Monday, March 11, 2013

Like Canberra - actually I love it!

Today Canberra is officially 100 years old!  There are many, many activities happening to celebrate this milestone all through the year, but one that I liked was that late last year everyone was asked to nominate what they like about Canberra.  Over 13,000 likes were submitted and they have now been voted into the top 100 things we like about our city and the final list is being announced later this week.  But on this birthday I thought I would do my own list of likes - I wonder how many will be the same as the official list.

I like how big and very blue the sky is here.  From the super deep dark blue of a hot summer day to the frosty ice blue of a winter morning, the blue, blue sky is one of the things I miss most when I'm away.

I like how nature is all around me all the time.  From the tree and hedge lined streets (random Canberra fact you cannot have a front fence, hence why there are so many hedges) to the many nature parks and ovals.  Not to mention the fact that you can pick blackberries pretty much in the centre of the city, even if the crop was disappointing this year.

I like all the brilliant restaurants we have - and the fact that so many of them are hidden in local shopping centers in the middle of suburbs.  I do consider Canberra a bit of a hidden city.

I like that when people say where they work it is usually a rather strange acronym - and that everyone knows what that acronym means.

I like how you can guarantee Canberran's will turn out in their hundreds for the opening of a paper bag if it is free even though we are among the highest paid per capita in the country. 

I like that everyone knows everyone.  People talk about 6 degrees of separation, I think it is roughly 2 degrees in Canberra.  Some people find that suffocating, I find it comforting and love the sense of community it gives.

I like that we have a zoo where you can pat a Cheetah!

I like having access to that national institutions - even if I'm terrible about visiting them.  Not only are the permanent collections of places like the National Gallery of Australia, the Australian War Memorial, the National Museum, etc all amazing but they bring in the most stunning exhibitions.  I'm so lucky to be able to easily visit them.

I like that there are more cool, funky bars and cafes opening up all the time and that we have somehow developed a hipster scene - even if I'm far too mainstream to be considered a hipster.

I like frost - in particular how it looks when the sun hits it first thing in the morning.  Like the landscape is covered in a million tiny diamonds.

I like the lack of traffic and big wide roads.  If I have to drive in Sydney I alternate between angry and terrified.  Canberra roads are just so peaceful.

I like the Multicultural festival and all the other festivals and events that seem to spring up every now and then.  I even like Summernats when viewed from Gus's (one of the city's iconic cafes) - i.e. I can look at the cars without interacting with the participants.

I like that the parks have free BBQs and lots of shady trees perfect for summer get togethers.

I like that it is close enough to the coast for when I need a beach hit, Sydney for when I need the big city, the snow for people inclined to like really cold, hard water and yet is in a place all of its own.

I like the fact that we have 4 distinct seasons.  Cool, windy spring with the gorgeousness of Floriade.  Hot, dry summer with outdoor activities and long evenings.  The stunning colours of autumn, crunchy leaves in piles to jump in.  Freezing winter with frosty, clear nights in front of roaring fires.  It certainly provides for endless conversation topics!

I like the fresh food markets - yes I know every city pretty much has them, but that doesn't stop me liking them.

I like that it is ok to be down on Canberra - but only if you are a local.  If an outsider knocks our town we will come swinging to its defence.

And of course I love that this city is home to some of the most clever, funny, quirky, caring, talented people I know and that even better they are my friends and family.


  1. What a lovely post. My few experiences in Canberra have always been enjoyable in a laid back way and I think I'd love the nature / parks if I lived there. I've also heard so much about the 'hidden' nature of the city that I think if I lived there, I'd see a completely different side to what you get when visiting. Your closeness to the rest of the Eastern side of Australia would be a perk too!

  2. I love Canberra, it's always so pretty there! I remember visiting my brother there and raving about all the cute little red brick cottages. I was astonished when he told me that they were the lower income houses no one wanted to live in. I couldn't believe it, in Brisbane people would pay a fortune to live in them!

  3. Woot woot Canberra! Give 'er a hug for me!

    (I've written several posts about what I call the 6 Degrees of Canberra Bacon. So many hilarious stories!)

  4. Naaaw what a lovely post, I especially liked some of the nuanced observations i.e our no front fence rule!