Australia’s capital city is sometimes dismissed as just a company town. It’s true that the government is Canberra’s major industry, but after a long week of tending to politics, its young, highly educated population likes to let its hair down.
Canberra, a compromise capital, situated between Sydney and Melbourne, is a planned city. Construction began in 1913 from plans drawn up by a team of Chicago architects. Like Washington DC the city is situated in a district, the Australian Capital Territory or ACT, and has wide open green spaces, and embassies from around the world. There is so much natural vegetation that it’s often called the “bush capital.” The architecture is largely modern. It’s not always beautiful, but it can be striking, such as at the Shine Dome and the National Museum of Australia. Much of the downtown gets quiet in the evening, but the area around Bunda Street stays lively with many restaurants and bars.
The gay community here is thriving. The annual SpringOut festival, takes place from October to December. (Remember, the seasons are reversed down under.) Events range from croquet to nude yoga. The Canberra Bush Dance is the city's largest glbt event, each November for 30 years running.
Your first taste of Canberra will be the Canberra Airport, which is currently getting a multimillion dollar renovation. Taxis, or the Air Liner buses, with departures every 30 minutes, will get you to downtown. Cost is from $7 to $9, depending on your destination.
This is a city that was planned with the car in mind, so renting one is a good idea. There are also taxis, and Action buses for getting around.
Currency and Money
The local currency is the Australian dollar. You shouldn’t have trouble finding ATMs in most urban areas.
Media & Resources
Diamant Hotel (15 Edinburgh Ave), 80 room contemporary boutique hotel and restaurant, landscaped gardens, retail shops.
Cube Nightclub (33 Petrie Plaza), Thursday through Sunday, gay dance and party club, shows, men/women mix, karaoke.
Tilley's Divine Cafe Gallery (Brigalow at Wattle St), breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days, art, poetry readings, music concerts, jazz, swing, dancing.
Madesco Escorts luxury male and executive escort service, has models, VIP and high-class escorts available in most large Australian cities, including Canberra.
Cafe Essen (6 Garema Place) casual, popular hearty breakfasts, brunch, lunch, 30 coffee varieties, tea, from 7am.
Cream Cafe & Bar (Bunda Street FG10), contemporary Asian, European/Mediterranean food, vegetarian-friendly, breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sunday treats, early take-out coffeeshop, full bar.
Eat Your Words Cafe (2/71 Dundas Court), big breakfasts, eggs benedict, pancakes, lunch, smoothies, croissants and muffins.
Idelic Cafe (62 Giles St, Kingston), big breakfasts 7am to noon, all-day Saturday, benedicts, omelets, pancakes, bagels, extras, quiche, lunch, wraps, tarts, cakes, desserts.
Tosolini's Ristorante (London Circuit at East Row), traditional Italian cooking, comfortable, relaxed atmosphere, Italian wines, good coffee.
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