Canberra is one of the great planned cities of the world. Traffic jams, pollution and toll roads are unheard of here – even in ‘peak hour’. Most car journeys take around 20 minutes or less, although many people prefer to walk, cycle or catch the bus to get around.
If you are planning on driving in Canberra, make sure your national driving license is up to date or apply for an International Driving Permit before you leave your home country. If your national driving license is not in English consider getting a translation.
You will need either of these to drive a vehicle in Canberra for the first three months. After that, you will need to apply for an ACT Drivers Licence. Check whether you are from a country exempt from the practical driving test and the road rules knowledge test.
If you have children, you’ll also need to be aware of the child restraint rules to ensure you have adequate child seating in your vehicle.
Owning a car
You can choose to buy a new or used vehicle either through a dealer, private sale or at a vehicle auction.
No matter your purchase method, you will need to transfer the registration of the vehicle into your name within 14 days of purchasing at an Access Canberra shopfront. If moving from interstate you will also need to change your registration.
If you buy a vehicle that weighs up to 4.5 tonnes and is more than six years old, you’ll need to have it inspected at the vehicle inspection station in Dickson, or by an authorised examiner in the ACT to ensure you obtain a roadworthy certificate before the registration transfer can be completed.
Vehicle registrations are valid for up to a year and a courtesy reminder will be sent to you four to six weeks before it’s due to expire.
If you have a no-claim bonus certificate or letter of history from your previous car insurer, you will significantly reduce your premiums. Make sure you shop around for the insurance that best suits your needs.
Taxis and UBER
To catch a taxi in Canberra, use a taxi rank, book over the phone, online or use the local taxi apps available for Android and iPhone. Companies will accept payment by credit cards, Cabcharge vouchers, cash and electronic funds transfer. For wheelchair accessible taxis, you’ll need to phone ahead to arrange the service.
Riding with Uber
Your ride, on demand.
Whether you’re headed to work, the airport, or out on the town, Uber connects you with a reliable ride in minutes. One tap and a car comes directly to you. Your driver knows exactly where to go. And payment is completely cashless. See UBER
Canberra’s public transport system, ACTION, is a fast, safe and reliable bus service. Services such as the Transit Trip Planner, Park and Ride, and Bike ‘n’ Ride make ACTION a great way of getting around, and MyWay cards provide an easy rechargeable ticketing system as an alternative to cash fares. ACTION also provides school bus services around Canberra.
Canberra Airport is located just 8km from the city and features a brand new terminal, 44 check in counters, regular direct flights to all Australian capital cities, daily connections to regional centres and a number of traveler services. An airport express shuttle bus delivers passengers to and from the city.
Bus and coach services operate to and from Canberra to the Snowy Mountains, the South Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. Most services depart from the Jolimont Centre in the city.
Canberra’s railway station, located in Kingston, offers direct rail service from Sydney and a combined rail and bus service from Melbourne. The trip from Sydney Central Station to Canberra Railway Station takes approximately four and a half hours.