Living in Canberra, Australia

Canberra, the national capital of Australia, is located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Situated on the ancient lands of the Indigenous Ngunnawal people, Canberra’s name is thought to mean ‘meeting place’.

It offers all the cosmopolitan benefits of being a modern, vibrant city, while exuding the relaxed and friendly ambiance of a larger country town. In many ways, living in Canberra is the best of both worlds. The city is:

  • Ranked second in the world for highest quality of life by Numbeo in the 2021 Quality of Life Index
  • Home to 462,200 residents
  • Ranked as Australia's most liveable city in REA Group's Life in Australia 2019 report

The high-quality education offered, together with the convenience of a modern city and pristine natural environment, as well as access to some of the country’s top attractions, means students can experience a healthy and safe place to concentrate on their studies.

Where is Canberra

Moeno's story: What I like about living in Canberra

Find out what Moeno likes about studying in Canberra at ANU. 

Getting around

Canberra has an excellent public bus system servicing the entire ACT. ANU College students enjoy discounts and also have a comprehensive choice of routes, including one that stops directly in front of the College.

Cycling - Although the city’s original planners may not have considered bike tracks in their original design, they nonetheless created a series of linked pathways connecting various amenities, major locations and points of interest.

The result means that students living in Canberra today can access a vast network of cycle paths, which not only makes for a cost effective means of transport, it’s healthy and is good for the environment.

Taxis - Taxis and rideshare services are available throughout the city.

Trains - NSW TrainLink has three services per day from Sydney to Canberra, while a daily bus from Canberra to Cootamundra connects with the XPT (Express Passenger Train) to Melbourne.

Cost of Living

Canberra is an affordable study destination with a high standard of living, but lower costs than Sydney or Melbourne. Like any other city, your living costs in Canberra will vary according to your needs, lifestyle choices and spending habits. As a guide, students should allow at least $20,290 per year to cover accommodation, food and additional expenses such as transport, phone and internet use, and between $100 and $200 per month for text books.

All costs are in Australian dollars (AU$) and may vary based on your lifestyle.


  • Homestay: $190-$330 per person per week
  • Rental: $345-$505 per person per per week*

Other living costs*

  • Meal, inexpensive restaurant: $25
  • Fast food meal: $13.00
  • Cappuccino (regular): $4.56
  • Groceries: $100 per week
  • Transport Canberra bus tickets - $5.00 (without student concession)
  • Movie tickets (Student): $15.00
  • Basic utilities per month (electricity, heating, water, garbage): $231.79
  • Internet per month: $70.00

*Sourced from cost of living comparison site, Numbeo

For more information on the city, please visit:

Things to do

Exhibitions, galleries, world class theatre and concerts, festivals (like Floriade) and a burgeoning culinary culture make Canberra an exciting place to live, any time of the year.

There’s the nightlife too, and given the large university population, tertiary students are very well catered for.

But what really sets Canberra apart from any other Australian city is the fact that many national and cultural institutions are located here, including:

Canberra is also perfectly positioned midway between Sydney and the Snowy Mountains making long weekend trips to either an easy proposition. Other regional attractions take in Tidbinbilla Nature Park, whale-watching on the NSW south coast, and water sports (including fishing and kayaking) along the Murrumbidgee River corridor.

For further information about studying in Canberra, please visit the Study Canberra website.

We are open for your studies – Read our latest guidance for current students or find out more about starting your course.