9 May 2010


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I’ve never been to ACT before and know nothing about it and am heavilly considering taking a job in Canberra. Can anyone help me by giving me an idea of which suburbs are best to live in (thinking modern 1 bed apartment). I don’t know anyone there nor do I know anyone who has lived there. I have looked on realestate.com.au but it isn’t really helpful when you have no clue. I don’t know what there is to do etc.

I’d appreciate any advice!!!!

Thank you

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thatsnotme said :

When it comes to Canberra, it can be difficult to get an unbiased opinion. At least if you have some idea of how this place fits together, you may be able to seperate the good from the bad opinions you’ll almost certainly get.

what, thatsnotme?? an unbiased opinion on the riotact?? where?

Gungahlin Al9:56 am 10 May 10

Canberra is a wonderful place to live and particularly to bring up kids. Everywhere you drive is a picture postcard view. There are stacks of things to do every weekend if you have kids, and plenty if you don’t – particularly if you enjoy ‘brain food’ – free lectures at ANU by world leaders in various fields are frequent.

But be prepared for the reality that anything that involves exchange of money means you as a high paid public servant (which appears to be the assumption of every business and government agency here)can afford to pay far higher prices than anyway else in this country.

Construction will start soon on some quite nice (from the plans) apartments on Flemington Road in Harrison. Although I wouldn’t want one of the ones facing west and overlooking what will be a very busy transport corridor. See the DA on actpla.act.gov.au. (The one that expired last week not the crap one that expires today.)

As for cold, as a Queenslander myself who ran away from the growing claustrophobia of the Sunshine Coast, I have found no problem adapting, and seem to feel the cold far less than locals. Outdoors, the cold is simply a state of clothing, and that said, I’ve never even felt the need to wear thermals in Canberra. Indoors, my hypothesis is that most of the people who complain about cold live in crappy old homes with energy efficiency ratings of near zero, and they are lucky to survive to ANZAC Day without cranking up the central heating. We are in a 6+ star home and it is ANZAC Day + 15 and still not even looked like needing heating. Anyway – it means the snow is nice and close.

Thatsnotme’s advice is good.

Honestly, if you’re seriously considering upping and moving to a city you’re never been to, why don’t you take a week off – a long weekend if that’s all you can afford – and actually visit for a bit? Get a bit of an idea of how the city is laid out, where stuff is, what there is to do, etc etc?

When it comes to Canberra, it can be difficult to get an unbiased opinion. At least if you have some idea of how this place fits together, you may be able to seperate the good from the bad opinions you’ll almost certainly get.

What is there to do? The same stuff as in any other place. Hang out with friends, go to restaurants, movies, shopping, have a picnic, see a band, ride your bike, walk the dog, fly a kite. In addition we have free national attractions(museum, war memorial), bush nearby, beach, snow and Sydney within 3 hours.

If you’re working in the Parliamentary Triangle and you’re young and single, you’d probably prefer living in Kingston or elsewhere in the inner south. Start looking here.

What do all the other 20 somethings do? Well, going by the coverage in the Canberra Times and elsewhere, get drunk and then violent. I’m kidding, this happens to some degree, but I am mainly being facetious (it’s an RA tradition ;))

There are a number of nightclubs/pubs around in Civic, Kingston and (maybe) elsewhere. Canberra’s restaurants are generally of a good standard, and some are excellent. We have a lot of markets around on weekends, and there are various festivals on across the year. And much to many people’s surprise, Canberra is also fairly multicultural.

Having said that, this city is not that big, so it won’t feel like Sydney or Melbourne despite being the capital. Much of what happens is low-key, and you’ll enjoy Canberra better if you join in with things going on – i.e in clubs and/or volunteering at stuff that takes your fancy.

Housing – start looking now, it’s very overvalued for both buying and rentals. Starting off in a share house may be a good idea until you know your way around.

Weather – it does get cold, but even in winter much of the time, it is clear and sunny….which allows people to get out cycling, walking etc. It also helps us to develop a strong appreciation for spring!

Hope you get the job, and good luck. We’ll be happy to tease you again next time you visit the website 😛

Holden Caulfield8:26 pm 09 May 10

We have less Queenslanders here, so you’ll find it’s actually a pretty nice place to live.

