Tuesday, November 13, 2018

CANBERRA TRAVEL GUIDE : Tourist Attractions, Itinerary and Budget

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Did you know that Canberra is the capital of Australia? Yes, it is! It's not Sydney as most of you might think. Canberra is located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in the south-east of New South Wales (NSW). It's a small landlocked city with a laid-back feel. It's the total opposite of the rest of the capital cities in the world. It's quiet and not crowded. 


VISA REQUIREMENTS TO CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA

Philippine passport holders are required to apply for an Australian Visa prior to his/her planned visit. The process is now online so you can apply for your Australian Tourist Visa at the comfort of your home. The visa cost is AUD140 / Php5,500 and the processing time takes about 3 business days up to 30 days. Once approved, you can stay in Australia for a maximum of 3 months. Here's a step-by-step process of applying an Australian Tourist Visa in the Philippines.

HOW TO GET TO CANBERRA FROM MANILA, PHILIPPINES

There is no direct flight from Manila to Canberra. The nearest airport with a direct flight from Manila is Sydney. You can also fly to Melbourne, Australia to get to Canberra.


HOW TO GET TO CANBERRA FROM SYDNEY


From Sydney, you can either drive your way to Canberra or take a train or bus. Train takes around 4 hours while bus takes around 3.5 hours. You can take a train or bus from Sydney Central Train Station. There are three direct train trips daily from Sydney to Canberra. Train fare is AUD28.25 / Php1,086 / USD20.4. The train will stop at Canberra Kingston Station and you can take a bus from there to the city center.

The more convenient way at least for me is taking a Murrays or Greyhound bus from Sydney to Canberra. Both Murrays and Greyhound have multiple day and night trips from Sydney to Canberra. Travel time is only about 3-3.5 hours and the bus will stop at Jolimont Station in downtown Canberra. You can pretty much walk around the city center from there. Fare is is higher at AUD39 / Php1,500 / USD28.


HOW TO GET TO CANBERRA FROM MELBOURNE


There is no direct train from Melbourne to Canberra. It's a combination of train and coach/bus which is still convenient. You can also take a direct bus from Melbourne's Southern Cross Bus Terminal to Canberra via Greyhound. Fare varies from AUD65-96 / Php2,500-3,700. The earlier you book, the cheaper the price. 

The cheaper option to go to Canberra from Melbourne if you haven't purchased your ticket in advance is by taking the inter-state train from Southern Cross Train Station in Melbourne going to Wodonga. Then, coach/bus from Wodonga to Jolimont Bus Station in Canberra. If you take this option, you will need to leave Melbourne at 7:05 in the morning. There's only one trip a day so you must leave early. You will arrive in Wodonga Station around 10:40am and then transfer to a coach and arrive in Canberra around 3:30PM. Total travel time is around 8.5 hours. Fare is AUD65.80 / Php2,500 / USD48.

HOW TO GET TO YOUR CANBERRA HOTEL FROM THE AIRPORT

You can catch an ACTION bus from Canberra International Airport to the city center. Routes 11 and 11A run regular services from Canberra Airport to the city bus station seven days a week. Fare is AUD4.8 / Php185 / USD3.5. You can pay at the bus or you can also buy a MyWay card for a lower fare. MyWay card costs AUD5 plus your load.

HOW TO GET TO YOUR CANBERRA HOTEL FROM JOLIMONT BUS STATION

Jolimont is situated at the heart of Canberra City so it's really just a walking distance to some hotels and hostels within the city proper. There are also bus stops near Jolitown if you are taking a bus to your hotel in Canberra.

HOW TO GET AROUND CANBERRA CITY

Canberra City is quite easy to navigate. There are taxis you can take if you need to. Buses are also plentiful so commuting is not an issue. Route 101 or the City Loop Bus is free. If you want to go to the major tourist spots of Canberra City, you can take Route 81 (981 on weekends) also known as the Tourist Loop Bus. It's a convenient way to go around the tourist areas of Canberra City. It departs from the City Bus Station and will pass through War Memorial, Convention Center, Acton Park and Regatta Point, Parliament House, National Museum, National Zoo and Aquarium, Arboretum and Botanic Gardens before it returns back to the City Bus Station. You can check out https://www.transport.act.gov.au for more information about buses in Canberra.




CANBERRA DAY TOUR FROM SYDNEY

If you arrived in Sydney and don't have much time to spend, you can visit Canberra on a day tour from Sydney. See the best tourist attractions of Canberra on a jam-packed full day trip to Canberra from Sydney. Tour begins at around 7:40 and ends at around 9PM. The tour costs Php6,529 /AUD170 / USD123. You can book here online.





TOP CANBERRA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS - BEST THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN CANBERRA

Parliament House

The Parliament House is the home of Australia's Parliament located in the capital city of Canberra. It is one of the most open parliamentary buildings in the world welcoming locals and tourists who want to be a part of a democracy in action.




Address: Parliament Dr, Canberra ACT 2600, Australia
Opening Hours: Parliament House is open every day from 9am to 5pm except Christmas Day.
Entrance Fee: Free
How to get there: You can catch an ACTION bus to Parliament from City Bus Station and other bus stops around Canberra. You can take route 1 and 81 on weekdays and route 981 on weekends.

