It’s no surprise that Dickson ticks all the boxes for so many prospective buyers and renters. From leafy, tree-lined streets to easy access to public transport and a fabulous Eat Street, there’s a lot to love about the inner north suburb – especially for those fond of Chinese food.
Far from a sleepy, older suburb, Dickson is changing quickly. Multiple apartment developments are being sold off the plan, and a new shopping complex with a Coles and Aldi is also in the works. All of this means that soon, Dickson will have even more to offer residents.
Thinking about visiting or moving to Dickson? Here’s what you need to know.
Were you aware that Canberra Airport hasn’t always been on the other side of Pialligo and Campbell? In the early 1920s, long before the days of international departures from Canberra, or even flights to Sydney, Canberra’s original airport was in Dickson. The airport, which wasn’t much more than a paddock, was mostly used for emergency landings for aircraft on domestic routes.
The actual suburb of Dickson was gazetted in 1928. As one of Canberra’s older suburbs, it is well established, has plenty of greenery, and many homes are on substantial blocks.
Shops and eateries
Dickson Shopping Centre is the commercial hub of the inner north, and it’s even home to the Woolworths with the highest turnover in Australia. But there’s much more to Dickson than just a monster Woolies:
- If you like buying food in bulk for economical or environmental reasons, you can stock up on everything from nuts and dried beans to spices at zero waste whole foods store The Source. Its aisles are brimming with bulk wholefoods, healthy snacks and organic goodies.
- Need a gift for a loved one? Try Centrepiece Creol, which stocks a unique collection of semi-precious and fashion jewellery, handbags, scarves, accessories, and homewares.
- For those in the market for Asian ingredients, SaiGon Asian Grocery and A Buy Asian Grocery Store have you covered.
Food and coffee
Dickson is perhaps best known as Canberra’s Chinatown. While it does have numerous Asian restaurants and grocery stores in Woolley Street, there are several other restaurants and fast food establishments in the area too.
- Some of Dickson’s best-known restaurants include Dickson Asian Noodle House, Pho Phu Quoc (which serves up what is arguably some of the best pho in Canberra), and Vietnamese-inspired vegan joint Au Lac.
- On the hunt for a decent coffee? Trevs @ Dickson and Ona Coffee’s Highroad are popular choices.
- For something a little different, try an Indian spiced lentil or tempeh burger from My Rainbow Dreams, a vegetarian eatery owned and operated by students of Sri Chinmoy. Or treat yourself to a fried chicken ‘baoger’ from the fun and modern Super Bao.
Places of interest and things to do
With a light rail interchange and several bus stops throughout the suburb, getting to work, school or wherever you need to go is easy. But there’s plenty to explore within the suburb itself as well.
- Make a splash at Dickson Pool. Dickson Aquatic Centre‘s pools are set amongst beautiful shady trees, with beach volleyball courts, and a café as well as a kids’ water slide and much more.
- Take a stroll down Dickson’s Eat Street. Despite its name, Canberra’s Chinatown is very multicultural. As well as Chinese restaurants and businesses, there are South-East Asian, Japanese, Ethiopian, Italian, Korean, Thai, Greek, Malaysian, Turkish and Indian eateries where you can treat your tastebuds as well. Start at Woolley Street and keep walking until you’re full!
- Visit the only local garden centre in Canberra’s inner north. Nearing 45 years in business, The Garden (on Dickson Place opposite the pool), has earned its reputation for stocking high quality native plants, hardy flowering shrubs, seasonal trees and giftware, as well as providing expert gardening advice tailored to the local climate.
Playgrounds and parks
Dickson Wetlands are arguably the biggest nature drawcard in Dickson. Completed in 2011, the suburban oasis has seating, informal play areas, viewing spots, pedestrian paths, artwork and shade.
As one of the largest grounds in Canberra, Dickson District Playing Fields also has plenty of room to run around and kick a ball when not in use by local sporting teams.
There are small, basic playgrounds on Hope Street and Dutton Street.
With a light rail station and recently opened bus interchange near Dickson shops, Dickson residents are spoiled for public transport options. Transport Canberra bus routes R1, R9, 30, 31, 50, 51 and 53 service Dickson, while the light rail will take you into the City or Gungahlin.
If you enjoy cycling, Dickson is a great starting point for a 33km one-way ride to Gundaroo using the Federal Highway’s on-road bike lane. Dickson also has a network of bike paths and on-road cycling connecting to nearby suburbs.
Dickson is home to Dickson College for Year 11 and 12 students, Daramalan College for Years 7 to 12, and Emmaus Christian School, which covers primary and high school. North Ainslie Primary School is just outside Dickson.
Why the locals love it
“Dickson is a food lover’s paradise, especially if you like cheap Asian cuisine, so it suits me just fine. My kids love spending most of the summer at Dickson Pool and exploring the local wetlands (we’ve even spotted a turtle or two!), while my youngest enjoys story time at Dickson Library.” – Jenna, 34.
- Median age: 31 years
- Median weekly household income: $1,375
- Median weekly rent: $368
- Houses vs. apartments: 48.6% houses; 27.8% apartments
- Suburb sales record (excludes land sales): $1,360,000 in 2017
Source: 2016 Census.
Want to find the latest real estate listings for sale and rent in Dickson? Zango can help you find them:
Do you live, or have you previously lived, in Dickson? 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.