Web City Travel Guide   
 ->   ->   -> 

Canberra travel guide — Canberra tourism and travel information

Welcome to Canberra Travel Guide, extensive source of tourist information and travel services offer related to Canberra and Australia. Book cheap hotels, cheap flights and get car rental. We also offer Canberra travel guide books and maps and atlases. Please visit Australia travel guide for more travel and tourism iformation and attractions in the Australia.

our Canberra travel guide — Canberra tourism and travel information content

  1. Canberra travel and tourist guide
  2. Canberra travel services
  3. Canberra travel books

latest Canberra and Australia discussion posts

Join our comprehensive travel discussion board! Share your Canberra and Australia travel experience! Our Ask and Answer forum is geographically divided, the team of editors world-wide is ready to answer your questions.

Canberra travel guide

search in books:  

Search discount Canberra travel books in all books. You can also browse and buy directly Canberra city guide and Australia travel guide books, Canberra maps and Australia maps and atlases.

about Canberra

Canberra (pronounced CAN-bruh, also Can-BER-ra or Can-buh-ruh ) is Australia's capital city and largest inland city, though only the 7th largest overall in the country. It is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory, (ACT).

The word Canberra is believed to mean "meeting place" in the Ngnunawal language, though some accounts say that it means "women's breasts", a reference to Mt Ainslie and Black Mountain, two elevations in the central Canberra area. It was apparently used in relation to the Molonglo River, which flows through Canberra. As with other capital cities, the word Canberra is also used to refer by metonymy to Australia's federal government and especially the Parliament.

Canberra has many national monuments and institutions such as Government House, Parliament House, the High Court of Australia, the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery of Australia, Telstra Tower, the Royal Australian Mint and the National Museum of Australia.

Canberra has a sister city, Nara in Japan. Canberra now also has a friendship agreement with Dili.

Canberra geography

Canberra is located in a portion of the Brindabella Ranges, approximately 150 km inland from Austalia's east coast. Its latitude and longitude are 35°15' S and 149° 28' E. It is located at altitudes that range from 550m to 700 m above sea level. This results in temperature ranges from -5° C to 35° C. The hottest days are generally in December and January. In wintertime, the days can get very chilly, and once every few years snow can fall.

The soil in the Canberra is reasonably fertile, but is of a nature that makes it unsuitable for the construction of heavy-duty underground tunnels. There are also some limestone plains and some limestone caves in the region.

The Molonglo River flows through Canberra. At one point, it has been artificially widened to form what is called Lake Burley Griffin. Other rivers near the Canberra area are the Murrumbidgee and Queanbeyan Rivers. The Molonglo flows into the Murrumbidgee at a point northwest of Canberra, which in turn flows along Canberra's southwestern outskirts. The Queanbeyan River joins the Molonglo River at Oaks Estate just within the ACT's borders. A number of creeks that flow off from the Molonglo River and Murrumbidgee River, such as the Jerrabomberra and Yarralumla Creeks, also exist in the Canberra area. Two of these creeks, the Ginninderra and Tuggeranong Creeks, have likewise been dammed to form Lake Ginninderra and Lake Tuggeranong.

The area had a history of sometimes lethal floods until recent times - indeed, prior to its formation, the Lake Burley Griffin area was a flood plain.

A wetlands, known as the Jerrabomberra Wetlands, lies directly east of South Canberra. This is now a nature reserve area.

Numerous hills, such as Mt Ainslie, Mt Mugga Mugga, Mt Taylor and Black Mountain dot the Canberra area, but have been left unsettled. This does mean a colder existence for Canberra's residents as in winter cold air pours down from these peaks to form cold pockets of air in the inhabited valleys. At wintertime, snow has been known to form on the top of some of these hills, and on the more distant ones on the Brindabella ranges.

Even in summer, humidity is generally low. Fog frequently occurs during winter mornings, and has often caused flights to and from Canberra International Airport to be cancelled or delayed.


Canberra's 311,000 residents live in a city originally planned by Walter Burley Griffin. The city is laid out on two major perpendicular axes, a water axis that stretches along Lake Burley Griffin, and a ceremonial land axis stretching from Parliament House northeastward to the Australian War Memorial at the foot of Mt. Ainslie. These two axes were in Griffin's plans for Canberra. In addition, there is an infrastructural axis stretching from the Federal Parliament House on Capital Hill to the seat of territorial government on City Hill, and a second one that stretches from Parliament House to Russell Offices and Duntroon. These two axes and the water axis constitute the Parliamentary Triangle.

