Aerial view of Canberra

General information for visitors

Canberra is located in the Australian Capital Territory, on the ancient lands of the Ngunnawal people, who have lived here for over 20,000 years. Canberra’s name is thought to mean ‘meeting place’, derived from the Aboriginal word Kamberra. European settlers arrived in the 1830s, and the area won selection by ballot for the federal capital in 1908. Since then the ‘Bush Capital’ has grown to become the proud home of the Australian story, with a growing population of around 390,000.

Canberra hosts a wide range of tourist attractions, including various national museums, galleries and Parliament House, as well as beautiful parks and walking trails. Several attractions are within walking distance of the ANU campus, including the National Museum of Australia and the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Canberra is also a fantastic base from which to explore the many treasures of the surrounding region, including historic townships, beautiful coastlines and the famous Snowy Mountains. Learn more about what to do and see during your stay in Canberra.

ANU is located on the north side of Lake Burley Griffin. From the Mathematical Sciences Institute it is a short walk to the central shopping areas, the main bus interchange, numerous restaurants, and Canberra's major theatres and concert hall. It is also walking distance to the National Botanic Gardens and the National Museum.

The weather in Canberra is generally sunny and pleasant. The average daily temperature range is 0-11 degrees in July and 12-26 degrees in December. Visitors to Canberra during July and August from abroad should remember to bring warm clothes, since it is winter in Canberra during this time.

Arriving in Australia

Transfers to Canberra 

There are no direct international flights to Canberra. There are several options to get to Canberra, including domestic air travel, bus, train and private transport. Most people opt to travel to Canberra via domestic air travel or bus from Sydney or Melbourne. 

By Air - Domestic Flight 

Canberra is an hour away from Sydney and Melbourne by air. You will need to make your way from the international terminal to domestic terminal if you opt to take domestic flight to Canberra. International customs will need to be cleared at your port of arrival before you can take your domestic flight. This means that you will need to take your luggage with you when moving from international to domestic terminal. At Sydney airport, there are free shuttle buses operating between the two terminals. At Melbourne airport, the international terminal is a short walk from the domestic terminal. 

By Bus 

Canberra is 3.5 hours bus trip away from Sydney and about 7.5 hours bus trip away from Melbourne. Many people opt to travel via bus from Sydney to Canberra. The bus terminal is located outside Sydney airport terminal. For more information on Sydney- Canberra bus services: 

- Murrays bus: https://www.murrays.com.au/express-services/canberra-sydney-timetable/ 

- Greyhound bus: https://www.greyhound.com.au/ 

Both services depart from Sydney airport and arrive in the Canberra Jolimont Bus Station, which is only 2 kms away from ANU. 

Campus maps 

An interactive online campus map is available, along with PDF versions you can download and print: anu.edu.au/maps# 

Most ANU buildings can also be located and navigated to via Google Maps. 

Getting around Canberra

From the airport

The best way to get to ANU from the airport is by taxi - phone 13 2227 or book online. If you are travelling directly to the Mathematical Sciences building (Hanna Neumann Building 145), ask to be dropped off at the end of North Road. 

Parking at ANU

There is scarce free parking at ANU. Parking restrictions apply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week unless stated otherwise. Permit, Pay As You Go, Pay&Display (ticket) and time limited zones are in force from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, public holidays excepted.

You can access more information on the parking options on the campus website.

Public buses

ANU is well serviced by buses, with over thirty routes travelling close to and through campus. Find public buses timetables here

Bus tickets

MyWay card is the cheapest and easiest way to pay for bus trips. Cards can be purchased and recharged at most newsagents and Canberra Connect shopfronts. They can be recharged online and over the phone. You can also pay for bus trips with cash on board the bus.

NXTBUS

ACTION's NXTBUS service tracks the location of your bus in real time. Every bus stop has an ID number. You can search for bus stop IDs on the NXTBUS website. NXTBUS can also tell you if the bus has a bike rack, easy access or is delayed or cancelled via SMS.

Light Rail 

Canberra Light Rail services operate between Canberra’s far north and inner north suburbs and its city centre. Alinga Street City station is only 1.5km away from the heart of ANU campus, Kambri. 

Use your MyWay card to ride the Canberra light rail system or buy a paper ticket (available at all light rail stops). For more information, visit: transport.act.gov.au/travel-options/light-rail/ using-light-rail 

E-Scooters 

Canberrans have access to another mode of transport, with e-scooters now available in the capital. E-scooters, or electric scooters, are similar to e-bikes, and use a rechargeable battery as a power source. 

Hiring an e-scooter is conducted via the Neuron and Beam mobile apps. The e-scooter and helmet are then unlocked via a QR code. 

Bike and ride

Bicycle enclosures, lockers and bicycle hoops are located at many convenient places around Canberra, providing links with major bus routes. Access to bicycle enclosures is via a registered MyWay card. Most ACTION buses are fitted with a bicycle carrier on the front of the bus with space for two bicycles.

Park and ride

Park and Ride facilities allow users to park their car, and transfer to an ACTION bus. All Park and Ride facilities are well lit and most sites offer weather resistant bus shelters.

Accessible buses

ACTION provides easy access buses and services for hearing, vision and mobility impaired users.

ANU transport services

Campus traveller

The Campus Traveller is a free shuttle bus service will provide pick-ups and drop-offs from and to the Lindsay Pryor car park.

See the website for more information.

Accommodation

ANU offers a broad range of accommodation choices for students, within a diverse and vibrant community.

For short-term accommodation, please visit the ANU accommodation alternatives page.