You published an article this week on news.com.au saying that Canberra is not the best city in the world, despite the OECD saying so.
We all think it was a bit mean, but we’re used to Canberra bashing so we can take it – well, most of us can anyway. However, your article presented a very one-sided view of Canberra. You said you lived here in 2004. That was 10 years ago. Canberra has changed a lot since then – how often do you come back?
I know you describe our roundabouts as befuddling, and you complain about how long it takes for the traffic lights to change but I will happily take these any day instead of dealing with Sydney or Melbourne’s road problems.
Our roundabouts can be confusing at first, but if you take a wrong turn just drive for 100 metres and you’ll find another roundabout where you can turn around and be back on your way (you’ll never get lost on William Slim Drive). Try doing that in Sydney – you’ll be greeted with a plethora of one way roads and streets that lead to nowhere.
Some traffic lights in Canberra are slow. Some lights in Sydney and Melbourne are faster. We know. But it will still take you longer to get to your destination in Sydney, even with the fast traffic lights. Canberra’s peak hour lasts about 15 minutes and you can drive anywhere in Canberra and it will take you 20 minutes. How’s that for maximum efficiency.
We have great restaurants in Canberra, and we have the most restaurants per capita in Australia. Talk about being spoilt for choice. Next time you decide to pay us a visit, why not take a meal at Ottoman in Barton, eightysix in Braddon, or a delicious brunch at Pod Food or Poachers Pantry? I guarantee they will exceed your expectations. It’s not impossible to get a last-minute booking either.
Our scenery is the best. We have so many luscious trees and beautiful wildlife, a lovely view of the mountains and the best sunsets. We breathe clean, fresh air and the sun always seems to be shining. Our winter is freezing, but who doesn’t love an excuse to rug up in front of a fireplace? Our spring is magnificent – blossoms everywhere you look and the smell of summer is in the air.
Don’t bash Canberra for reasons that have no basis, and don’t encourage your readers to do the same – spend some time here, and I mean proper time here. Not passing through on your way to Sydney or Melbourne, not for a business-related day trip. You have to fully experience Canberra to appreciate its charm.
I’m sorry that you’re not a fan of our wonderful city, but we don’t mind keeping Canberra to ourselves – I’m happy to keep the privilege of a 10 minute commute to work, walking straight into an amazing restaurant for dinner, and being able to breathe fresh air. You’re the one missing out.
Alex (and everyone else in Canberra)