Explore Canberra, Australia
Explore Canberra, the capital city of Australia, a planned city with national monuments, museums and galleries built around a large artificial lake. As a bush capital, Canberra is also a great place to enjoy the outdoors, with excellent cycling, gardens, parks, bushwalking and nature reserves.
Canberra was established in 1913 as the capital for the newly federated Australian nation.
Lake Burley Griffin divides central Canberra. The central shopping and commercial area, known as “Civic”, is on the north side and the parliamentary triangle and embassy area is on the south side. National institutions are likewise divided, examples being the National Museum of Australia and the Australian War Memorial on the north side and the National Library and National Gallery of Australia on the south side.
Canberrans on the whole are easygoing, friendly and tolerant people who have the highest levels of education and income in Australia.
Canberra International Airport is well served by flights from other Australian capital cities.
While Canberra on the whole is not walk able by any standards, some parts of it, including Civic and the central part of the northern shore of Lake Burley Griffin, as well as the sights at the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin, are possible to tackle on foot.
Places to shop
- Canberra Antiques Centre. 10AM – 5PM seven days at 37 Townsville Street, Fyshwick. Over a dozen professional dealers, both local and interstate, offer a top variety of antique and retro furniture, funky vintage clothing, vintage fabrics, military, numismatics, pottery, vintage needlework tools & accessories, electricals, silver, art glass, quality bric-a-brac and designer items. Well presented with great music playing and a nice vibe throughout.
- Jamison market – every Sunday near Jamison centre, in Belconnen. Fresh produce stalls and flea market. Come and get your bargain. Vinyl records, second hand clothing, furniture, bric-a-brac.
- Old Bus Depot Market, every Sunday. Arts and crafts – all of a high standard. Food stalls, including fresh produce and live music. Theme days such as international food held occasionally.
- Tuggeranong Market – First Sunday of every month in the lovely Tuggeranong Homestead opposite the Calwell Shops. Lots of stalls, selling amazing stuff.
- Trash and Treasure Market in Woden is hosted by Rotary and held every Sunday morning. Expect a mixed bag of books, plants, and assorted household junk.
- Fyshwick Market, Dalby St (Cnr Mildura St) Fyshwick – Fresh produce, including fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. Open Thursday to Sunday. Sunday afternoons are a good time to pick up some bargains.
- Belconnen Market, Lathlain St, Belconnen (off Benjamin Way), ACT. The Markets are open from 8:00AM to 6:00PM Wednesday to Sunday. Some stores open 7 days a week.
- Capital Region Farmers Market. EPIC (Well Station Road near Federal Highway, North Canberra) – Saturday mornings 8AM to 11AM. Sellers are the producers. Stalls are all food related.
- Southside Farmers Market. Woden CIT (formerly Woden High School) (Ainsworth Street near Hindmarsh Drive, Phillip) – Sunday mornings 9AM to 12PM. Sellers are the producers. Stalls are all food related.
- Gold Creek Village, Barton Highway, Gungahlin.This is a ‘village’ of specialty shops, attractions, hotels (for drinks), coffee shops, a native reptile ‘museum’, a butterfly enclosure, and garden supplies, in a group of separate buildings in a strip about 1km long. Locals and visitors alike use the area, especially on weekends.
- Canberra Centre is a large shopping mall in Civic, covering a large section of the central Canberra shopping district. It has department stores, food hall and eateries, specialty shops for adults and kids fashion both upmarket and basic. There are also electronics, books, CDs, souvenirs and Australian made products.
- City Walk is an outdoor mall area in Civic. There is alfresco eating and shopping.
- Belconnen Mall is the name of the enclosed shopping centre owned by Westfield located within the Belconnen Town Centre to the north. Although it does not have as many clothes stores, it features a ‘Myer’ department store and a ‘K-mart’, as well as three supermarkets and a food court. It is located over three levels.
- Woden Westfield and Tuggeranong Hyperdome are the two major enclosed shopping centres to the south, located within the Woden and Tuggeranong town centres respectively. Woden Plaza features a ‘David Jones’ department store, a ‘BIG W’, two supermarkets, as well as approximately 200 specialty stores and a food court. The Tuggeranong Hyperdome (further south) features a ‘K-mart’ and a ‘Target’, as well as supermarkets and a food court plus specialty clothing stores.
- Fyshwick is the suburb to shop for appliances and technical stuff, along with furniture and homewares. It is also Canberra’s ‘red-light’ district. Most of Canberra’s antique shops can also be found here. Fyshwick now has a DFO – Direct Factory Outlet.
- Lonsdale St in Braddon (close to Civic) houses a handful of boutiques, specialising in independent clothing labels and other designer objects.
- Manuka is another area that has boutiques and restaurants. Millers of Manuka boutique sells leading women’s fashion brands like Max Mara and others. For less expensive women’s clothing try Witchery. Booklovers would do well to check out Paperchain bookstore.
- Kingston is yet another shopping and restaurant area not far from Manuka.
Many of the most interesting shopping experiences are at the national institutions, almost all of which have specialist shops inside. The National Gallery has a superb range of art books, both overseas and indigenous. Likewise the National Library, the Questacon Science Museum, the War Memorial, the National Museum at Acton, the Film and Sound Archive, and so on – if you’re looking for unique Australian items, these are the places to go.
Canberra has many fine eateries, but be aware – many will be closed on Sundays. All public buildings in Canberra are smoke free.
Canberra’s many bars and clubs will be closed on Sunday nights and early into the week. Civic can appear to be a ghost town but there are areas such as Bunda Street where you will always find something happening.
Explore Canberra as it is a very safe city and enjoys one of the lowest crime rates in all of Australia. However, be cautious, especially around bus interchanges, where some youths may tend to be hostile.