Nestled between Black Mountain and Mt Ainslie, this capital city of Australia is deeply rooted in its Australian aboriginal culture. The city’s name is derived from the word ‘Kambera’ in Gundungurra language which was once spoken by the aboriginals of Australia. This biggest inland city of Australia is also home to world-class architecture that have won numerous awards. Despite the urban developments, this garden city has retained its wildlife, nature reserves and natural bushland. With its hospitable locals, comfortable all-year round weather, top-quality fresh produce, award-winning wineries and restaurants, Canberra is one of the most delightful states in Australia!
Canberra has a mostly dry climate but it does experience four seasons:
1. Summer (December – February)
– 12.6 – 27 degree celsius
– little humidity and balmy nights
– December experiences the longest hours of daylight
– January is the hottest month with temperatures rising to 13.2 – 28 degree celsius
2. Autumn (March – May)
– 6.8 – 20 degree celsius
– mild days and cool nights
3. Winter (June – August)
– 1 – 12 degree celsius
– Temperatures can drop below 0 degree celsius at night
– June has the least hours of daylight
4. Spring (September – November)
– 6 – 19 degree celsius
– fresh mornings and brisk nights
– November has the heaviest rainfall
Cost of living
As with many other cities, living in the suburbs of Canberra is cheaper than living in the city. Monthly cost for a four-person family is estimated at A$4,353.99 excluding rent. Monthly rent for fa three-bedrooms accomodation ranges from A$2,214.43 to A$3,054.97 while a one-bedroom apartment costs between A$1,592 to A$2,167 depending on your location. Check out these two pages for a more comprehensive picture of daily expenses in Canberra. Here and here.
- Eco-friendly mode of transportation – most Canberrans either walk or cycle!
- Year round vibrant national events and festivals
- Canberra is one Australia’s safest cities.
We’re not a fan of
- Has a reputation for being boring
- Cost of rent has recently skyrocketed
- The taxes have also increased in the recent years
A$2,240 per month
Due to high-income earning workforce and increase in population, the latest Domain Group data revealed Canberra to be the most expensive city to rent a house, surpassing Sydney to become the highest in the nation. The weekly rental fees for houses is now $560 per week – that is A$2,240 per month.
You will have to submit the following documents for a tenancy application in order to meet the 100 point identification check:
• Bank statements for the last 3 months
• A reference from your previous landlord
• The contact information for the previous landlord
• Proof that you do not owe any money
• Identification document (passport, birth certificate, driver’s license)
• Document proving your current residence
The internet is the best place to look for a rented property:
Median House Price (Forcasted for 2021)
As of 2019, Canberra median house price is A$695,000. The property scene is set to see a 10% growth between 2019 and 2021 where the median prices will reach as high as A$745,000 by June 2021.
Unless you are a citizen or permanent resident in Australia, or a citizen of New Zealand, you will have to first apply to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) for permission to purchase property in the country. The conditions attached to the approval for temporary residents are that the property has to be re-sold when they leave, unless their status changes to permanent resident or citizen later on.
Most applications for vacant land or new land are usually approved; the same does not apply for established dwellings, where most applications are denied.
Applications are submitted to the FIRB, with a fee, depending on the value of the house it starts at A$5,000 for one valued at $1million. It can take up to 30 days for you to find out if it has been approved or rejected.
Mortgages for home buying are available for FIRB approved purchases.
As a general rule the cost of buying a property is roughly 5% of the purchase price and includes legal fees, stamp duties, loan establishment fees and other costs.
Sites to search for properties in Adelaide include:
Utilities & Connectivity
A$229.26 per month
Average Utilities Bill
A$35-A$120 per month
Average Internet Bill
A$30-A$106.25 per month
Average Mobile Phone Bill
The average monthly utilities bill for electricity, heating, cooling, water and garbage for a 85m2 apartment is estimated at A$229.26 per month.
The seven residential electricity providers in Canberra are:
There are 134 internet plans available in Canberra with NBN, Optus, Telstra and Belong being some of the main providers. Depending on your monthly data need, the plans begin from A$35 to A$120 per month. Compare the different plans and prices here.
Telstra, Optus and Vodafone are the most recommended for cell phone services. Each service provider offers a variety of plans depending on your needs. The contract plans start from 6 to 24 months. Plans start from A$30 to A$106.25. Visit this website to compare the plans and prices (https://www.whistleout.com.au/MobilePhones/Australia/Australian-Capital-Territory).
Mobile service providers we recommend:
Internet service providers we recommend:
From the moment you move to Australia on a permanent basis you are liable for tax. You will also be a fiscal resident if you preside in the country for more than six months, holding the same job and lived at the same address over that period.
The tax rates for Australian residents are as follows:
• 0 – A$18,200 – Nil
• A$18,201 –A$37,000 – 19c for each $1
• A$37,001 – A$90,000 – A$3,572 +32.5c for each A$1
• A$90,0001 – A$180,000 – A$20,797 + 37c for each A$1
• A$180,001 and over – A$54,097 + 45c for each A$1
There is also a 2% Medicare levy on all amounts. Goods and services tax (GST) is calculated at 10% and is included in the prices of most products.
