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  • Writer's pictureRima Agarwal

CANBERRA: An Amazing Place to Live & Raise Family!

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

Happy Canberra Day!

I’m often asked about my life in Canberra by friends from my home country India, which makes me reflect on my time here. And I thought that there couldn’t possibly be a better day to share my experience of being here than today, the day we commemorate the founding of this lovely city! Canberra, the capital city of Australia, often flies under the radar when compared to the bustling metropolises of Sydney and Melbourne. However, as a mum living in Canberra, I can attest to the fact that it is a fantastic place to call home and raise a family.

While there are many practical reasons why Canberra is a great place to live, such as its strong economy and excellent education system, I want to share my personal experience of why Canberra is such a great place to live, not just practically but also from an emotional perspective.

First and foremost, Canberra is an incredibly welcoming and friendly city. As a newlywed, the idea of leaving my friends and family, my job and my home country and moving to a whole new country was super scary, I always knew my partner had plans of moving to Australia, but I didn’t know it would happen so soon! I mean, moving for college and making friends is different but moving as a grown up, without a work or study visa, no social circle or a way to make friends- it can be daunting!! But the warm reception I received from my new community made all the difference. Whether it's a stranger you are approaching for help, the other parents at the playground or the friendly neighbours on our street, I've always found Canberra to be a place where people are happy to stop and chat and make new connections.

Canberra is also a very safe. Crime rates are relatively low compared to other Australian cities, and the city is known for being clean and well-maintained. As someone who values safety and security, this is a huge draw for me.

Another aspect of Canberra that I love is its focus on outdoor living. Canberra is surrounded by beautiful national parks and nature reserves, and there are countless walking trails and bike paths to explore. As a family, we love to go on hikes together and discover new parts of the city's natural beauty. The fresh air and exercise are great for our physical health, but more importantly, spending time in nature is a wonderful way to bond as a family and recharge emotionally.

The fact that there are Lakes everywhere, we have a huge one at walking distance from our house and omg it's a huge motivation to step out and be active even on days we are feeling too dull!! Canberra also has plenty of parks, play areas and green spaces that are perfect for picnics and playing with the kids. Lake Burley Griffin, located in the center of the city, is also a popular spot for water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding.

Not to mention, the lack of traffic. Unlike other major cities in Australia, such as Sydney or Melbourne, Canberra is relatively compact and easy to navigate. Rush hour traffic is a breeze compared to the bumper-to-bumper congestion found in other cities, which makes getting around a lot less stressful, and saves me a lot of time and energy. And we moved here from India, you can not imagine what kind of a happy shock it was to have roads this empty! It felt like we owned the place 🤣

One thing that surprised me when I moved to Canberra was the city's thriving arts and culture scene. From world-class museums to innovative theater productions, there is always something interesting and inspiring to see or do. As a mum, it's important to me that my children are exposed to a variety of experiences and perspectives, and Canberra's vibrant cultural offerings provide the perfect opportunity for that. I also love how enthusiastically and fervently Canberrans celebrate each and every festival, and it really makes a difference seeing my kids participate in the Indian traditions I used to love growing up. This is just one more indication of how vibrant and hospitable the Canberra community is!

Did you know that school holidays in Canberra are always filled with fun activities happening across the city, if you are a Canberran who is planning to stay in during the Easter break or Christmas break or school holidays in general, you can plan an activity for every single day and your kids are sure not to complaint! Floriade, Multicultural, Enlighten, The Picnic Train, Balloon Spectacular are just a few examples of the fun things spread across the year!

Let’s talk about Canberra’s strong economy. The city has a diverse range of industries, including government, healthcare, education, and tourism, which provide plenty of job opportunities for residents. The cost of living in Canberra is also relatively low compared to other Australian cities, making it an affordable place to live.

As a mum, I also appreciate the excellent education system in Canberra. The city has a range of high-quality public and private schools, as well as several world-class universities. The Australian National University (ANU) is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world, and there are many other excellent educational institutions in the city. This means that my children have access to some of the best educational opportunities in the country, which will set them up for success in the future. As a parent, knowing that my children have access to high-quality education is very important to me.

Honestly, when I first moved here, I thought Canberra was dull and uneventful. However, after living here for seven years with my two young kids, I have come to realize that this city has something for everyone. If you're seeking adventure, Canberra's nightlife scene is buzzing. If you're looking for peace and tranquility, Canberra offers the perfect escape, with a natural setting that is second to none.

As an adult with responsibilities such as work, childcare, and running a household, I believe that Canberra is the ideal place to live. I mean, if i have to do the same adulthood chores day in and day out, why wouldn't i subtract the stress of traffic and overly crowded public places from it and add big backyards, homely neighborhood and ample amount of free time to it! Canberra strikes the perfect balance in terms of pace and lifestyle, allowing you to engage in a fulfilling career while also providing ample opportunities to enrich your family's life with fun and engaging activities. I wouldn't choose to live anywhere else in the world.

Finally, I have to mention the sense of community that exists in Canberra. Despite being a capital city, Canberra has a small-town feel where everyone seems to know everyone else. This sense of community extends to all aspects of life, from the local farmer's market to the neighborhood school. There are many local community groups and events that bring people together, making it easy to meet new people and make friends. As a mum, it's reassuring to know that I live in a place where people look out for each other and work together to make the community stronger.

In conclusion, Canberra is an excellent place to live. From the lack of traffic to the strong sense of community, and the natural beauty, there are plenty of reasons to love living in the city. Its friendly, welcoming community, focus on outdoor living, vibrant arts and culture scene, and excellent education system make it an ideal place to raise a family. Whether you're moving to Canberra for work or looking for a change of scenery, there is something for everyone in this vibrant and welcoming city, hence I highly recommend giving this city a chance – trust me, you won't be disappointed! And in all honesty, I am grateful for the opportunity to call this wonderful city home.

-Rima xx

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