What’s great about Canberra?

Blewy 10 August 2007 36

Hi guys,

I am putting together a website dedicated to what’s great about Canberra. All the great places to visit and things to do that people from out of town don’t know about. I’m just sick of people whinging about how boring and crap and cold Canberra is, but find the real problem is that people don’t share their information. Canberrans generally stick to their own set of friends, so outsiders find it hard to get to know people and the good places to go, so they end up at the War Memorial or Parliament House and then say how boring the place is.

So i need some input. If you have any favourite things to do, places to go to eat or just hang out, your favourite bands to watch or venues to watch them, favourite events, favourite days of the week and what’s on, your favourite places to visit in the Canberra surrounds (like the Beach or Snow being so close). But basically why YOU love Canberra.

This will no means be a 104.7 favourite Hairdresser or Gym type site, just real people with real stories about their real experiences in Canberra.

For example, I love live music. Monday night bootleg sessions down the Phoenix rocks, but interstate people that don’t know about it, would miss it. I want them to know about it, so if they head down for a long weekend and happen to be here on the Monday they NOW have somewhere to go.

If you don’t love Canberra or have nothing positive to say about, please read the next article and move on. I don’t want to hear it, i’ve heard it for 30 years.

Any input would be great. Thank you,


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36 Responses to What’s great about Canberra?
Henry82 Henry82 1:09 pm 23 Sep 11

– tidbinbilla nature reserve
– Mt Ainslie lookout
– walking around the lake
– walk up the parliamentary hill.
– National Museum of Australia
– Questacon for the kids (maybe once?)

TheObserver TheObserver 11:50 am 23 Sep 11

A wander around any of the Lakes
Native flora and fauna
Off leash areas for dogs
Bike paths that give you a scenic route to anywhere
Quality of musicians/artists of many genres
The Wig and Pen
Quality public education
The Institutions (usual suspects, plus the ANU and environs)
The fact that Canberra works in spite of the politicians rather than because of them
Containment areas for bogans
Regular ACO concerts
Air you can breathe
Water you can drink
A safe place to teach the kids to fish
A pretty safe place to bring up kids
Vast range of sporting opportunities
Vast range of cultural opportunities
Canberrans are by and large very decent people
The markets (all of them – and there are heaps)
Proximity to a bazillion other things within a 3 hour drive
and, that Aranda Primary School as a polling booth had the highest number of pro-Republic voters in the entire Commonwealth at the referendum.

Eyeball In A Quart Jar Of Snot Eyeball In A Quart Jar Of Snot 10:24 am 23 Sep 11

Wig & Pen.

Anything else I have better where I am now.

Snoman Snoman 10:12 am 23 Sep 11

Growling Ferret said :

Ease of transport around town

Disagree, I don’t think “everyone buy a car or deal with Action” qualifies as easy.

I travelled around Europe for 5 months and didn’t find a better cup (or even standard) of coffee than a few of the really good places in Canberra. It also seems to be a city built for pushbikes (when they’re not crossing exits on 80km/h roads). Good, local produce too if you know where to find it!

Reliable work is a biggie, it’s what keeps so many people here, also the fact that we can drive from our reliable offices to an incredible, empty beach in less time than it takes some Sydney commuters to get to work. Booze is a bit cheaper too.

Has someone mentioned the War Memorial? Its incredible. NGA and the National Library are awesome too.

A few venues in the city & surrounds (Phoenix, Transit, The Front etc) and their great support for local acts, we’re getting better and better festival lineups now too. There are some good SH bookshops.

Nightlife is underrated, there’s so much variety in such a small space (civic), my friends and I sometimes go to Sydney for a night out and it’s
hotel-TAXI-dinner-TAXI-cocktails-TAXI-nightclub-TAXI-differentnightclub(full)-TAXI-The Cross-TAXI(after 90min wait)-hotel

Dunno about the “public art”, not when you know what it’s costing.

Ummm the older suburbs are pretty good for a walk/drive/bike ride? I hate to go all hippie but I don’t mind at all that the light pollution is low enough to see the stars at night.

Thumper Thumper 10:06 am 23 Sep 11

if you think Canberra is “boring” then try Ipswich in Queensland

Redcliffe in Brisbane. Never have I been to a more boring place.

