The Capital in the Bush: Canberra

France has Paris. Japan has Tokyo. Britain has London. Australia has… The Bush Capital?Ask any foreigner what Australia’s capital is. It’s not Sydney. It’s not Melbourne. Many have never even heard of Canberra. The inland Capital Territory is located roughly between Sydney and Melbourne. Chosen as a compromise between the two major cities.

Parliament House

This planned government city centre is affluent and young. The unemployment rate is miniscule and the education level is high. But what gives Canberra it’s charm also has it’s detractions. Due to being inland, the weather is colder. As much disdain Australians have for “pollies” (politicians) they dislike the cold even more. Temperatures can hit below freezing overnight.

If you didn’t catch it, that isn’t a real tourism video. Albeit dry, the humour about the city exists. There’s even a recent debate over the appropriateness of Canberra bashing. So the city must be the worst place to live, right? Not quite. As far as quality of life, a survey of world city mayors rated the city as offering the 26th highest quality of living in the world. The city was also ranked in the 2011 Mercer’s Best Cities in Personal Safety.

Australian National University

The Times Higher Education as well as the Shanghai Jiao Tong Rankings both ranked Australia National University as the best university in Australia along with being a world leader in research. The University of Canberra is located here and Australian Catholic University has a campus as well. The Canberra Deep Space Commission has even worked with NASA to develop the next Mars lander.

"Come to Canberra. Now with ski slopes!" Circa 1973

What Canberra lacks in coastline, the city more than makes up for in cultural attractions. The Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial, the National Museum and the National Gallery are all here. If you absolutely have to get your outdoors on, a daytrip to the beach and a ski trip to Snowy Mountains are entirely possible. Canberra celebrates it’s Centenary in 2013. I promise there’s more to see than pollies!


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