Relocating to Canberra – Need Information Please!

bettina416 27 June 2010 44

I recently saw this website as I googled for information about Canberra. I am hoping this forum can help provide me with some information. My husband have received an offer to relocate to Canberra. We are both in our late 30’s, no children. I’ve done some research via web about Canberra, though I find that there’s not a lot of information. So, I figured the best way to get information would be from those who live in Canberra — either as a local or an expat relocated here.

Hope you can help on my queries about Canberra:

1) Life – What’s it like in terms of sights, attractions, things to do

2) Cost of Living – What would be a reasonable salary for a couple with no kids moving to Canberra? Monthly average for rental, food, utilities, transport (1 car only)?

3) Accomodations – Which area would you recommend to live in? Looking for safety, location (close to a lot of things without having to drive all the time)? Average rental rate for a 2 bedroom apartment/townhouse/duplex?

4) School – I’ve been working all my life. With this move, I have yet to find a job. However, I’m looking to go back to school to finish my graduate studies. My interests lie in: Human Resources, MBA, International Relations. Looking for a school with good balance of theory and practice, bonus if there is 1 semester that can be taken in European schools as part of curriculum. Choices are: University of Canberra or Australian National University — which is a better choice given what my interests are?

5) Websites/Links/Books – If you can recommend websites/blogs/links/books or other references where I can find out more about Canberra, that would really be helpful.

Sorry that I have so many questions. But, I would like to really know more about Canberra to help in our decision making.

Thanks in advance for taking time to read my very L-O-N-G post. Looking forward to hearing from the Canberra residents in this forum.

Cheers


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44 Responses to Relocating to Canberra – Need Information Please!
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Kerryhemsley Kerryhemsley 4:09 pm 10 Aug 10

colourful sydney racing identity said :

Alicia91 said :

I’d say don’t move here. I really dislike canberra and so does everyone else I know.
There is nothing to really do unless your into museums, art galleries, politics etc.
It is so expensive to rent and houses are expensive to buy. Then I don’t know where your moving from so it’s hard to say whether you will like it or not!The only good thing about it is peak hour traffic isn’t that busy at all!

Perhaps if you, and everyone you know (who apparently ALL dislike like Canberra) would have the decency to move away to somewhere more interesting like, say, Dubbo, people who want to live here would be rewarded in two ways, the doubling of the average IQ and a reduction in demand for housing which would reduce rental prices.

It is win-win – if you like I will charter a bus for you.

Having lived a long time in Canberra it still makes me laugh at how sensitive,defensive and parochial its born and breds are.

colourful sydney racing identity colourful sydney racing identity 8:55 am 09 Jul 10

Alicia91 said :

I’d say don’t move here. I really dislike canberra and so does everyone else I know.
There is nothing to really do unless your into museums, art galleries, politics etc.
It is so expensive to rent and houses are expensive to buy. Then I don’t know where your moving from so it’s hard to say whether you will like it or not!The only good thing about it is peak hour traffic isn’t that busy at all!

Perhaps if you, and everyone you know (who apparently ALL dislike like Canberra) would have the decency to move away to somewhere more interesting like, say, Dubbo, people who want to live here would be rewarded in two ways, the doubling of the average IQ and a reduction in demand for housing which would reduce rental prices.

It is win-win – if you like I will charter a bus for you.

Alicia91 Alicia91 6:20 pm 08 Jul 10

I’d say don’t move here. I really dislike canberra and so does everyone else I know.
There is nothing to really do unless your into museums, art galleries, politics etc.
It is so expensive to rent and houses are expensive to buy. Then I don’t know where your moving from so it’s hard to say whether you will like it or not!The only good thing about it is peak hour traffic isn’t that busy at all!

bettina416 bettina416 6:34 pm 29 Jun 10

@ Clown Killer and Sepi — Thanks for the many useful tips!
@ Kath — Thank you for letting me know that the bus route. I wondered about that, especially since my only form of transport for a while would be a bus.