Canberra is divided into seven districts. In order of development, they are: North Canberra, South Canberra, Woden, Belconnen, Weston Creek, Tuggeranong, and Gungahlin. The first two are based on Walter Burley Griffin's designs. The others all have a land contour design and a central shopping area known as a Town Centre. The districts are generally separated from each other by nature parklands, many of which have wildlife such as kangaroos and kookaburras.

The suburbs contained in these districts are generally named after famous Australians. Some are named after early settlers or Aboriginal terms. Street names within each suburb generally follow a particular theme. For instance, the streets of Duffy are named after Australian dams and weirs, Page streets are named after biologists and naturalists, and the streets of Gowrie are named after Australian Victoria Cross recipients.

There are also three suburbs that are considered to be industrial districts: Fyshwick, Mitchell and Hume. Streets in these areas also follow a theme - for instance, the streets of Fyshwick are named after Australian industrial towns.

In addition, there is Oaks Estate, a small suburb located near the ACT/NSW border which is not part of any of the above districts and which has close ties with the neighbouring NSW town of Queanbeyan. Many of its residents feel a greater affinity with Queanbeyan than with the ACT. On the other hand, Jerrabomberra is officially part of Queanbeyan but many of its residents work in the ACT and consider themselves essentially part of Canberra.

As well as the unusual road system featuring many circular streets and roundabouts, Canberra's highly planned nature has led to a striking absence of commerce on its major trafficked streets. There is also quick access and minimal traffic congestion along Canberra's roadways. Unlike most other capital cities in Australia, they have all been designed with motor vehicle traffic in mind.

Canberra is approximately 3 hours by road from Sydney on the Hume Highway and Federal Highway, seven hours by road from Melbourne on the Hume Highway and Barton Highway, and two hours on the Monaro Highway to Jindabyne and the snow ski fields of the Snowy Mountains and the (Mount) Kosciuszko National Park.

Canberra International Airport has a full schedule of domestic services to several state capitals. There are long-term plans to introduce regular scheduled international flights, but up to July 2004 the only international flights have been those carrying heads of state such as the US President, and charter flights. In July 2004 international flights will commence to Fiji.

There is a rail service between Canberra and Sydney that takes about four hours. This service is operated by the NSW Government. Plans to have a very fast train, with a travel time of about 81 minutes, operate between Canberra and Sydney have been contemplated, but not implemented.

A large number of interstate bus companies provide services that run to and from Canberra.

Canberra history

Aboriginal presence

Prior to white settlement, the Canberra area was inhabited by the Ngunnawal and Walgalu tribes. A third tribe, the Ngarigo, lived south-east of the Canberra area. The Aboriginal numbers appeared to have been relatively small - as few as 500. This was in part to a strong pro-marital culture that existed in the tribes in this area. These tribes appear to have been present in the Canberra area since the 11th century.

They seem to have lived well on local wildlife and fish, with Bogong moths being a particular speciality. Corroborrees and dancing were also a part of their culture.

European exploration and settlement

European exploration and settlement began in the Canberra area as early as the 1820s. Four expeditions took place betwen 1820 and 1824. White settlement in the area can be said to have begun in 1824, when a homestead or station was built in what is now the Acton peninsula by stockmen employed by Joshua John Moore. He formally purchased the site in 1826, and named the property Canberry, or Canberra. Other stations were built in turn by other settlers who brought families.

The European population in the Canberra area continued to slowly grow throughout the rest of the 19th century. Some convict labour was also used in this area in the 1830s and 1840s.

As the European presence increased, the Aboriginal population dwindled, mainly from diseases such as smallpox and measles. By 1878, the Aboriginal culture and population had largely ceased to exist, with its members largely absorbed into European culture through half-caste marriages. The last full-blood Aboriginal, Nellie "Queen Nelly" Hamilton, died in Queanbeyan Hospital on January 1, 1897.

Choice for capital city location

The district's change from a New South Wales rural area to the national capital began during debates over Federation in the late 19th century. Following a long dispute over whether Sydney or Melbourne should be the national capital, a compromise was reached: Melbourne would be the capital on a temporary basis while a new capital was built somewhere between Sydney and Melbourne.

After an extensive search, the present site, about 300 kilometres south-west of Sydney in the foothills of the Australian Alps, was chosen in 1908 as a result of survey work done by Government Surveyor Charles Scrivener in that year. The NSW Government ceded the Federal Capital Territory (as it was then known) to the Commonwealth Government on January 1, 1910.

An international competition was held in 1911 by the Federal Government through the Minister for Home Affairs, King O'Malley, to select a plan for the new city, and the local name of Canberra was eventually settled upon. On March 12, 1913 the city was officially given this name by Lady Denman the wife of the then Governor-General Lord Denman at a ceremony at Kurrajong Hill (now Capital Hill and the site of the present Parliament House), and building officially commenced.