Thanks for all of your comments. Much appreciated. In a answer to a few questions: I do intend to drive – not catch the bus. The position would be in parliamentary triangle. I am actually living on the Sunshine Coast at the moment, not Brisbane. There is nothing to do on the SC, so am not too concerned about a lack of the same in Canberra. Is there really that little to do though?! What do all the other 20 somethings do?! As for seafood… I don’t eat it so not too bummed about that 🙂 I am concerned about being freezing all the time but on the upside, means I get to wear awesome jackets, boots etc which I can’t do here 🙂

Thanks again for all of your comments! Please keep them coming!

Bring your warm clothing. It gets cold. Canberra is a lovely place as long as you don’t live on the other side of the lake. Yarralumla is where you want to be.

Don’t get to worried about the budget. They are always gutting the Public Service in Canberra. More work for the private sector.

I’d also second the suggestions for inner north (for apartments, particularly City, Turner & Braddon) and inner south (particularly Kingston, Manuka, Barton) – depending on which is closer to your job. Ideally you want to be able to walk to work.

sexynotsmart3:28 pm 09 May 10

My recommendation would be… stay in Brisbane.

The Australian Public Service is going to be gutted next Budget (not the one on Tuesday) no matter which mob wins the election. And ‘Gershon’ activity means material chunk of IT work will be relocated, which means all the service and outsourcing companies will ‘rebalance’.

In Brisbane, both the seafood and the nightlife are better and cheaper. The work opportunities are broader because it’s not a “company town”. But most importantly, the weather is warmer and the women wear less.

On the other hand, Canberra has much better commute times.

IMH – be prepared for a bit of a shock at the prices you will find for real estate here. It is significantly higher than Brisbane or most places in QLD – that is because in part we have higher taxes and real estate prices for similar properties. As said above allhomes is the best site for ACT.

If you want something in the City centre a 1br is around $350+ although the further north you go (Dickson, Downe, Watson etc) the prices should drop, Kingston and Manuka would be the next option, then Woden and Belconnen as arescarti suggested. Most town centres have cafes and the like for evening entertainment although Civic, Manuka and Kingston are probably the best.

Also will you drive or be catching busses. Town centres are better if you are catching buses – bus routes can be found at http://www.action.act.gov.au/default.html with some good arterial routes called redex to watch out for.

Oh and Riotact is a good place for sarcasm just so we all don’t take ourselves too seriously. As a southsider I couldn’t possibly support Oysters comments re Charnwood – I could start a war about which side of the lake is better but I will be good!

screaming banshee9:15 am 09 May 10

Allhomes is the best website for researching Canberra and surrounds properties.

Depending on how much you intend to spend on a 1 beddy but you’ll have a bit of choice. What suburb is the job?

A Noisy Noise Annoys An Oyster said :

Charnwood is by far the most prestigious, high-brow suburb in Canberra. Centrally located and full of sophisticated people as well. The residences are high quality and the natural bushland has a bosky, highlands feel about it.

Ha! Good One ANNAAO.

I wont be the first one to say it, but the website you want for real estate is http://www.allhomes.com.au, which will give you a very good idea of the market here.

Canberra is split up into several districts, each with their own Town Centre. They are, in order of size: Canberra City (Civic), Woden, Belconnen, Tuggeranong, and Gungahlin.

If you don’t want/can’t afford to live in the city centre, then Woden and Belconnen are probably pretty good areas to start searching for an apartment.

But really, where you want to live will depend on your budget and where you are working.

you want something ‘to do’, and you’re coming to canberra? haven’t you heard all the scuttlebutt?? canberra is soooo boring, nothing to do, and nowhere to go…

nothing happens here. i say ‘here’, but no-one who posts on riotact actually has any idea about canberra; we wouldn’t go near the place, live in much more happening cities and make it up as we go along…

actually, you might be best advised for a one beddie unit to look on allhomes.com.au and look to suburbs in the inner north (braddon, turner, o’connor, ainlslie, dickson, lyneham) or inner south (kingston, manuka, griffith, forrest, red hill, narrabundah, yarralumla) and of course have a look on google maps for a bit of a sense of layout, and try to get a short term lease – or better, a serviced apartment if your new gig stretches that far – and look around when you land and see what sort of area you most dig.

it may depend on where the job is – many gov’t jobs are situated in the parliamentary triangle and inner south is closer, but you may like the north and access to the city…

good luck with the gig.

A Noisy Noise Annoys An Oyster5:46 am 09 May 10

Charnwood is by far the most prestigious, high-brow suburb in Canberra. Centrally located and full of sophisticated people as well. The residences are high quality and the natural bushland has a bosky, highlands feel about it.

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