Moving to Canberra

by Bob Sheth on December 23, 2009

in Australia Travel


Canberra is the capital city of the Australian Capital Territory, an area surrounded by the state of New South Wales. The standing population of the city is 340,000 and is essentially a purposely built capital of the nation. The declaration of Canberra put an end to the rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne as Australia’s capital. This is though not without critics, saying the city is a “waste of good sheep pasture”.

The city was designed by Walter Burley Griffin on the shores of an artificial lake called Lake Burley Griffin. Now, from its humble beginnings, the city has enjoyed a boom in construction making the city one of the best destinations for both tourist and immigrant alike.

The Capital Layout

The man made lake cuts the city of Canberra into two areas, the first being called the “Civic” and the suburban residential area of the city. The “Civic” comprises the shopping and commercial district located on the north side of the city, flanked by the parliamentary triangle and the embassy area to the south. The famed areas in the city are the National Museum of Australia, the Australian War Memorial, the National Library and the National Gallery of Australia.

The suburbs around the central business district of Canberra have town centers, namely Belconnen and Gunghalin up north and Woden and Tuggeranong to the south side. Since it is a planned city, the city center is laid out on two perpendicular axes organized into a hierarchy of districts, town centers, group centers, suburbs and other areas. There are seven districts with smaller suburbs where commercial and social activities are centered.

Each of the suburbs has their own local shops and each suburb has a nearby shopping center to service its needs. There are many community facilities and schools that are also located near the suburbs. The street names have particular themes from Australian or Aboriginal history. As for governmental functions, the Parliamentary triangle is host to the government offices and functionaries. As for embassies, most of the diplomatic corps hold offices in the suburbs if Yarralumla, O’Malley and Deakin. There are also three light industry areas in the city, namely Fyshwick, Mitchell and Hume.

Moving to Canberra

You have been granted a permanent visa and are now looking into moving to Canberra to start your life anew. You feel overwhelmed with the many things to be mindful of when you move to Canberra. Here are some of the things you need to take care of to make your transfer as smooth as possible.

  • Flight Details. You need to coordinate your travel plans to Canberra. The details of your travel include the check in time and the weight of the luggage you are allowed to carry on the plane. Transportation is also an important part of your travel that is from airport to home. You need patience and foresight in order to carry this out.
  • Transporting your Personal Items. Since you would be putting all your personal belongings in a box and shipping them across the ocean, you need to this bit by bit. You need to determine what needs to be brought and what needs to be left behind. Also, it is important that you engage the services of a professional moving company for your bigger belongings and other furnishings you would not part with as you start moving to Brisbane.
  • Inform Everyone. Make a list of the important people in your life. These include personal, professional and financial relationships you have and tell them that you are moving to Canberra. This is also important when it comes to the professional and financial relations you have since you need their advice as to the proper way to restart your life Down Under.
  • Ensuring References. References are proof of your previous engagements in your professional as well as financial life. Thus, these are important when you start to apply for a job or even a bank account as proof that you are a good investment.
  • Medical Records. Australian immigrant benefits include Medicare and PBS. In order to be fully covered, you need to have complete records to be able to continue as well as improve on your current medical conditions. Keeping complete records and make moving to Canberra much easier.
  • Being Accessible. Moving to Brisbane is not an easy task and to be on top of all the comings and goings, you need to be accessible 24/7 regardless of time zone. This would mean having a mobile phone as well as Internet access in order to track things as they move along. Being properly informed of your travel would avoid risk as well as loss during your transition.
  • Resume. Your resume is the summary of your personal life. You need to adjust to the fact that you would be putting in new information in the applications and documentation in your new life in Canberra.
  • Multiple File Copies. One of the major problems in moving to a new home is losing important files and documents. As a safeguard, make multiple copies of documents and other pertinent data. For physical documents, you need to photocopy and certify documents so that any lost ones would not cripple you when moving to Canberra. You need to also store electronic information in memory sticks and online files so as not to lose them in the long run.
  • Finalizing Accounts. As you wind up your financial affairs, you need to get receipts and certifications from your business partners. Winding up affairs means completion of payments and getting certifications of their completion. If you forget to pay for an existing account, it may blemish your records as you complete moving to Canberra.

In moving to Canberra, you would be starting from scratch. You will remove yourself from your comfort zone and get on a plane to re-start your life. This may be a monumental task but this may be a smooth transfer if you pay attention to these small details even before moving to Canberra.

