Canberra is Australia’s capital, inland from the country's southeast coast. Surrounded by forest, farmland and nature reserves, it earns its nickname, the "Bush Capital.” The city's focal point is Lake Burley Griffin, filled with sailboats and kayaks. On the lakeshore is the massive, strikingly modern Parliament House, as well as museums including the National Gallery, known for its indigenous art collections.
- 248 km (154 mi) SW of Sydney
- 654 km (406 mi) NE of Melbourne
- 958 km (595 mi) E of Adelaide
- 945 km (587 mi) SSW of Brisbane
- 3,087 km (1,918 mi) ESE of Perth
Canberra has a relatively cool dry temperate climate by Australian standards; it lies on a humid subtropical/oceanic transitional climate zone. In January, the warmest month, the average high is approximately 28 °C (82 °F); however, in July, the coldest month, the average high is only about 11 °C (52 °F). In December, temperatures will range from the mid 20s°C to mid 30s °C with few days of rain.
Getting to Canberra
International flights fly directly to Canberra Airport from Singapore and Wellington. There are also frequent domestic flights from major Australian capital cities. Canberra is a three hour drive from Sydney and a 6 1/2 hour drive from Melbourne. A more economical option than flying into Canberra may be flying into Sydney and then taking a coach bus to downtown Caberra: www.murrays.com.au
Visa information for visitors to Australia can be found on the Immigration Department website: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1
Although visa classes change from time to time so that we cannot guarantee the accuracy or currency of this information, for most conference attendees the most relevant visa category will be 'eVisitor (subclass 651).
We recommend that event participants apply for their visa well in advance of their intended date of travel to Australia. Information about visa processing times is available on the Department’s website: www.border.gov.au/about/access-accountability/service-standards
The Immigration Department has provided the following factsheets to assist you:
- General information for visa applicants - Fact sheet (Feb 2017)
- Business Information Sheet - Fact sheet (Feb 2017)
Activities to do
Escape to nature near the city
The heavily forested valley of Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is only 40 minutes from Canberra, but it teems with wildlife, including emus, kangaroos and cockatoos. Even closer to the city (20 minutes away) is Uriarra Crossing. Walk, picnic or fish on this short, lovely section of the Murrumbidgee River's epic 1600 kilometre (994 mile) journey from the Australian Alps. If you really want to get up close and personal with wildlife however, consider a stay at Jamala Wildlife Lodge. This incredible new hotel - located within Canberra's National Zoo and Aquarium, right in the centre of the city - has bungalows with glass walls that look onto animal enclosures, and suites in treehouses, with balconies that overlook the zoo's giraffes.
Explore beautiful galleries
As Australia's capital city, Canberra houses many of the nation's most important art, including a priceless collection of Aboriginal art. The National Gallery of Australia is Australia's pre-eminent public compiler of art, housing more than 7500 Australian, Asian and Aboriginal artworks across 13 different galleries. Nearby is the very cool National Portrait Gallery, featuring a wildly varied body of portraiture (from Mick Jagger to Barry Humphries), which originally came into being as a temporary exhibition called Uncommon Australians.
See democracy in action at Parliament House
Australia's Parliament House is a gorgeous example of modern architecture, which was only unveiled in 1988. Visitors can take a free guided tour through the building every day at 9.30am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm and 3.30pm. When Parliament is in session you can watch Question Time (from 2pm onwards), at which government ministers are questioned by other members of parliament. The building also houses a number of exhibitions and public galleries
Wine and dine around Canberra
Canberra's reputation as a culinary destination is relatively newfound. The city has played host to several excellent fine dining restaurants, such as Chairman & Yip, for decades. But in the past 10 years Canberra has found its own culinary identity based around an emerging cool climate wine region (Lerida Estate is particularly memorable) and an explosion of mid-tier eateries reflecting residents' changing tastes. Head to ONA Coffee to try a particularly excellent flat white (the cafe is owned by local Sasa Sesic, who won the World Barista Championship in 2015). Provini does excellent Italian while Eightysix offers upscale modern Australian in hipster surrounds. For a dining experience that encapsulates modern Canberra's current tastes, book ahead for a table at the city's hottest restaurant, Monster.