As for Canberra, autumn, winter and spring are just simply delightful.

Buzz2600 Buzz2600 10:04 am 23 Sep 11

This thread is four years old. I’d be interested to know if the OP actually created this website dedicated to singing the praises of Canberra? Were any of these ideas and comments included?

Palifox Palifox 9:57 am 23 Sep 11

(A) No city, town or village is built for the entertainment of adolescents or twenty-somethings.

(B) if you think Canberra is “boring” then try Ipswich in Queensland. It might have improved since I spent 5 months there several years ago but I doubt it. A sleepy hollow made worse by the proximity of Brisbane that means most local events that do occur are poorly attended. The fact that much of the working population was on a 7am start didn’t help of course. In one case a well publicised touring show attracted only 7 people as an audience, one of whom was a local journalist.

(C) According to the owner of a well known business in Phillip who migrated here from western Sydney the population here is more honest and a lot more polite.

(D) Highest average education in the nation. You can get an intelligent conversation in country towns but it will mostly be with the mayor, business owners, other community leaders or local professionals.

(E) In my experience the worst or most frequent complainers are people from Melbourne. This may have something to do with the fact that Sydney is more readily accessible so you don’t hear from former Sydneysiders so much. But even the Melburnians shut up after a couple of years. People who come here from overseas don’t complain much or at all or if they do I have not heard it.

(F) Reminds me of the coal miners who moved from Newcastle and the Wollongong region to central Queensland in the 1970s whose main complaint seemed to be that the coal companies didn’t put the coal near the coast so it took them a couple more hours drive to go surfing or fishing. Boo effing hoo.

(G) You can only go to Parliament House, the War Memorial (one of the best museums in the world according to a former European tour guide), the art galleries, the zoo and whatever else a few times. Then its been there done that. In any case they are largely attractions for grown-ups.

(F) Quality of housing, even in 40 plus year old guvvies is far better than in many other places. I have seen one house which had no back door in 1984 and still had no back door in 2010, In other places no wall lining, just the inside of weatherboards and others that had no ceiling. Insulation? What’s that?

poetix poetix 9:19 am 23 Sep 11

‘If you don’t love Canberra or have nothing positive to say about, please read the next article and move on. I don’t want to hear it, i’ve heard it for 30 years.’

This is a bit bossy. The good things are often the other side of the bad. For example; the peace some people have mentioned relates to the fact that the city as such is tiny, and the desire everyone has for peace means that the suburban sprawl continues.

But, how about mentioning public art? There’s a great owl in Belconnen.

Lookout Smithers Lookout Smithers 8:47 am 23 Sep 11

Canberra has many qualities. Mostly I think that the stand out offer is riding dirt bikes around on the cycle paths ensuring that the cops rarely stand a chance catching you!!! Joy

Coda Coda 8:35 am 23 Sep 11

We have the NGA. Rosalie Gascoigne was a local artist who has some great art works displayed. We also have some great Warhol pieces!

Deref Deref 7:54 am 23 Sep 11


Clean air (notwithstanding recent events).

Open spaces, though rapidly disappearing 🙁


Axman6 Axman6 1:50 am 23 Sep 11

The bushland around Canberra is absolutely amazing. We’ve got the best four wheel driving terrain in the country (or so says the Commander of my SES unit, who travels around the country regularly four wheel driving), and it’s even better to hike through.

I love how peaceful Canberra is, we don’t have traffic driving through the city at all hours of the night like you get in Sydney etc..

There’s also a pretty decent night life for people of all ages. I’m not the clubbing type, but I guess Mooseheads, Academy, ICBM etc. keep those that are well entertained. If you’re after quieter places to spend the evening, then we’ve got great pubs like O’Mally’s during the week, as well as countless others in Civic and around town.

The selection of places to eat is amazing, we’ve got such a great variety of foods that are very high quality. If you head into Civic, you’re absolutely spoiled for choice of top notch places to eat.

It’s also worth mentioning that it’s a great place to work. Commuting is pretty much a non-issue 99% of the time. There’s lots of jobs in government that give you a pretty secure way to earn a living, with great conditions (usually, there are exceptions). There’s also plenty of places in the private sector as well.