1)      Bank Account. Registering for a bank account in Canberra is the first step you need to take to restart your life. This is important as the certifications you have obtained from your financial partners as well as the credit history from your old life will help in obtaining a mortgage and a loan. You also need to obtain a tax number in Canberra to be considered a viable financial individual.

2)      Getting a Home. You need to find a home even before leaving your old home country before moving to Canberra. Once you have ironed out the financial details, you can either purchase or rent a place where you can call your new home. Also, engaging the services of a real estate agent would definitely help you in your decision-making.

3)      Finding the Right School. One key to making the moving to Canberra is timing. It is best that you do this during the academic break in the Australian school year. Once you have found a place in Canberra there are many schools and educational institutions that you can enroll your children in as you make life in your new home permanent. Also, do remember it is mandatory that school level children be properly enrolled.

4)      Insurance Coverage. Being subjected to the elements in your new home is one of the risks, especially if you are financially hard up. Getting insurance coverage would certainly be the wall you can lean on. Thus, it is important in moving to Canberra, you need to procure insurance for health, accident as well as home insurance to keep you safe financially when things go awry.

5)      Procuring a Car. Canberra covers a wide expanse with a great transportation system. If you really want to be free to roam around, you need to get a car for your own purposes. You would need to procure insurance as well as be properly licensed before being able to drive around the motorways of Canberra.

Cost of Living in Canberra

Being the capital city of Australia means it is one of the best cities in the world. Being the best comes with it costs of living in the city. You need to learn about the cost of money and the taxes and other expenses you would need to assume when moving to Canberra. It is thus important that you learn how to budget your money when you start your life in Canberra.

One of the best indices in the city is its low unemployment rate and many reported labor shortages for some industries in the city. This makes Canberra residents have the highest disposable income availability amongst the cities of Australia. The average weekly wage in Canberra is 15% higher than other capital cities and the lower home prices because of the urban developments make it an ideal place to reside in.  Renting though in Canberra is quite a burden as it reports to have the highest amongst the capital cities in the country.

The major employers in the city are the parliament and governmental departments that are located in the city. There is also a large market of workers in the defense department as the Australian Defense Force holds bases in and around the city. There is also a growing software development industry in Canberra mainly in line with the broadband and information technology expansion goals set forth by the Federal Government.

When living in Canberra, there are many options for purchases that you as a resident can make. One of the largest is Canberra Center located in central Canberra. Others include the Belconnen Mall and Woden Westfield. Another large enclosed shopping center is the Tuggeranong Town Center. For your appliance and electronic needs, there is Fyshwick suburb.

As for meals, there is a whole host of food options you can make, from budget meals to fine dining cuisine for you and your family. For budget meals, you can choose between Zombreros, Cornucopia Bakery, Griffith Vietnamese Restaurant and Kismet. For alfresco dining on a budget, there is the Front Gallery and Café and the Yarralumla Halal Pide House. If you have a bit more money, there is Belluci’s Restaurant and Bruno’s Truffels. For other cuisines, there are the Dickson shops and the Four Rivers Sichuan Chinese Restaurant. For Australian seafood dining, there is Maestral Seafood Restaurant. And for spice in your meals, there is Sukothai and Tu Do.

If you want to celebrate and splurge a little, there are many restaurants in the city that can serve your discerning tastes. Primary among these are the restaurants of Aubergine and Courgette that showcase the best of fine dining cuisine. For the more exotic meals, there is the Ottoman Cuisine Restaurant as well as the Ginger Room.

As you can see, there are many options available to you when you start your life in Canberra. Not only is the employment market capable of sustaining both foreign and local immigrants, the cost of living is well within the means of the salaries in the city. The many schools and universities in and around the city makes it one of the foremost educational hubs in the country. The planned urban and suburban center also makes for a comfortable and spacious living for home purchasers in the country. Finally, being near the political center of the country makes you fully aware of the direction as well as the programs the federal government takes towards the future of Australia.

Canberra, The Promised Land

Once you have decided upon immigrating to another country, it is best to choose Canberra in Australia as your new home. There are many opportunities available to you and your family, both in terms of employment and in education. You are also going to be part of a vibrant and burgeoning economy that is about to take off from the humdrum of the global recession. In obtaining your visa to Australia, you need to choose to move to Canberra and this would be a decision that would be the best for you and your family.

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