About the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

  • ACT is located wholly within the state of New South Wales
  • It was named the national capital in 1913.
  • It is located nearly 300km from Sydney and some 650km from Melbourne.
  • A planned city, Canberra is laid out around an artificial lake, Lake Burley Griffin.
  • National government remains its main industry, but private sector employment has expanded and includes production of sophisticated scientific and communications equipment, and computer software.


Canberra has a population of 370,000. It is in a valley surrounded by hills and mountains and is a city of open spaces, filled with an abundance of parks and native bushland.

Canberra is a modern planned city, very clean, safe and thoughtfully laid out.

The coast and the snowfields are easily accessible from Canberra, and public transport can get you to either place in just two hours. Sydney is just three hours by bus, car or train, with buses running every hour.

Canberra is home to the nation’s political and cultural institutions such as Parliament House, the National Museum and the National Library. It also contains the embassies and high commissions of more than 60 countries.

VisitACT Government official site

ACT climate is dry and continental with marked seasonal and daily temperature changes. Because of the elevation and the distance from the coast, ACT experiences four distinct seasons. Canberra has warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters with occasional fog and frost. January is the hottest month in the Australian Capital Territory with an average daily maximum temperature of around 27 degrees Celsius. July is the coldest month with the average daily maximum temperature around 11 degrees Celsius.

Canberra is well serviced by a public bus network. ‘Action’ is the name of Canberra’s local bus service. Student discounts are available. Concession fares are available to students using Action MY WAY cards, for which you will need to complete an application. These are debit cards which you can top up, at a range of on-campus and local community stores, with sufficient money to pay for your bus fares.

Canberra has a labyrinth of well-lit and maintained cycle paths connecting suburbs to the university and the city for a cheaper transport alternative.

Cost of living
The cost of living in Canberra is similar to that of other major capital cities, with accommodation being the main outlay for students. The cost of food and other goods does not usually vary between city and country areas and supermarket prices are generally consistent across the nation.

Australian Catholic University
The Australian National University
University of Canberra
Canberra Institute of Technology

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