NGA): The National Gallery is well worth a visit if you want to see paintings and art from the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition to changing exhibitions, the focus is on Aboriginal art, Australian and European art as well as traditional art from Southeast Asia (address: Parkes Place, Parkes).
  • Questacon: Just south of Lake Burley Griffins is the Canberra Museum of Technology (Address: King Edward Terrace, Parkes, website)
  • National Dinosaur Museum: Families watch out! If you're a dinosaur fanatic, don't miss the largest exhibition of prehistoric finds in the southern hemisphere! Here you can also learn more about the development of human life, of course very centrally with many dinosaur replicas (address: 6 Gold Creek Road, Nicholls, website).

Canberra facts

Canberra's city plan was planned by landscape architect Walter Barley Griffin as a result of an international architecture competition in 1911. But why did Canberra become the capital of Australia? The reason is obvious. Neither Melbourne nor Sydney allowed the other metropolis to become the capital of Australia. "When two people argue, Canberra is happy" - the city was conceived as a garden city in 1913 and comprises extensive and natural areas that come together in the Canberra Natural Park. After the Second World War, the population grew rapidly, so that the city has almost 400,000 inhabitants today. Canberra has been the official capital of Australia since May 9, 1927.

How is Canberra structured?

Canberra is made possible by the Snowy Mountains to the west and determined by dense forests, nature reserves and numerous rivers. The city itself becomes through the Lake Burley Griffin in a north half around the London Circuit and a south half around the Capital Hill divided. Even when planning on the drawing board, Canberra was also divided into various hierarchical areas. The centrally located city center, the city center, forms the top of the hierarchy, followed by the four city centers Woden, Tuggeranong, Belconnen and Gungahlin with other district areas. At least one federal ministry and other important institutions of daily life are located here. There are also the local suburbs, which are exclusively residential areas. In addition, three industrial areas have been created around Canberra on the edge of the settlements and there are also relatively small village communities.

All constitutional bodies and ministries have their seat in the capital and the imposing buildings not only define the cityscape but are also Canberra's most popular sights. The city center between Commonwealth Avenue, Kings Avenue and Constitution Avenue is therefore the visual and most important center. On this axis one finds the Capital Hill in the south, the City Hill in the northwest and in the northeast the Australian-American War Memorial as well as the building of the Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial. Even if Canberra itself has less flair to offer than other metropolises in Australia, it is a popular tourist destination.

Hotel tips Canberra

There are many high-ranking politicians in Canberra, which is why there are many great accommodations here. But even for those on a budget, there are hotels in Canberra that are affordable and good. If you are only in town for a short time, you should look for your accommodation in the northern area in the districts of Braddon or Acton, because here you are centrally located with the shops and close to good restaurants, pubs and cafes.

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