Home to major educational institutions like the Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Canberra (UC), Canberra is one of Australia’s most liveable cities. Whether you’re new to town or just looking for a change of scenery, there are plenty of suburbs that are perfect for student living.

Canberra was carefully planned out by architects Walter and Marion Burley Griffin before construction started in 1913, meaning it is simple to understand and get around. The city has six main areas: the Inner North, Inner South, Belconnen to the west, Gungahlin in the far north, and Woden and Tuggeranong in the far south. Most suburbs have a local shopping precinct, with essentials like a supermarket, chemist, newsagent and cafe.

From affordable and leafy outer suburbs to established student hubs in the inner city, we’ve put together a list of some of the most student-friendly Canberra suburbs.

The best spots for students in the Inner North

Thanks to its proximity to the city centre, the Inner North is one of the most popular areas to live in Canberra. But don’t worry, there are still some very affordable suburbs that are home to lots of students, young professionals and families. If you’re studying at the Australian National University (ANU), the Canberra Institute of Technology’s (CIT) Reid campus (CIT) or the Australian Catholic University (ACU), here are some places to check out.

Hackett

Nestled into Mount Majura, Hackett is a small, quiet suburb with a handy local shopping plaza and easy access to bus stops and a bike path to the city centre. It takes 30 minutes to get to the city centre, but the buzzing Asian restaurant precinct of Dickson is only a five-minute drive away. Hackett is also known for the many kangaroos that graze on the local sports field in the early mornings.

The median rent for a two-bedroom unit is $350 per week, with a room in a share house going for around $200.

Campbell

To the east of Civic (Canberra’s city centre), you’ll find the often-overlooked suburb of Campbell. This Inner North suburb is close to star Canberra attractions like the War Memorial and Mount Ainslie and is only a ten-minute drive from the city centre. Lanterne Rooms, a trendy Asian fusion restaurant, makes the Campbell shops quite a popular spot.

The median rent for a two-bedroom unit is $600 per week, while a room in a share house is around $225.

Lyneham

Lyneham has been a student favourite in Canberra for a long time, and it’s not hard to see why. With a bohemian vibe, the local shops offer great food and coffee, and the suburb is a five-minute drive from ANU and the city. Most students living in Lyneham ride their bikes everywhere, using the safe and convenient bike path that passes through the suburb.

The median rent for a two-bedroom unit is $600 per week, and a room in a share house is around $225.

Gungahlin

Although up-and-coming Gungahlin is 20 kilometres away from the city centre, the recently opened light rail makes commuting faster than ever. It is a newer part of Canberra, with a booming local centre, lots of freshly built apartments for rent, and plenty of potential for future development.

The median rent for a two-bedroom unit is $480 per week, while a room in a share house is around $175.

Where to live near Belconnen

On the banks of Lake Ginninderra, Belconnen offers practical student living close to the University of Canberra (UC) and CIT’s Bruce campus. The Belconnen Mall (also known as Westfield Belconnen) has all your basics covered, and there are reliable bus links to the city centre. Here are a couple of laid-back and low-cost suburbs around Belconnen where you can start your house hunt.

Kaleen

Due to its location within short walking distance of UC, Kaleen is very popular with university students. Despite its popularity, it remains surprisingly affordable. It has a local supermarket and is largely residential, but is close to a bike path and not far from Dickson.

The median rent for a room in a share house in Kaleen is around $165 per week.

Giralang

Next door to Kaleen, Giralang is a quiet and affordable suburb. There are plans underway to redevelop the local shops with new retail outlets and apartments over the next couple of years, making Giralang one to watch.

The median rent for a two-bedroom unit is $480 per week, and a room in a share house is around $170.

Florey

Belconnen’s suburbs are low-density, mostly filled with roomy houses and large backyards that are perfect for those who like a little more space. Florey is no different, plus it has a thriving local shopping centre within walking distance of the lake and is just a ten-minute drive from UC.

The median rent for a room in a share house in Florey is around $160 per week.

Top suburbs on the Southside

Across Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra’s Southside is mainly populated by families and public servants, along with major art galleries and museums. However, that means you can find some of the cheapest options for student living in the city, with good access to shopping hubs and public transport at Woden or Tuggeranong. South Canberra is also convenient for those studying medicine at the Canberra Hospital.

Red Hill

Taking its name from a nearby nature reserve, Red Hill is currently undergoing a building boom of new properties. The tree-lined streets of Red Hill are bordered by Kingston, Manuka and Fyshwick, providing a healthy supply of chic cafes and restaurants. Red Hill Nature Reserve is also ideal for bushwalking.

The median rent for a one-bedroom unit is $330 per week, while a room in a share house is around $205.

Curtin

Curtin is conveniently located between Woden and central Canberra, with plenty of buses travelling between the two. It’s home to a well-established local shopping precinct with a nice community atmosphere. One of Canberra’s best Indian restaurants, Daana, is tucked away here, too.

The median rent for a two-bedroom unit is $480 per week, and a room in a share house is around $175.

Lyons

For students with a car, Lyons offers access to ANU, UC and Canberra’s centre in around 15 minutes via the Tuggeranong Parkway. Within walking distance, Westfield Woden also has lots of restaurants, supermarkets, shops and regular bus connections. The Oakey Hill Nature Reserve is a great place to go hiking, with a resident population of eastern grey kangaroos.

The median rent for a two-bedroom unit is $480 per week, while a room in a share house is around $175.

If you’re keen to get a better idea of how much it’ll cost to live in Canberra, check out our Cost of Living Calculator.