Click this link for more information.
IT services, IT consulting, Public Service
Canberra is ahead of the rest of Australia in terms of wealth. Wages per capita in Canberra have grown to A$57,993 in 2019. Canberra’s economy is sophisticated and knowledge based. The most popular industries in Canberra are
1. Information Technology (IT) Services
2. Information Technology (IT) Consulting
3. Public Service (Government)
4. Building Construction
6. Tourism & Hospitality
Visa applications in Australia can only be processed by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship. You will need the appropriate visa on arrival otherwise you will not be accepted in the country.
The requirements for the work permit process in Australia include:
• A job offer
• Contract of employment
• Presentation of studies and qualifications
• IELTS Tests for applicants over the age of 18
• Everyone over the age of 18 needs a police clearance
• X-ray and medical
Once issued, the 457 work permit is valid for 4 years.
If you meet certain criteria in a points test you may qualify for a Skilled Independent Visa (189) allowing you to live and work in Australia for as long as you like
Each state has the right to sponsor 190 visa applicants for professional skills needed in their rein. These visas are known as Skilled Nominated Visa (190) or the Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (489). These visas oblige their recipients to work in the area that they are given for and for a minimum time, after which you can seek a permanent visa.
For more information click here.
Job Seeker Sites
There are many places to look for work and many employers advertise in newspapers, at private employment agencies and on online job sites. Try the following websites:
1. APS Jobs (government website which offers jobs from Australia’s public service sector)
2. Australian JobSearch (another government website)
Professional and trade associations
Being a part of the trade and professional associations has its advantages, one of which is, providing networking programmes. These corporations look out for the well being of their members, and thus, can help with employment. Some of these associations advertise jobs that might not be on newspapers or job seeker websites.
Australian American Association of Victoria
Australian American Chamber of Commerce
Australian British Chamber of Commerce
Australia China Business Council (ACBC)
Australia India Business Council (AIBC)
Australia-Malaysia Business Council
Public Transport System
Average Public Transportation Cost
Canberrans mostly get around on foot or bicycle. Buses are the only public transport available in Canberra. Canberra’s public bus service is called ACTION buses and operates from four bus interchanges at Civic, Belconnen, Tuggeranong and Woden. You can either pay cash or use a prepaid MyWay card for bus fares. MyWay card holders typically pay less. Monthly concession is estimated to be between A$100 – A$136. Taxi fares start from A$5 and additional A$2 for every 1km. An 8km or 5 miles trip on a weekday with basic tariff is estimated at A$24.
If you have a car and a license, it is important to register and update your license within the first 3 months of your move, while it is still free. Otherwise you may need to do an entirely new license which includes tests and its fees. A Toyota Corolla 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) is estimated at A$24,000 while a Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) is priced at A$25,000.
There are four types of car insurance plans available in Canberra – Comprehensive, Third Party Property, Third Party Theft & Fire or Compulsory Third Party. The average cost of a comprehensive car insurance policy is priced at $510 per year. Visit this page to find out more about the different plans
Booking an appointment
You can easily book an appointment by visiting any VicRoads customer service center. You do not need any documents to book an appointment.
Here’s what you should bring on the day of your appointment:
- Evidence of identity (current interstate license).
- Proof of a new address, that is, any document that shows your new address. It could be utility bills, your rental agreement, or an updated bank statement.
- A secondary form of identification, like an ATM card.
- Your current overseas license written in English. If you have it in another language, then you will need to get it translated into English.
- A letter of confirmation. This is necessary if your current overseas license is currently unavailable, you should get a letter with a formal letterhead to confirm your story. This letter could be written by your issuing country’s driver license authority.
- A completed license permit application form.
- Payment of necessary fees. A new driver’s license usually costs around $80.
Once all of this is verified, you will be issued a temporary form of license, until your plastic license is ready.
Australia has a healthcare system called Medicare which sponsors nearly all costs related to your health. Getting approved for Medicare is usually dependent on your country or your residence status. Your family and you are eligible to get Medicare if you have a permanent visa or if you are visiting from affiliated countries like Finland, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Slovenia, Sweden, Belgium, and Norway. However, it is advised to take out additional health insurance from private copmanies because Medicare does not cover some costs such as dental care and ambulance servicest.
On top of hospitals, Canberra has walk-in centres, community health centres as well as mental health services. Visit this website to find out in detail about the health services availble in Canberra.
Medicare usually covers:
1. free or subsidised treatment by health professionals such as doctors, specialists, optometrists, dentists and other allied health practitioners (in special circumstances only)
2. free treatment and accommodation as a public (Medicare) patient in a public hospital
3. 75 per cent of the Medicare Schedule fee for services and procedures if you are a private patient in a public or private hospital (does not include hospital accommodation and items such as theatre fees and medicines)
4. some health care services in certain countries (reciprocal health care agreements)
Prices vary depending on if you will just have a hospital plan or an all inclusive medical plan. It is very difficult to price insurance because there are many factors that will affect the cost: family members, age etc.
