Australia’s national capital, Canberra, is full of exciting areas that are ideal for international student living. With hip cafés, a multicultural community and fascinating museums, it’s a vibrant student city that’s sure to keep you entertained.
Let’s take a look at the key areas of Canberra and what to expect from each of them.
Housing both the Inner North and Inner South, Central Canberra is home to some of the most student-friendly suburbs, including Acton, Barton, Braddon, Dickson, Fyshwick, Griffith, and Lyneham, as well as Kingston and Manuka, which are two of the city’s older regions. Across the area, you’ll find an array of bustling restaurants, bars, cafés and other hidden gems you can explore in the alleyways. Dickson is known to have Canberra’s best Asian restaurants and specialty grocery stores, which helps many international students get a taste of home.
Central Canberra also houses many public services like Civic Library, the City Bus Interchange, the Canberra Olympic Pool and Glebe Park. The Canberra Centre is the main shopping precinct, with smaller, independent outlets scattered around it.
Australian National University (ANU) students will spend a lot of time in Acton as this is where the campus is located, along with a range of student-friendly cafės and restaurants nearby.
One of Australia’s fastest-growing areas, Gungahlin is quickly becoming one of Canberra’s most bustling regions. Bordered by Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve and Yerrabi Pond, locals and international students alike can enjoy the beauty and tranquility of Gungahlin’s natural surroundings.
The suburb is also home to Gungahlin Village, a large shopping centre with everything you need, from groceries to clothing to homewares and more.
When it comes to dining out, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Gungahlin, particularly if you’re craving Asian food. Some of the area’s best restaurants include Ogawa and Kokoro, both of which serve delicious Japanese dishes. Ginger and Spice is another popular spot, serving Chinese, Thai and Malaysian meals.
Woden, Weston Creek and Molonglo
These three regions offer several highlights for international students, including excellent shopping, dining and outdoor experiences.
Woden is a thriving business and shopping hub, housing Westfield Woden, which features a vibrant dining precinct and a variety of shops. Nearby, particularly in Philip, you’ll find a range of specialty shops.
Check out Weston Creek to sample a variety of delicious cuisines at local restaurants, including Thai House Restaurant, Weston Turkish Cuisine and Maestral Seafood Restaurant.
Molonglo Valley is one of Canberra’s newer suburbs, boasting breathtaking natural attractions. The National Arboretum Canberra is a mosaic of living forests and gardens where you can enjoy breathtaking views and unique experiences. Take guided tours, participate in workshops, visit The Curatoreum – there’s no shortage of fun to be had. You can also head to the popular recreation facility Stromlo Forest Park, complete with a criterium cycling circuit, mountain bike trails, cross-country track and swimming pool.
A 30-minute bus ride and a 15-minute drive from the City Centre, Belconnen is home to the University of Canberra and Canberra Institute of Technology. The suburbs of Kaleen, Giralang and Florey have lots of affordable accommodation options, and there are many student residences in Belconnen. There’s also a huge Westfield shopping centre, as well as a variety of places to eat, drink and explore.
Art lovers of all kinds will adore the Belconnen Arts Centre, which boasts an extensive range of exhibitions, performances (musical, dance and theatrical) and workshops. On the other hand, if you’re more interested in sport, catch a game at the GIO Stadium Canberra, which has hosted a number of NRL and soccer games (including FIFA World Cup qualifiers!).
Hoping to enjoy the great outdoors? At the heart of Belconnen is Lake Ginninderra, an ideal location for a leisurely afternoon stroll or bike ride. The lake is also home to local wildlife, including black swans, rakalis and ducks. So, if you’re an animal lover, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these creatures.
Tuggeranong is Canberra’s most southern district and home to some of the city’s most beautiful landmarks, namely Lake Tuggeranong. With a cycle/walkway, it’s a picturesque spot for a walk or bike ride. Alternatively, stay a bit longer to relax and enjoy a picnic or barbecue in this oasis. Toilets and barbeque/picnic areas are located around the lake, at Town Centre Park, Mundang Beach (Sea Scouts) and Nguru Beach.
In Tuggeranong, you’ll also enjoy views of the majestic Brindabella Range. If you’d like to see them up close and personal, you can even take a day or weekend trip to the Brindabella National Park – it only takes about an hour to get there by car!