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If you haven’t visited Canberra before, deciding where to live will probably be one of your main concerns. The deciding factors are usually budget, distance you are willing to commute from your workplace and the type of lifestyle you prefer.

Budget: Canberra is ranked the third most expensive city to rent a home in Australia, behind Sydney and Darwin, so rental prices can come as a surprise.  You can expect to pay a premium for housing closer to the city, beaches or transport links. Rental prices are quoted per week but most are paid monthly. This means $250 a week does not instantly equate to $1000 a month as there are a different amount of days in some months. This can make a difference to your assumed budget – so ensure you do the math.

$250 a week x 52 weeks a year = $13,000

$13,000 : 12 months in a year = $1,083 per month.

Websites such as and will give you an idea of size and quality of accommodation you can expect in different areas.

Distance to work: The distance one is willing to commute, where you work and your preferred mode of transport will all factor in to this decision.

 To work out estimated commute times - Go to  - this is a great website that allows you to enter your start destination (either by address, train station, bus stop or landmark) and time you need to arrive by and it will calculate travel routes available and times.

Lifestyle Factors: Lifestyle is the most personal of the three key decision making factors. For some having the beach on your doorstep or being walk to the local school matters most. For others it might be great shops, a bigger backyard or peace and quiet. 

Cost of Schooling: Overseas residents can be charged an annual fee even if their children attend state schools 9dependant on visa type). The costs in Canberra and ACT is particularly high – see our EDUCATION  section for more info. For this reason, some temporary residents find it more cost effective to live in NSW – this would mean a longer commute to work but lower school fees.


Tip! If it is possible to avoid relocating in Jan/Feb you may find rental prices are a bit lower as early in the year is popular with people starting new jobs and studies.


Canberra CBD: For those looking to avoid the commute and who like to have everything on your doorstep. The CBD area is popular with young executives or couples.

Kingston is close to the city centre and is great for cafes, restaurants and nightlife. Good local schools and Talopea Park make it popular with families. The convenience is reflected a bit in the prices which can be high but here are lots of apartments that suit the young singles and couples who gravitate to the area.

Yarralumla is a favourite for many ex pats. It is quiet and peaceful with lots of green spaces, walks and bike tracks yet also close to everything. A family friendly neighbourhood feel. Try also Curtin and Deakin near by.

Red Hill is about 7km south east of the CBD and is close to local shopping centres, parks and upmarket boutiques and restaurants. Would suit older couples or families (lots of nearby schools). Try also Griffith near by.

Kambah is the biggest suburb in Canberra and about a 10 minute drive to the city centre. With the Brindabella ranges on one side and Murrimbidge River on the other it is surrounded by nature but not far from the action.

Ainslie is a five minute drive to the city and is well placed for schools, restaurants and leisure facilities. Lots of beautiful old houses with large established gardens. Try also O’Connor and Turner.



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