It only takes one particularly slow run into the city from Amaroo or Banks for even the most patient of commuters to consider moving closer to Canberra’s CBD. But in many cases, the budget simply doesn’t stretch to buying or renting somewhere more central.
Or does it?
Tempted by Queanbeyan’s central location (20 minutes from the city, plus easy access to local wineries, nature reserves and nearby regional towns like Bungendore) and lower median house prices ($570,000 compared to Canberra’s $741,597), more and more Canberrans are considering a move over the border.
The good news for prospective residents is that there’s more to Queanbeyan than just proximity to Canberra’s CBD and affordable property. It’s also a thriving, country-style hub that’s well-suited to both families and individuals.
New suburbs Googong and South Jerrabomberra are helping breathe new life into the city, which has retained its historic charm even as its population swells.
If you’re thinking about visiting or moving to Queanbeyan, here’s what you need to know.
Queanbeyan takes its name from the Aboriginal word quinbean, which means ‘clear waters.’ Established as a township since 1838, it has a long and rich history as an agricultural district.
Queanbeyan’s heritage-listed sites include the Queanbeyan Showground, Railway Precinct, Christ Church on Rutledge Street, and Morrisett Street’s former flourmill and residence Byrnes Mill and Millhouse.
Shops and eateries
Riverside Plaza is the largest shopping centre in Queanbeyan, with stores including Coles, Best & Less, Priceline Pharmacy, The Reject Shop and over 40 specialty stores.
Monaro Street is another popular local shopping strip, with retailers including a tattoo parlour, bridal store Nouveau Riche, a gift shop and a shoe store. At Cassidy’s Arcade, also on Monaro Street, you’ll find a hairdressing salon, podiatrist, school uniform shop and more.
When it comes to food, Queanbeyan has at least one must-try offering: a steak from the Royal Hotel Queanbeyan. Its locally-sourced steaks have been officially crowned the best pub steaks in the country.
If steak’s not your thing, Turquoise Turkish Restaurant is locally renowned for its lamb cutlets and zucchini balls; Punjabi Hut Queanbeyan makes a mean biryani; and Ciao Café & Cakes is the perfect place for indulging your sweet tooth with handmade cakes and desserts.
Places of interest and things to do
Queanbeyan combines the best of country living with the benefits and amenities of a bigger city. Whether you like experiencing the great outdoors or prefer learning about local history, there’s plenty in Queanbeyan to keep you entertained.
Here are some of our favourite activities in and around Queanbeyan:
- Take a short drive to Molonglo Gorge. Boasting spectacular nature views, Molonglo Gorge is a ten-minute drive from Queanbeyan. There is a three-kilometre walking trail, playground and barbecue facilities.
- Soak up some local history at Queanbeyan Museum. Located in the historic police sergeant’s residence, which was built in 1876, Queanbeyan Museum has a 3500+ item collection with an exhibition programme that changes regularly.
- Discover the city’s secrets on a Mysterious Moonlight Tour. Award-winning author (and wife of Queanbeyan’s mayor) Nichole Overall runs tours through the heart of Queanbeyan, sharing its tales of mystery and mayhem, tragedy and intrigue.
- Work on your golf swing at Queanbeyan Golf Club. Just minutes from of the Queanbeyan CBD, Queanbeyan Golf Club promises “a challenge to all golfers with true, fast greens and tree-lined fairways”.
- Grab some local fresh produce at the Queanbeyan Town Market. Held on the third Sunday of the month, the Queanbeyan Town Market is your place to pick up locally produced vegetables, fruit, eggs, dairy, honey, meat wine, olive oil, preserves, frozen meals, breads, cakes and confectionery.
Playgrounds and parks
Queanbeyan’s parks are so enjoyable to visit that several have received national and international recognition.
For example, Queen Elizabeth II Park (adjacent to the Queanbeyan River near Riverside Plaza) and Queanbeyan Park (in the town centre) are two of just ten parks in Australia to receive Green Flag Awards at the 2019 Parks and Leisure Australia National Awards of Excellence.
But it’s not just the award-winning parks that are worth the trip. Queanbeyan’s other parks and playgrounds are also lovingly maintained, and most boast excellent amenities, ample parking and plenty of shaded areas. These include:
- Ray Morton Park (Wanniassa Street). Ray Morton Park is on the banks of the Queanbeyan River. Enjoy the sensory garden, colour maze for kids and adults, and a large sculpture snail named Morty.
- Sister City Park (Macquoid Street). Sister City Park celebrates Queanbeyan’s sister relationship with Hatta Mura, Japan. It’s a small playground with a slide, climbing walls and seating.
- Marj Christian Park (Trinculo Place). Marj Christian Park is a large, securely fenced play area with slides, hanging triangles, sliding poles and other equipment for children of all ages. There is also a barbecue, shady picnic tables and bins.
- Moore Park (Antill Street). At Moore Park you’ll find a skate park, a barbecue area, picnic tables and the Queanbeyan Memorial Rose Garden.
Qcity Transit provides public transport services in and around Queanbeyan, including regular services to Canberra.
Route 830 to Civic, which departs Queanbeyan Interchange, stops in Kingston, Manuka, Barton and Russell. Other routes include the 831 to Woden via Canberra Hospital, and the 834 to Brindabella Business Park via Fyshwick and Majura Park.
Qcity Transit has a different ticketing system to Transport Canberra, which means you can’t use your MyWay card on Qcity Transit buses.
St Gregory’s Primary School is the only Catholic school in Queanbeyan.
Why the locals love it
“I love the sense of community. People take the time to stop and speak to you in the street; there aren’t many cities in the world where that happens… I’ve travelled all over the world and lived in the US and can honestly say, hand on heart, that Queanbeyan is one of the most community-minded places I’ve seen.” – Queanbeyan resident of 14 years, Mistie Dal Molin.
- Median age: 37 years
- Median weekly household income: $1405
- Median weekly rent: $290
- Houses vs. apartments: 34.8% apartments; 24.5% semi-detached houses (i.e. townhouses/terrace house); 39.8% separate houses.
- Suburb sales record: $2.7 million in 2009 (two-bedroom, two-bathroom on Uriarra Road)
Source: 2016 Census.
Want to find the latest real estate listings for sale and rent in Queanbeyan? Zango can help you find them:
Do you live, or have you previously lived, in Queanbeyan? 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.