If you’ve got kids, there’s also heaps to do to keep them entertained. There’s Questacon, which I can’t recommend highly enough as a kid who used to go there all the time, and always loved it. The Discovery centre is also a great resource for kids (and adults too when they have talks on). And if all the other places you can take your kids aren’t enough, there’s the gazillions of fantastic parks we have. I only discovered the the Weston park this last week, after having lived here for my whole life of 21 years… I felt like my parents had let me down… If you have kids, take them there. Also, the little trains by the train station which run… one (first/last?) sunday every month (finding info on the net is difficult) is something that I absolutely loved as a kid.

Anyway, probably time I went to bed… I hope that was somewhat helpful.

Dark and Mysterious Dark and Mysterious 10:40 am 13 Aug 07

Lots of free/cheap stuff to do with kids! Our favourites:
1. Dress ups and kids reading room (full of kids books and comfy cushions) at Old Parliament House
2. Childrens Gallery and Fog Sculpture at the Art Gallery
3. Circa and K-Space at the National Museum (and blowing bubbles in the Garden of Australian Dreams)
4. National Capital Exhibition and then off to Nerang Pool to feed the ducks
5. The ‘Castle’ playground near Nerang Pool
6. The amazing playground near the waterfall by Lake Ginninderra
7. Deep Space Centre at Tidbinbilla
8. Festivals – Winter in the Capital, Floriade, Tulip Farm, and all the little country towns near Canberra to explore!

Wish I’d lived here when I was a kid. 😉

Thumper Thumper 8:04 am 13 Aug 07

Mornings like this morning…

astrojax astrojax 5:41 pm 12 Aug 07

i’ve been to paradise, jr, but i’d never been there…

jr jr 11:13 am 11 Aug 07


captainwhorebags captainwhorebags 8:36 am 11 Aug 07

Seasons that last long enough to make the changes welcome
Walking the dogs around your pick of lakes
Being able to walk 15 minutes from my front door and be in the bush
Having a pizza and coffee at the Fyshwick Markets deli on a Saturday morning
Going to see the free (or sometimes paid) exhibits at the Archives, Library, Art Gallery, Portrait Gallery
Picking up a loaf of high top bread from the Bungendore Bakery on a day trip to the coast
People who say “G’day” & “Hello” when out walking
The EXCELLENT variety of local and foreign cuisine for a relatively small city
Living here for 25+ years and only seeing politicians a handful of times
Any of the swimming spots on the Murrumbidgee on a hot January afternoon (might even be water in them this year)
After work drinks at Wig & Pen without smelling like an ashtray afterwards (not wanting to start a anti-smoking hate war with this one)
Beating the Retreat and 1812 Overture at RMC
Jazz on the eucalypt lawns of the Botanic Gardens

ant ant 9:36 pm 10 Aug 07

The original bits, that Walter B. Griffin did. The open land, the lake, the trees, the buildings.
The older suburbs.
The wonderful climate.
The mountains to the west… and going up into them. Aussie bushland and then Alpine, and you can see our buildings from them.
Being able to climb mountains from suburbs, and be in real bushland. You don’t have to travel for hours to do this, you’re right there.
Outdoor shopping centres doing well despite the Civic/Woden/Belconnen/Tuggeranong Mall Monsters rearing up.
The burgeoning weekend markets.
The fact that most real Canberrans have stopped cringing and truckling when dickheads criticise our city, and have begun kicking back. yeah, it’s not Sydney. GOOD!

I-filed I-filed 7:45 pm 10 Aug 07

The Front in Lyneham
The alleyway down the middle of the Griffith and Ainslie shops
The herbalist at the Griffith shops – best range in the country
Nature strips
The backroad to Wee Jasper
Views to mountains from everywhere
Public housing even in Forrest
The soup lady in Civic
The way we kept it Civic and not City Centre
The rose gardens at Old Parliament House
Anzac Parade
Amazing musicians everywhere
Artists can survive on the dole and just a bit more (in public housing)
Wonderful hospital
cheap parking
Research institutions
Brilliant poets
No squillionaires
Pornographers kept away from the city centre
Barbara Blackman
Manning Clark House

Pandy Pandy 6:17 pm 10 Aug 07

The Deep Space Centre.
Especially the new cafe overlooking The Dish.


Waling your dogs off lead in the old forests.

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