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Nicknamed the "bush capital", Canberra is more than the home to Australia's Parliament.
Although small, it's quickly building itself into a capital of culture with its wealth of museums often attracting world-class exhibitions and its grounds welcoming world-renowned festivals, such as the annual flower festival, Floriade.
Canberra is also a gateway to outdoor activities such as skiing and snowboarding in the Snowy Mountains or truffle hunting on the northern outskirts of the city.Flights depart for Canberra daily from major Australian cities. If you're travelling from Sydney, it has all the makings of an ideal day trip, being only a 3.5 hours drive each way.
Travelling through Canberra is efficient and affordable, with the public bus and new tram system covering each part of the city.
If you plan your stay well, you won't have to use the public transport network too much. The museums, including Questacon, the National Gallery of Australia, National Museum of Australia, Old Parliament House, Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial all surround Lake Burley Griffin and are within walking distance of one another, give or take 30 minutes
Attractions in more suburban regions, such as the Old Bus Depot are a little further out and may require public or car transport.
The city also has a fairly extensive bicycle lane network and you can carry your bike on the bus at no additional cost. If you're spending a long period of time in Canberra, buying a second-hand bicycle is a viable option.
The Canberra metro line (or light rail) connects the city centre to Gungahlin.
Canberra public transport
Types of transport: The Canberra public transport network is made up of the ACTION bus lines. The official transport website has useful information about routes, schedules and fares for public buses.
Paying for transport: The MyWay prepaid card offers concessions for bus trips and can be purchased online. However, it'll take a week to arrive at your Australian address, so it might not be ideal for tourists.
Getting to and from the airport: There are regular ACTION buses from Canberra Airport to the CBD (routes 11 and 11A). The best way to get to the airport is with the Airport Express bus, which travels from the terminal to the city centre, making stops at Russell and the National Convention Center. Check the schedule for further details.
Best apps for getting around: While there's no official transport app for getting around Canberra, third-party apps like NextThere and Bus Trips ACT Canberra are useful in navigating the city.
Taxis and Rideshare
Taxis: Taxis operate throughout the city, but it's advisable to book by phone or online or wait at a stop.
Rideshare: Use on-demand ridesharing service like Uber, Ola, Go Catch and Shebah - all available in Canberra.
Canberra car hire
If you prefer to drive yourself around, you can rent a car from the airport.
Car rental companies like Avis, Budget, Europcar,Hertz, Redspot and Thrifty are available at the arrivals end of all terminals.
Canberra's airport is located approximately 5km from the city centre on Brindabella Circuit, which is within Australian Capital Territory.
Does Canberra airport have an international terminal?
Yes. Direct international links operate to New Zealand and Singapore from Canberra's international terminal.
How far is it between Canberra and Melbourne?
The journey between Canberra and Melbourne takes approximately 6 hours 40 minutes by road, covering a distance of about 662km.
If you prefer a faster trip, it takes approximately 1 hour 10 minutes to go by plane.
Where is Canberra's railway station?
Canberra's railway station is located on Wentworth Avenue in the suburb of Kingston, and has links to Sydney.
Where is Canberra Zoo?
Canberra is home to The National Zoo & Aquarium. It features a 1 million-litre aquarium with an underwater viewing tunnel, as well as exhibits including bears, lions and leopards. The zoo is open every day from 9:30am to 5pm, and is located at Scrivener Dam, Yarralumla.
Does Canberra have a lagoon?
Canberra is home to the beautiful artificial Lake Burley Griffin, but, it does not have a lagoon. Rowes Lagoon can be found approximately 60km north-east of Canberra.
When is Canberra's flower festival?
Canberra's flower festival, Floriade, is one of the country's biggest spring celebrations, showcasing 1 million flowers in bloom. In 2017 the festival commences on Saturday 16 September and runs through to Sunday 15 October. It is held in Commonwealth Park.
Latest Canberra travel deals
Up to 50% off: Qantas flights from $70 each way
Available on flights from April - September 2021 to destinations including Sydney, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Launceston, Canberra, Darwin, Broome, Perth and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Launceston.
Available on experiences across Australia including Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart and more. Minimum spend of $300 required. Activities include hot air balloon flights, hop-on hop-off bus tours, whale watching cruises, skydives, high teas, quad biking experiences and more. T&Cs apply.
Available on select travel dates when you spend a minimum of $100. Activities include hot air balloon flights, tandem skydives and attraction passes. Destinations include Sydney, Gold Coast, Cairns, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart and more. Exclusive for new members. T&Cs apply.
Available on flights from April - September 2021. Destinations include Hobart, Sunshine Coast, Sydney, Gold Coast, Cairns, Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Launceston. T&Cs apply.
Available on select dates until December 2021, including over Christmas and New Year's Eve. Destinations include Adelaide, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Sydney, Cairns, Canberra, Hunter Valley and more. T&Cs apply.
Available on select travel dates on activities including day tours, skydiving, hot air balloon flights, transfers, quad biking, attraction passes and cruise. Destinations include in Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Cairns, Canberra, Brisbane, Hobart and more. T&Cs apply.
Available on 2+ days rentals until 11 December 2021 when you book 21 days in advance. Destinations include Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Auckland and more. T&Cs apply.
Available on select travel dates for activities including skydiving, hot air balloon flights, quad biking, scuba diving, whale watching, bridge climbing, high tea and more. Destinations include Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Melbourne and more. T&Cs apply.
Available on select dates and activities like classes, spas, getaways, dining experiences and more. Destinations include Sydney, Perth, Melbourne Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast and more. T&Cs apply.
Available on select flight until 30 September 2021 with Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Rex. Destinations include Gold Coast, Sydney, Darwin, Launceston, Broome, Sydney, Perth and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Launceston. T&Cs apply.
Available on select dates, including school holidays, for activities like sandboarding, whale watching, jet boat rides, indoor skydiving, cruises, swimming, go karting and much more. Destinations include Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Canberra and more. T&Cs apply.
Plus an extra $5 off with code on select dates when you buy 2 or more vouchers. Experiences include tours, zoo and wildlife interactions, hot air balloon flights, skydives, high teas and more. Destinations include Sydney, Hunter Valley, Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart, Canberra and more. T&Cs apply.
Veronica is the publishing support lead for travel at Finder and has been scouting airline, hotel and tour package deals for over five years. She has a Bachelor of Tourism major in Travel Management from University of Sto. Tomas Legazpi, Philippines and has been a local tour guide. She does her own itinerary and budget research every time she travels and has mastered the art of packing light for her family of three.
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