Raise your hand if you’d like to live somewhere central, within walking distance to shops, entertainment and local attractions. Keep it raised if you’d also like to be close to public transport, arterial roads and nature.
If your hand is still up, Belconnen in Canberra’s north could be the perfect suburb for you. With residential areas including Emu Ridge, Ginninderra Heights and newer apartment developments closer to the Town Centre, Belconnen offers diverse and convenient living options for families, students and couples.
It’s no surprise that Belconnen really is a place you can do it all – from the weekly grocery shop to dinner with friends and exploring the great outdoors.
Thinking about visiting or moving to Belconnen? Here’s what you need to know.
Belconnen is the innermost suburb of the larger district of Belconnen. It takes its name from a land grant made in the district during colonial times.
Designed as a hub for neighbouring suburbs, the suburb of Belconnen is where you’ll find Belconnen Town Centre, Lake Ginninderra and federal government offices including the Department of Home Affairs and Australian Bureau of Statistics.
High-density apartment towers are a relatively recent addition to Belconnen’s skyscape, popular with university students and public servants.
Shops and eateries
If there’s one thing that’s true about Belconnen, it’s that there’s no shortage of shops, eateries and other businesses.
As you might expect in a town centre, there’s a large shopping mall. Westfield Belconnen is the largest in the area, with three major supermarket chains plus fashion, food and entertainment. (Fun fact: when Westfield Belconnen opened as Belconnen Mall in 1978, it was the biggest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere.)
If international cuisines are your thing, The Hungry Buddha is renowned for Nepalese favourites including momos and traditional dhal baat.
For coffee, it’s difficult to go past Chatterbox Espresso Bar on Cameron Avenue. Packed with caffeine-hungry public servants on weekdays, it’s just as popular with the brunch crowd on weekends.
Places of interest and things to do
Whether you’re looking to entertain the kids, indulge in some ‘me’ time, or view some of Canberra’s most controversial public art, there’s an activity to suit everyone in and around Belconnen.
Here are some of our favourite activities in and around Belconnen:
- Tire the kids out at Little Sandpiper. If your kids have energy to burn, Little Sandpiper in Westfield Belconnen might just be the indoor children’s play centre you’ve been looking for. In addition to the usual indoor play centre attractions like a ball pit and climbing equipment, Little Sandpiper offers educational workshops and an electronic gaming area.
- See Canberra’s famous owl sculpture in the flesh. Our beloved owl sculpture has been delighting and bewildering locals and visitors alike since it was unveiled in 2011. Artist Bruce Armstrong reportedly “portrayed the owl as a guardian spirit or totem overlooking its domain.”
- Visit Canberra’s largest skate park. Belconnen Skate Park (corner of Emu Bank and Eastern Valley Way) is the biggest – and some argue best – skate park in the nation’s capital. Canberra Skateboarding Association runs regular free learn to skateboard sessions at the park, which are ideal for kids keen to pick up a new skill.
- Check out what’s happening at Belconnen Arts Centre. From exhibitions to performances and dance workshops, Belconnen Arts Centre is the centre of arts and cultural activity in the Belconnen region.
- Stock up on fresh produce at the Belconnen Markets. Whether you’re on the hunt for the tastiest in-season fruit and veg or looking for somewhere to grab a quick bite to eat, it’s hard to beat the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets. Open Wednesday through to Sunday.
Playgrounds and parks
By area, Lake Ginninderra takes up a huge portion of Belconnen real estate – and that’s good news for nature lovers. The western foreshore (access of Joynton Smith Drive) and the northern peninsula (also called Diddams Close Park) are particularly nice spots for picnics, exercise and observing the local wildlife.
Other lakeside parks in Belconnen include:
- John Knight Memorial Park (Aikman Drive). John Knight Memorial Park is on the eastern foreshores of Lake Ginninderra. It’s a picturesque spot with picnic areas, barbecue facilities, public toilets, fitness equipment, playgrounds, a disc golf course and a fixed orienteering course.
- Lake Ginninderra Dog Park (Diddams Close). Also known as Belconnen Dog Park, there are separate areas for big and small dogs, with reasonable shade and seating.
Travelling by bus from Belconnen to the city and beyond is easy. Belconnen Bus Interchange is located directly out the front of Westfield Belconnen (corner of Cohen St and Lathlain St).
Light rail doesn’t service Belconnen yet, but it’s on the roadmap.
The University of Canberra Senior Secondary College Lake Ginninderra (public college for students in Years 11 and 12) is the only school in the suburb of Belconnen.
Why the locals love it
Belconnen’s residential areas are in hot demand. Locals enjoy being close to the University of Canberra, the Australian Institute of Sport and the city’s premier sporting venue, Canberra Stadium (all in neighbouring Bruce).
The fact that the city is a short drive or bus ride away is also appealing.
- Median age: 30 years
- Median weekly household income: $1587
- Median weekly rent: $360
- Houses vs. apartments: 68.4% apartments; 30.6% semi-detached houses (i.e. townhouses/terrace house); 0.9% separate houses.
Source: 2016 Census.
Want to find the latest real estate listings for sale and rent in Belconnen? Zango can help you find them:
Do you live, or have you previously lived, in Belconnen? What are your favourite things about the suburb? What advice would you give to people considering moving there? Share your thoughts in the comments below.