Kath Kath 4:43 pm 29 Jun 10

Something else to keep in mind when you’re looking at rentals is that both the ANU and UC are on the main intertown bus route which runs through the town centres from Tuggeranong to Woden to the city (which everyone calls Civic, but that isn’t marked on the map!) to Belconnen, so you could easily get a slightly cheaper place in Belconnen and hop onto a bus for 20 min to get to classes at the ANU (or vice versa).

sepi sepi 2:19 pm 29 Jun 10

Hmm – some home truths about Canb erra

– freezing cold in winter – although sunny. You will need real winter clothes, not just a few more layers of jumpers and a coat. you will need thick wool hiking type socks, jeans (forget skirts and stockings during winter), boots, and a real parka type jacket (forget cool looking overcoats or wool jackets – buy something that looks like ski wear = it will keep you warm.) Also a beanie, scarf and gloves.

– despite the cold it is sunny here – don’t hole up inside in winter – buy proper clothes and keep going out and about.

– rent is phenomenally expensive, and rentals are hard to get – a lot of other people are looking too, especially around February when all the students arrive.

– unless you live right near civic, woden or another major centre a car is essential.

– canberra is mostly anglo white people – ANU has a bit more diversity.

– there is not a lot to do without seeking it out and planning things in advance – the city centre is dead as a doornail on weekends and after hours. there is a lot going on, but you have to seek it out.

– the buildings are mainly 50s and 60s and onwards – not a lot of charm.

– on the positive side there are major institutions like the national gallery etc

– there is loads of open space and places to see nature, gum trees, kangaroos, parrots etc.

– downside – there are a lot of bugs and spiders around – and the odd snake, although this is pretty rare really.

– food is expensive, services (plumbers etc) are expensive and hard to get. Taxis are very expensive and hard to find. Buses are the same.

– Canberra does have loads of good restaurants, and also good theatre. The main thing with theatre is that shows that run for months in Syd and Melb only come here for a week, so you have to actually plan ahead to see them.

– Canberra is 3 hours drive to Sydney (or a bit more). some ‘new’ people just spend every weekend in Sydney. It is hard to get to know Canberra that way tho.

– Big tip – if you want to make friends with existing Canberrans, do not keep endlessly talking about how where you have just come from was much better/warmer/more exciting and going on about how you hate Canberra. (To be fair it seems to be mainly beach loving queenslanders and nightclubbing youngsters from Sydney who do this).

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 1:18 pm 29 Jun 10

CK

You forgot: learn to drive in the right hand lane, slowly. You’ll soon build up a tail of happy motorists appreciating your skills, and celebrating by flashing their lights and beeeping their horns.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 12:06 pm 29 Jun 10

Here’s some tips that will help you fit in when you get here:

Take your car to the mechanics and get them to remove the indicator stalk from the steering column – you won’t be needing it.

Try to find somewhere to live that’s right in the middle of everything – close to all the vibrant bars, cafe’s and nightlife – then once you’ve settled in – make complaints about the noise, and crowds and lack of free parking.

On the drive down from Sydney, get into the mood for driving on Canberra’s roads by tail-gating other cars, or better still overtake them and then drop back to about 5k’s under the speed limit.

When you go out to a restaurant with friends make sure you split the bill forensically – down to who had how many pieces of garlic bread – oh, and regardless of how good the meal and service has been – never tip more than a few coins.

Don’t bother signing up on the electoral roll – your vote doesn’t count in this town.

Start ‘acclimatising’ yourself to Canberra prices by paying an extra 15-20% every time you use a cab, buy a coffee or pay the rates.

If you need new furniture, the best value and service can be found at Frisco Furniture.

The easiest way to order wood-fired pizzas is on line.

I’m sure there’s more …

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 10:44 am 29 Jun 10

Having watched the video, I think you’ll enjoy Canberra.

bettina416 bettina416 10:04 am 29 Jun 10
bettina416 bettina416 10:01 am 29 Jun 10

Pommy Bastard and Woody Mann-Caruso: By rainy, I meant lots of rain. Being a tropical country, we only have two seasons: dry at 22-37C (Nov-May) and wet at 22-25C (June-Oct). Throughout the year, average temp is 27C. Due to the worldwide climate change, sometimes we get rains even during the dry season… but in general it follows that pattern.

