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About Canberra

Canberra is the Australian national capital. It is a modern city, set within extensive parks and gardens. Discover national attractions and cultural institutions which house our shared history, culture, flora, art, knowledge, law and identity with regular displays, tours and exhibitions.

With a bustling calendar of events, festivals, exhibitions and tours, Canberra has so much to see and do in a compact and connected capital awaiting your visit. Our climate and geography provides four distinct seasons and allows the region to produce excellent food and wine which you can enjoy in our stylish restaurants, cafes, bars and shops. An extensive network of parks and nature reserves linked by walking trails and cycle ways offer wonderful recreation, exploration and rejuvenation opportunities.

Australia’s nation’s capital is the ideal place to stay while exploring the many treasures of the surrounding region on a drive holiday. The sapphire blue waters and beaches of the South Coast, the rural tranquillity of Southern Highlands and the highest alpine peaks in the Snowy Mountains are within a comfortable day’s driving distance of the city. The region is home to historic townships, unspoilt nature, excellent wineries, world-class arts and crafts and gourmet produce. So come, stay a while and enjoy all Australia’s capital city and surrounding region has to offer.

Follow the links and see for yourself more of Canberra and the surrounding region with facts to help plan your trip, how to get here and get around and how to enjoy the best of the nation’s capital. Start by downloading and installing the free Canberra Visitor Guide app for Android and Apple devices.

History of 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 and his wife Marion Mahony Griffin, both Chicago architects, who won an international design competition to design the capital.

The provisional Parliament House opened in 1927 in what was then a treeless paddock. Since then, Canberra has grown into a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with national attractions which house the heritage, history and cultural collections of the nation. For more information on Canberra’s history, visit nationalcapital.gov.au.

Dining Out in Canberra

Canberra is a great treat for food lovers. The city is often reputed to have the highest number of restaurants per capita in Australia. Staff are attentive and friendly. Most eateries and dining venues are wheelchair accessible.

Relax in modern cafes, hip eateries and pop up dining venues. Experience ‘hatted’ and nationally awarded restaurants with innovative cuisine using local Canberra district produce.  Canberra chefs honour local ingredients as much as our local dishes and follow a genuine appreciation of international cuisine. Restaurants happily cater for diners with dietary preferences like vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and paleo.

In addition to our restaurants, Canberra is blessed with great coffee roasting houses, cafes and bars, options for cheap eats, superb bakeries, chocolatiers and providores all providing delicacies and dishes to delight.

Click here to see the wide range of Canberra dining options.

Getting Around Canberra

Your options to explore Canberra include public transport, taxi, self drive, hire a car or book a tour. You can travel from one side of the city to the other in just forty minutes. For those who love fresh, clean air, walk the capital or hire a bicycle.

Canberra Retail Shopping Hours

Canberra has 5 main malls located across the city: Belconnen & Woden Westfields, the Canberra Centre, the Tuggeranong Hyperdome and the Gungahlin Marketplace. Canberra is also home to a variety of farmers’, fresh food and handmade markets, The Canberra Outlet Centre, an Ikea and Costco, as well as a large range of independent retailers.

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 and in the nearby city of Queanbeyan.

 

Canberra Summer Weather

Grab your hat and don short sleeves. Canberra’s 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 low humidity, followed by cooler nights.

Season Average Min* Average Max*
Spring: 6 (40) 19 (66)
Summer: 12 (54) 27 (81)
Autumn: 7 (45) 20 (68)
Winter: 1 (34) 12 (54)

* Degrees Celsius (Degrees Fahrenheit in brackets)

Check the weather page for daily Canberra forecasts, sun strength (UV rating) and weather warnings.

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