All you need to know to move to or visit the city of Canberra
Canberra? Raise your hand whoever knew that it's the capital of Australia.
If you were to talk to Italians in Australia, Canberra would not even deserve a visit for a day or two, but here is a very recent article that mentions the city and rewards it with the third best city in the world to visit in 2018.
And the author is none other than "Lonely Planet”.
Although it has (just) over 300,000 inhabitants, Canberra is the largest city in the Australian outback and is located, from the administrative point, in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
It was chosen as the national capital (it was actually designed precisely for this purpose) in 1908 to put an end to the dispute between Melbourne and Sydney.
Home to the Australian Government, Parliament, the High Court of Australia and many other government institutions, Canberra is in effect the political and administrative center of Australia. Suffice it to mention that the federal government offers work to a large part of the population and contributes to most of the gross domestic product (GDP).
Located near the Brindabella mountain range, Canberra occupies an area of just over 800 square kilometers.
The city is surrounded by woods, mainly eucalyptus and Savannah.
(While on a bus ride from Sydney to Canberra it's possible to admire these landscapes, which include bush, a sort of Savannah and real dense woodland. If you are an early riser you may even get to see the sunrise).
Main geographical elements:
- Mount Taylor is the highest point in Canberra;
- The Molonglo River flows through the city and, through a series of dams, it forms Lake Burley Griffin, located right in the city center;
- Canberra has an altitude ranging between 550 and 700 meters.
What's the weather like in Canberra? Well, unlike almost all other major Australian cities, Canberra is located on a hill and far from the coast, which is why summers can be very hot and dry, and winters can be quite cold (compared to other Australian cities) with frequent fogs and frosts.
Why is it called Canberra? Aside from the English town of Canberry, there is a more suggestive motive. The word Ngunnawal Kambera means "meeting point". It seems, in fact, that in ancient times the area often hosted a ceremony for the migration of the Ngunnawal and the transit of swarms and butterflies.
Highlights of the history of Canberra:
- The colonization of the area occurred during 4 exploration expeditions from 1820 to 1824;
- The settlement was named "Canberry" in 1826;
- Canberra was chosen as the capital to end the dispute between Sydney and Melbourne in 1908;
- The winning design project for the city was won in 1913 by Walter Burley Griffin;
- Every second Monday of March they celebrate Canberra Day, the anniversary of the foundation;
- On May 9, 1988, the definitive Parliament building on Capital Hill was inaugurated - the provisional parliament, now called "the old Parliament", now hosts the Museum of Australian Democracy.
Things to see
Ideal for biking, Canberra offers many attractions to visit and parks to explore.
- Take part in a guided tour of the Australian War Museum -;
- Visit the Museum of Science - Questacon;
- Visit the Parliament - and go up to the panoramic roof;
- Discover the history of Australian democracy inside the "Old Parliament”.
Things to do
Here are some suggestions about things to do in the Australian capital
- Explore the National Public Library;
- Go for a stroll along the Griffin lake;
- Enjoy a cup of hot tea (in winter) or a cool drink (in summer) in the heart of Canberra at White Rabbit.
One thing is for sure: Canberra has never been, is not, and will never be the first choice for the Italians who decide to move to Australia. In addition to having no beach, the connections are not the best (there are no trains).
However, let's try to look at the positive side of this city, which boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world (about 3%).
As aforementioned, Canberra was designed by the American architect Griffin who was inspired by the "garden cities" to build the "ideal city". Nowadays, Canberra is divided into two sections by Lake Griffin, with "Capital Hill", the administrative and political heart of the city that encompasses the Parliament and the main attractions of the city, in the center.
Being an ever-growing city, as can be noticed from the number of construction sites and work in progress all around it, there are plenty of employment opportunities and the competition is less tough compared to cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.
Unlike many who have been in Australia for years and have never visited the capital, I highly recommend that you spend at least a day or two in Canberra, if your finances and time allow it.
"In one day, making the most of my time, I was able to see almost everything, walking a lot and letting myself be guided by the city. Trivia: from the Australian War Museum you can see the Parliament and vice versa. A worthy view and, for the history aficionados, priceless”.
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