While it’s easy to think of it as just a place for politicians to argue, Canberra has flourished into an adventure-driven, winery-laden, foodie haven of a capital. If you’re moving to Canberra, can kiss traffic congestion goodbye (mostly!) and look forward to weekends filled with outdoor action, cultural pursuits, and lazy days by Lake Burley Griffin.

Here’s a look at how to go about moving to Canberra.

A night time shot of Lake Burley Griffin at night, with the monument lit up from below

Finding a Home in Canberra

House hunting in Canberra is pretty simple, given the city was deliberately designed around the city centre, nature reserves, and distinct regions of residential suburbs, all connected by major roads. What that means is that commuting times are a breeze, and you have easy access to everything you need, no matter where you choose to lay down roots. 

A yacht sailing on Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra in Autumn, with the national museum and autumn trees in the background

Renting in Canberra

Renting can be a little pricey in Canberra. In fact, it’s shooting up towards Sydney-type figures, with a median price of $578 a week as of 2018. But like most cities, the further you live away from the CBD, the less you’ll have to pay. Canberra’s suburban rent is closer to the $370 to $450 per week range.

To save money on rent, jump on sites like Flatmates and Flatmate Finders. You’ll find private rooms in established houses or people with similar interests to sign a lease with. If you’re studying in Canberra you’ve hit the jackpot, as most students are easily accommodated on or near campus, at cheaper prices.

If you’re a student keen to save even more money after moving to Canberra, check our heavily discounted GoGet plans for students.

The John Curtin School of Medical Science at Australian National University in Canberra

Buying Property in Canberra

Apartments are the most affordable way to break into the Canberra market, with a median property price of $472,000. According to Domain, houses sit at $753,000 as of 2018. To start your search, find properties within your budget on sites like realestate.com.au. Then, check out our suburb guide to narrow down your options.

A block of apartments in Canberra in the ACT, a place many moving to Canberra would consider living

Canberra Suburb Guide

Canberra’s cleverly designed ‘satellite cities’ make it easy to find the best suburb for your move to Canberra. Feel free to choose an area based on your lifestyle preferences, as everything in Canberra is in easy reach.

Protip: Canberrans call the Canberra city centre ‘Civic’, even though that’s not actually the name of a suburb. Hopefully this avoids any confusion.

Inner South

To be close to iconic attractions like Old Parliament House and the National Gallery of Australia, pick a suburb in the inner south. Kingston is a trendy hub of shopping, dining and waterfront apartments. Forrest is a prestigious, prime spot for families, with Canberra Grammar School and Telopea Park School close by.

Apartments on the Kingston Foreshore in Canberra - if you're moving to Canberra this is a nice, but expensive, place to live

Inner North

Containing some of Canberra’s oldest suburbs, the inner north is the closest you’ll get to Civic without actually living in it. One of the most popular suburbs is fashionable Braddon, with foodie action focused on Lonsdale Street, quirky homeware stores, and beer gardens. Nearby Ainslie boasts country-type streetscapes and colourful, historic cottages, all set on the backdrop of Mount Ainslie.

Belconnen

Belconnen’s town centre sits on the banks of Lake Ginninderra and it’s here that you’ll find the University of Canberra, as well as the Australian Institute of Sport. With a large range of apartment blocks and family homes, there’s housing to suit everyone. Macgregor is primarily a residential suburb that’s a good pick for young families, with Macgregor Primary for schooling.

Gungahlin

Gungahlin is a modern district, with a self-contained town centre offering a library, medical services, schools, restaurants, bars, and shops. For recreation, there are numerous playgrounds, nature reserves, cycle tracks, and picnic areas around Gungahlin Pond. It’s also home to the ACT’s first light rail corridor. The suburb of Bonner offers a family-friendly vibe, with leafy streets, local shops and a pedestrian and cycle path network.

Tuggeranong

If you’d like to be surrounded by mountains, Tuggeranong sits on the backdrop of the Brindabella range. In the valley, you’ll find a lake and a town centre complete with a cinema, a shopping complex, and a bustling dining precinct. Kambah is the largest suburb in the ACT, with fantastic playgrounds for kids, local shops, schools, and the natural Kambah Pools, with a famous – signposted – nudist area. 

A kangaroo with a joey poking her head out of her mother's pouch on Tuggeranong Hill in Canberra - Moving to Canberra means you'll see more of this

Woden

Woden is a popular region for diplomats, with Commonwealth Government departments in the district, as well as the Canberra Institute of Technology and Woden Plaza Shopping Centre. The suburbs of Lyons and Garron are popular with families, with proximity to parklands, farmers markets and schools.

Western Creek

For a relaxed community and a peaceful location surrounded by bushland, Western Creek may be the spot for you. There’s a mix of apartments, family houses and retirement homes in the area, with the Cooleman Court business centre and local shopping centres in each of its eight residential suburbs.

Poppies on the war memorial in Canberra - a tourist attraction that's one of the most moving in Canberra

Finding Work in Canberra

In both the public and private sectors, Canberra offers a variety of career opportunities. In fact, here you’ll find the highest per capita income, in the country. Obviously, if it’s your aim in to be employed by the Commonwealth Government, this is the place to be. You’ll also find private sector positions within the ICT, building, construction, health, hospitality, retail, education, and tourism.

Remember though, if you work in the private sector, you’ll still be working with the public service a lot. The Canberra offices of many private companies are there to interface with government – so moving to Canberra might be hard work if you’re a staunch libertarian.

Canberra's Parliament House at evening, reflecting off the lake.

Getting Around Canberra

If you love riding your bike, Canberra is literally covered with excellent bike paths to get you nearly everywhere. The public transport system, ACTION, is used via a MyWay card, which is a rechargeable ticketing system.

Driving is practically a pleasure in this city, but the costs of running a car certainly eat into your budget for dining, drinking, and playing. A great option is to trade ownership for access with GoGet. Using our cars by the hour or by the day means you can get to the shops or take a country drive when you like, while avoiding the costs and hassles of owning your own vehicle.

Learn More about GoGet

Two cyclists riding past Lake Burley Griffin, moving to Canberra City Centre

Entertainment in Canberra

Upon first moving to Canberra you’ll want to see all the main icons, like Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial. But there’s so much more to see and do! There are hot air balloon flights, incredible farmers markets, over 140 vineyards, the National Zoo & Aquarium, Capitol Golf Club, and local craft breweries, just to name a few. Embrace winter in the snow, at Corin Forest Mountain Resort, and kayak on Lake Burley Griffin during the summer days.

More than a house on a hill

No matter what you love to do, moving to Canberra offers entertainment, career opportunities, premier education and ease of living, just as you’d expect the country’s capital would.