Asking yourself, why study in Canberra? You may not know as much about Australia’s capital as you do its bigger neighbouring cities to the north and south. But with ANU nestled in the heart of the city, just a stone’s throw from everything that can keep you fed, quenched and entertained, we’re sharing 10 things our students love about studying in this vibrant and youthful city.
Canberra is a foodie’s utopia. With a huge array of options for eating and drinking, there’s something to suit every budget and every taste—excuse the pun!
Whether you’re searching for award-winning restaurants, pizza and beer at the pub, or a street food experience from a market, Canberra will deliver. It also has awesome nightlife across various bars and clubs, including the much-loved Badger & Co located on the ANU campus.
As a bonus, a short tour outside the ACT puts you among 140 vineyards across more than 40 wineries in the beautiful local region. And that’s without mentioning the capital’s favourite beer!
Students chatting while relaxing on a lawn on the ANU Campus.
With around 60,000 tertiary students choosing to study in Canberra each year, the city is a youthful place with heaps to do. Building a community here is easy. ANU has plenty of choices for student accommodation – each with its own social calendar and supportive community. That’s without mentioning the University’s awesome campus lifestyle, and the amazing CBD on its doorstep, so it’s no mystery why so many students choose to study here, in the heart of the nation’s capital.
From Floriade and Summernats, to the annual Balloon Spectacular and the Truffle Festival, there’s plenty to keep you moving through every season. Canberra is always up for a celebration. You’ll never be stuck on campus watching the grass grow; there’s always something going on at Exhibition Park, Commonwealth Park, Garema Place, Civic Square, Haig Park and across the city’s other great entertainment spots.
A sea of pink, red and yellow tulips surrounded by pansies with a Ferris wheel in the distance in Commonwealth Park during Floriade.
Don’t have a car? Not a problem in Canberra. With light rail and bus routes connecting the city, getting around is easy. Canberra is also bicycle-friendly, with over 400 kilometres of cycle paths spanning the city. Many students also use the shared e-scooter scheme, which has up to 1,900 colourful scooters (and helmets) across the city. Students use them as a quick and easy alternative to walking or cycling around the CBD and campus.
Two light rail vehicles crossing paths in Gungahlin ACT.
Hugged on all sides by scenic mountains and national parks, not to mention the stunning Lake Burley Griffin at its centre, Canberra offers endless possibilities for things to do outdoors. Fondly known as ‘the bush capital’, it invites you to pull on your hiking boots for a bushwalk up Black Mountain on the edge of the ANU campus or wander through the National Arboretum. Hire a bike for a scenic ride around the lake and picnic lunch in the botanical gardens across the road. If these aren’t your scene, there’s more on offer. The natural setting of Canberra means that fishing, kayaking, camping, swimming, mountain biking and bob-sledding are also things you can do without travelling too far.
Students enjoy the breathtaking view of Canberra that overlooks the city, Anzac Parade and Parliament House from Mount Ainslie.
We don’t like to brag but it is official that the most highly educated people in Australia are located in the ACT. Residents of Canberra are highly educated and twice as likely to hold a postgraduate qualification compared to the rest of the Australian population. They also earn more. Combining these things with ANU being one of the world’s leading research universities, Canberra stands out as the perfect place to study, live and work.
Canberra ticks all the boxes for a healthy and enjoyable place to live. It’s one of the safest cities worldwide thanks to low crime rates, the air is clean and fresh, and you’ll find quality amenities and healthcare when needed. Canberra is also part of the global Welcoming Cities Network, which focuses on creating communities where everyone can belong and participate in the city’s life.
Need to let your hair down and get away from the city? Canberra’s only a few hours’ drive from stunning spots for those quick weekend escapes or for a longer holiday break in the warmer months. A car drive to the south gets you to the pristine ski fields of the Snowy Mountains in winter. For a less toe-numbing alternative, the NSW south coast is only a few hours away, and home to a huge collection of beautiful surf beaches supervised by lifeguards to keep you safe, and places to fish, kayak and watch the migration of southern white, blue and humpback whales.
Whether you like wandering through museums, going to the theatre and concerts, visiting libraries or the zoo, or taking art workshops, Canberra hits the spot. From the Australian War Memorial and outdoor movie nights in the park to music festivals or watching Shakespeare by the lake, there is a cultural experience for everyone in the city.
Poppies sprout from a memorial wall at the Australian War Memorial on Anzac Parade. Photo by Tony Liao.
With a quarter of Canberra’s population born overseas*, it’s a city that embraces and celebrates cultural diversity. Each year, you can enjoy a range of cultural festivities, including exhibitions and events, as well as the annual National Multicultural Festival, which is your chance to enjoy plenty of international entertainment and food.
The city is also home to a thriving international student scene, which adds to the beautifully diverse nature of the Canberra community.