Manila (actually, the rest of the Philippines) is now entering the typhoon season. An average of 7-8 typhoons (tropical cyclone know as “bagyo) hit the Philippines every year. Typhoons carry with them strong winds ranging from 55km – 185 kms per hour, and average rainfall 81.1 in per year or 7in per month. Last Sept 2009, we experienced typhoon Ondoy (typhoon Ketsana, in the international arena), a massive storm, bringing 2 months equivalent of rainfall in 24 hours. It brought a lot of damage to property and lives. The same tyhpoon devastated Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 8:58 am 29 Jun 10

What is this “rain” of which you speak?

I think it’s a noodle dish. Or maybe a kind of bus.

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 8:03 am 29 Jun 10

bettina416 said :

Cheers from rainy Manila!

What is this “rain” of which you speak?

bettina416 bettina416 1:13 am 29 Jun 10

Hi Everyone — Thank you so much for taking time to respond to my post. I really appreciate the information that you have provided me. Special thanks to PeterW and Cegee for the websites, Astrojax for clarifying the confusing energy efficiency ratings. Beau Locks, Woody Mann-Caruso and Ryoma, I really appreciate the perspective that you’ve given. It helps to have that baseline.

From what it sounds like, I feel that living in Canberra (as with all other places) will entail an adjustment on my part. But, nothing that will kill me. ;)= Besides, if I’ve managed to live thru Manila’s traffic-laden streets , polluted air and toxic lifestyle, Canberra will be paradise! :)= Thank you all for the help!

I will keep you posted on developments! Oh, and will be back with more questions if I think of anything else.

Cheers from rainy Manila!

Ryoma Ryoma 8:26 pm 28 Jun 10

Hi Bettina

I think most of the replies above have answered your questions, but I love the sound of my own voice 😉

First thing – my wife is Japanese. She has run into low-level racism here, but it’s more of the ignoring her variety than aggressive. As she came from a city of millions (like Manila), her first reaction to Canberra was shock – “that’s all of it?”.

For the first few months she complained (we’d moved up from Melbourne), and then one day she and her friends went to Sydney for the day. She was very excited before she left, but on her return she gave me a big hug – and said loudly: “I LOVE Canberra!”

I was amused at this turn of events, so I asked why. She said ” We went to Sydney, and I thought it would be be exciting. It was OK, but it was also loud, noisy, crowded,expensive, and the people were so rude”. (Please note, this was what she said,not my own opinion). “Canberra is green, and has birds, and people are mostly nice, and I don’t get lost – I am glad we live here”.

Second point – Canberrans come from all over both Australia and the world. This website gives you a good indication of what it’s like: people are willing to both help newcomers like yourself, but also to get stuck into each other, and to debate things passionately. If you read other Riot Act posts, you’ll see that the conversation is not always scintillating – but it is almost always honest and off-the-cuff.

I hope, if you do come, that you enjoy your time here. Welcome 🙂

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 2:51 pm 28 Jun 10

ask the people of flynn, holt, parts of kambah, and all the other suburbs that have had their school closed if they think this is a true statement.

Yes, that’s a very fair point. Future possible immigrants, take note: if you live in one of the more out-of-the-way streets Flynn, Holt or Kambah, your nearest public primary school will be between 450m and 2km away.

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 2:40 pm 28 Jun 10

You know how bad a music scene can get when a mentioned highlight is the fourth rate wannabees “Garbage” touring here ten years after their heyday…

LMR LMR 1:48 pm 28 Jun 10

Dammit, that should say:

grunge_hippy said:

I hate when Im such a n00b.

LMR LMR 1:42 pm 28 Jun 10
Monster of the Deep Monster of the Deep 1:32 pm 28 Jun 10

ConanOfCooma said :

Monster of the Deep said :

Also, touring bands just don’t come to Canberra. They bypass us in favour of Sydney because there’s no visible music scene here.

That’s not true. Venues in Canberra have piss poor capacity, and generally suck. Not to mention that outdoor events can only be held during certain parts of the year due to the weather…

Yeah, that too. The band Garbage came to Canberra and performed at the Royal Theatre. There were just some plastic school chairs scattered around the floor, and the lighting and sound people kept screwing up. It was embarrassing, and the singer called them out on it.

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