Australian War Memorial

Located at the top of Anzac Parade, the Australian War Memorial was built to commemorate the sacrifice of those Australians who have died in war. It is a combination of a shrine, a world-class museum and an extensive archive.





Address: Treloar Crescent, Campbell, ACT 2612 Australia
Opening Hours: Open every day from 10am to 5pm except Christmas Day.
Entrance Fee: Free, donation is welcome
How to get there: Transport Canberra regularly services the Australian War Memorial on both weekday and weekends. Bus stops are located on Limestone Avenue. You can catch Bus route 10 and 81 on weekdays and bus route 910 and 981 on weekends.


Australian National Botanic Gardens


The Australian National Botanic Gardens keeps a scientific collection of native plants from all parts of Australia. It is located about few minutes away from the city center of Canberra. It is accessible by both private and public transport.





Address: Clunies Ross Street, ACTON, ACT, AUSTRALIA
Opening Hours:  Open every day from 9:30am to 4:30pm except Christmas Day.
Entrance Fee: Free
How to get there: Transport Canberra’s Tourist Loop (route 81 on weekdays and route 981 on weekends) takes tourists and visitors to some of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, including the Australian National Botanic Gardens. The Tourist Loop runs seven days a week.


National Museum


Situated on the shores of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin, the National Museum of Australia brings the countries stories to life. 

Address: Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula, Canberra
Opening Hours: Open every day from 9am to 5pm except Christmas Day.
Entrance Fee: General admission is free.
How to get there: Take route 81 on weekdays and route 981 on weekends. The bus stop is right in front of the National Museum.


National Zoo and Aquarium


The National Zoo and Aquarium is one of the largest privately owned zoos in Australia located in Canberra City. It is located in Yarralumla at the western end of Lake Burley Griffin, next to Scrivener Dam.

Address: Scrivener Dam, Yarralumla, Canberra
Opening Hours: Open daily from 9:30am to 5pm
Entrance Fee: AUD45 / Php1,725 / USD32
How to get there: Take route 81 (tourist loop) on weekdays and route 981 on weekends.


Arboretum


The National Arboretum Canberra features 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from around Australia and the world. Many of the trees are still young but two of the forests are over 100 hundred years old. 

Address: Forest Dr, Molonglo Valley ACT 2611, Australia
Opening Hours: The Village Centre, National Bonsai and Penjing Collection, Sprout Cafe and The Curatoreum shop are open from 9 am to 4 pm seven days a week. Closed 25 December.
Entrance Fee: Free
How to get there: Take route 81 (tourist loop) on weekdays and route 981 on weekends.

HOTELS IN CANBERRA : WHERE TO STAY IN CANBERRA

Hotels in Canberra are relatively expensive but you can still find cheap hostels to stay while in the city if you are on a budget travel.


Budget Hotel / Cheap Accommodation in Canberra



Canberra City YHA
Canberra City YHA is one of the cheapest accommodations in Canberra. It's a chain of hostels in Australia and is one of the highly-rated hostels in the city. It's location is one of the reasons why people stay there. It's in the heart of the city, a walking distance from Jolimont Bus Station. You can check rates and availability here.




Novotel Canberra
If budget is not a constraint, I highly recommend staying at Novotel Canberra. It's also in the heart of Canberra City just beside Jolimont Bus Station. Check rates and availability.




RESTAURANTS IN CANBERRA : WHERE TO EAT IN CANBERRA


Try some steak in Canberra City. You can check out Hog's Breath Cafe and Outback Jacks, just a walking distance from Canberra City YHA and Jolimont Bus Station.




Hog's Breath Cafe Canberra

Location: Baileys Arcade, 143 London Circuit, Civic ACT 2608
Opening Hours: Open daily from 11:30am to 9pm


Outback Jacks Canberra

Location:  99 London Circuit, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
Opening Hours: Open daily from 11:30am to 9pm

SAMPLE CANBERRA ITINERARY AND EXPENSES 


Day 1
7:05AM - Depart Melbourne to Canberra City by train/coach AUD65 / Php2,490 / USD47
3:30PM - Arrived in Canberra City
4PM - Check in at Canberra City YHA AUD83 / Php3,165 / USD59 for two nights 
5pm - Walk around Canberra City
6:30PM - Dinner AUD13 / Php500 / USD9.3 
7PM - Roam around the city
8:30PM - Sleep

Day 2
9am - Breakfast AUD10 / Php383 / USD7
9:30 - Bus to Australian War Memorial (Bought MyWay card + load AUD20 / Php766 / USD14
12NN - Bus to Parliamentary House
1PM - Lunch AUD20 / Php766 / USD14
2:30PM - Bus to Botanic Gardens
5PM - Bus to the City
6PM - Dinner AUD35 / Php1,342 / USD25
8PM - Sleep

Day 3
Depart Canberra City to Sydney AUD39 / Php1,495 / USD28

CANBERRA TRAVEL TIPS

  • Stay in a hotel/hostel near a bus stop to easily go around.
  • Avail of the free city loop bus.
  • Use the Tourist loop bus to get to the major tourist attractions of Canberra.
  • Ride Uber if you must. It's cheaper than regular taxis.

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