• Australian Unity
Visit this page to find out more about the different insurance plans
Every child living in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) between six to seventeen years old is required to enrol in school or register for home education. Every child from Kindergarten to year 12 is a guaranteed a place at local public school.
Students starting Kindergarten (first year of formal schooling)
– if the child turns five before 30 April, they can start Kindergarten the first day of term 1 that year.
– if the child turns five on or after 30 April, they can start Kindergarten the first day of term 1 the following year.
Visit this website for more information on the enrollment process, timeline and criteria.
Because Canberra is massive state with TEN areas, it is difficult to provide a list of preschools. But you can click on this link for a comprehensive listing of preschools and their ratings and fees in every area of Canberra.
Public school system
Canberra has one of the most highly educated population in Australia. About two thirds of schools in Canberra are government run while the other third is private. Parents/carers are required to complete the Application to enrol in an ACT Public School form on initial entry to the public school system. Do note that places are not guaranteed if you apply for schools outside your Priority Enrolment Area. Here is a list of all the public primary schools in ACT.
Private school system
Private school fees for primary schools in Canberra is estimated at A$3,000 while private high school fees is estimated above A$6,000 a year due to the recent rise in private school fees in Canberra. The most expensive private school fees are expected to exceed A$27,000 according to The Canberra Times. Click on this link for listings of private schools in Canberra.
The two main tertiary institutions are the Australian National University (ANU) and University of Canberra (UC).
Australia National University (ANU)
ANU is ranked 1st in Australia and the whole of Oceania in 2019 while it achieved the rank of being the 16th best university in the world in 2006, 2007 and 2008 by QS World University Rankings. Regarded as one of the world’s leading research universities, the university is renowned for arts and social sciences programs including politics and international relations.
University of Canberra (UC)
In 2017, UC was named among the world’s top 100 young universities by Times Higher Education. This public university covers five faculties: Health, Art and Design, Business, Government and Law, Education and Science and Technology.
Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT)
CIT provides over 230 vocational education and training programs. As a provider of vocational education, CIT focuses on teaching the skills and knowledge for jobs.
Food & Grocery
There are plenty of grocery stores in Canberra for you to explore! Here are some recommended stores:
AG09 Bunda St, Canberra ACT 2600, Australia
Aldi is a retail chain selling grocery items at discounted prices. From meat to vegetables to even books, toys and even televisions! Everything you need is sold at Aldi!
2. Kim’s Groceries
2/34 E Row, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
If you are looking for some Korean or even Asian products, Kim’s groceries carry a good range of items from kimchi to instant noodles to snacks!
3. The Cook Grocer
27 Cook Pl, Cook ACT 2614, Australia
The cook grocer is a family-run business selling products from the local Canberra region along with gourmet and international products. A passionate supporter of local Carribean producers and a believer of providing personalised services, you will feel right at home at this shop;
When it comes to dining options, you will never run out of choices in Canberra. Here are just some of the popular eateries in the capital:
A favourite with the locals, Brodburger offers gigantic and delicious burgers. The burgers come in baby versions too for your kids!
2. Honky Tonks
This casual eatery offers a contemporary fusion of Mexican and American cuisines (Tex-Mex). Located in the heart of CBD area, it is a hit with locals after work.
Described as a Canberra icon and a must for any gourmet visitng the city, Ottoman is the most consistently awarded restaurant in Canberra. Its hearty modern Turkish inspired menu uses fresh local produce.
1. Central Canberra
This Canberra City preccint is vibrant with bars, nightclubs, cafes and restaurants that are favourite hotspots with the locals! There are also theatres, gallery and cinemas nearby adding to the vibrancy of the area.
2. Farmers Markets
After a Friday night of partying, why not chill out with the locals at the farmers markets? The Capital Region Farmers Market is the most popular in Canberra with over 6,000 people attending each week! Next, the Southside Farmers Market is held every Sunday. Apart from the usual products and fresh produce, there are also takeaway foods such as pancakes, home-made porridge and locally-made pies available here!
Meet fellow parents and give your kid the opportunity to make new friends by visiting Questacon. This science museum is stacked with loads of fun and activities to keep the kids occupied!
While Canberra is relatively safe, it still has its bouts of trouble with most reports made in Belconnen, Inner North and Tuggeranong. In 2018, it was reported that assaults, thefts, property damage and burglary offences decreased while robbery offences increased. Since you will be new to the area, it is best to take precautions such as locking your property safely!
1. Canberra is also affectionately known as the “bush capital”
2. A hotair balloon ride over the capital gives you a bird’s eyeview of the city
3. Most of Canberra’s attractions are free especially the museums! YAY!
Do’s and dont’s
- Explore the nature reserves and parks
- Enjoy the culture, entertainment and outdoor activities that the city has to offer
- Take a hotair balloon ride
1. Feed wild animals as it is bad for them
2. Forget sunscreen
3. Swim in undesignated areas