Development and growth

Canberra's growth over the first few decades was slow, and it was far more a small country town than a capital. This was especially the case before World War II, when Canberra was noted for being more trees, fields and sheep, than houses.

Building of the capital began in what is now North and South Canberra began in 1913. They were built in accordance with Walter Burley Griffin's designs for Canberra.

Melbourne ceded control of the Federal government to Canberra on May 9, 1927, with the opening of Parliament House (now known as the Old Parliament House) in Canberra. The Prime Minister Stanley Bruce had officially taken up residence in The Lodge a few days earlier.

During and after World War II it began to grow more rapidly. For instance, embassies and high commissions began to establish themselves in Canberra during the 1940s. New districts, such as Tuggeranong, were established and slowly built throughout the 1960s and 1970s to accommodate a growing population.

On 9 May 1988, a new larger and permanent Parliament House was opened on Capital Hill (formerly Kurrajong Hill) in State Circle, Parkes as part of Australia's bicentenary celebrations, and the Federal Parliament moved there from Old Parliament House. The opening ceremony had originally been scheduled for 26 January 1988, the actual bicentenary of European settlement of Australia, but progress on construction did not permit the opening on this date. 9th May was chosen instead, because the first Australian Federal Parliament had met in Melbourne on that date in 1901, and the original (Old) Parliament House was opened in Canberra on this date in 1927.

In December 1988, the ACT was granted full self-government through an Act of the Federal Parliament that made the ACT a body politic under the crown. Following the first elections in February 1989, a 17-member Legislative Assembly sat for the first time at its offices in London Circuit, Civic, on 11 May 1989. The ACT's first government was led by the Chief Minister Rosemary Follett, who lead the ACT Labor Party and holds the record as the first female head of government at state or territory level in Australia's history.

On January 18, 2003, parts of Canberra were engulfed by a bushfire that destroyed 491 homes. The suburb of Duffy was especially affected, with some 200 homes burnt down there. The major research telescopes and the workshop at Mount Stromlo Observatory (run by the Australian National University) were destroyed in the fire. Four people died in the flames.

On June 7, 2004, Chief Minister Jon Stanhope and Dili (East Timor) District Administrator Ruben De Carvalho formalised the "City of Canberra and District of Dili Friendship Agreement", signed at a ceremony in Dili, attended by East Timorese President Xanana Gusmão and Prime Minister Marí Alkatiri.

Near cities to Canberra

Near webcams to Canberra

back to top

Canberra travel services

choose from our international travel services offer:

cheap flights to Canberra

City Travel Guide is exclusive partner of four main cheap airline tickets and cheap flights online booking systems. We are happy to offer cheap airline tickets Canberra, cheap flights Canberra, also available cheap airline tickets to Australia and to the whole world. Up to date cheap flights Canberra deals also available.

cheap Canberra hotels

City Travel Guide is exclusive partner of main cheap hotels and accommodation online booking systems. We are happy to offer cheap hotels in Canberra, Australia hotel guide and cheap hotels and accommodation in lot of other world-wide destinations. Up to date cheap Canberra hotel deals and discount accommodation tips also available.

cheap Canberra vacations

City Travel Guide is exclusive partner of main cheap vacations online booking systems. We are happy to offer cheap vacations in Canberra, Australia vacation rentals and cheap vacations in lot of other destinations world-wide. Up to date Canberra vacation deals also available.

cheap car rentals in Canberra

City Travel Guide is exclusive partner of main car rentals online booking systems. We are happy to offer car rentals in Canberra, car hire in Australia and cheap car rental in lot other world-wide destinations. Up to date cheap Canberra car hire deals also available.

Canberra travel insurance

City Travel Guide is exclusive partner of Essential Travel Ltd., leading online travel insurance company, we can offer you health travel insurance for Canberra, accident health Canberra travel insurance, all using our online Canberra travel insurance form. We also offer travel insurance for other cities in Australia. This offer is available for UK residents only.

Canberra real estate

City Travel Guide comes with Canberra real estate guide with several tips on home valuation, realtors comparison, secrets on finding the "right" home, loans guide and other helpful real estate advices. Our partners also maintain Canberra property for sale and rental listings, real estate laws and reviews. We will try to help you with buying property in Australia, choosing real estate agents, property finders, relocation help, and information for English speakers wanting to buy real estate in Canberra.

back to top

Canberra travel books

Canberra travel guide books

search travel guide books:  

Canberra maps and atlases

search maps and atlases:  
back to top

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Canberra".

Copyright © 2004 City Travel Guide Team. All rights reserved. | contact us | sitemap | links | XHTML and CSS