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How to survive a Canberra winter

Erin Hyde

Temperatures are dropping, the days are getting shorter, toes everywhere are starting to get colder, and frosty Canberra mornings are a reality. Yes, there’s no doubt about it: winter is here and summer is no more.

You might be fearing that your only option to survive these dark times is to battle that post-summer depression by cranking up the thermostat to ridiculous temperatures and hibernating under your doona for three months, but fear no more!

I was once that girl in wintery denial: walking to school looking dazed (and crazed) in my shorts and t-shirt wondering where the sun had gone and when it would come back, spending primary school winters in constant competition with friends over who could wear shorts to school every single day of the season, and spending high school constantly convincing myself that I will soon encounter a warm day whereupon my skirt will be appropriate.

But I have learned, and resigned to the fact that Canberra winters do come, and Canberra winters are indeed cold. So to prevent you the many days of shivering that I have endured and a lifetime of retorting ‘I’m not cold’ (whilst secretly lamenting my predicament), here is my infallible guide to surviving Canberra’s winter:

Shopping time

Buy yourself a ski jacket and some fluffy boots: wear these proudly and shamelessly – every day.

Time for tea…always

Have a limitless stack of your favourite tea on hand in preparation for any chilly morning that comes your way.

Avoid becoming an icicle

When going to work: If riding – cover every inch of your body with clothing and wear a windproof jacket so as to not become a human icicle; if driving – defrost your car windscreen before leaving home (or have fun trying to use the demister)!

Layer up

When going to school or work: wear multiple layers of clothing, any sort, any colour (I don’t care if you pair maroon with yellow and hot pink). If anyone comments on your dress sense, hold your head high, bask down the corridor and let your snuggly warmth speak for itself.

Play sports?

If you play sports and train during winter wear gloves – otherwise resign to the fate that your sports shoes will be staying on your feet until a kind soul decides to take them off for you… or your fingers defrost.

Stay cosy indoors

If your brain is simply too cold to consider doing anything on wintery weekends and evenings, try some of these cosy activities that are sure to warm your insides:

  • Cuddle up with your favourite book by the fire at the Monster Kitchen and Bar in NewActon.
  • Go see a movie at the delectable Palace Electric Cinemas.
  • Don your swanky winter clothes, brave the cold and take a walk around the lake – finishing up at the Kingston Foreshore where you can shiver (literally) with delight whilst sipping on an ultra-delicious Chai tea and staring out over the crisp waters of Lake Burley Griffin.

Don’t fight it, love it

Embrace Canberra’s wintery weather and close proximity to alpine areas by taking a much needed trip to the snow.

Child’s play

Really don’t feel like going out? Build a fort of pillows and doonas (no it’s not childish, it’s a perfectly sensible survival technique), put on your favourite movie and revel in the deliciousness of movie snacks and witty storylines.

Hit the sack

And when all else fails: embrace just how snuggly your warm bed feels every night with the knowledge that the temperature outside is most likely reaching sub-zero, and pray for warmer days… (or go back to your original decision, crank up the thermostat and hibernate under your doona for the next couple of months).

Feature image of Canberra plains courtesy of Shutterstock


Erin Hyde

Originally from the Central Coast, I moved to Canberra in Grade One. Although at first a bit of a 'Canberra-basher', I have definitely grown to love the city; I see it getting better every day and am always off around the city looking for new things and adventures. I am currently a student but the academic life definitely isn't for me, so I'm looking forward to see where life takes me (and Canberra!). More about the Author

  • Liz Posmyk

    Nothing like a delicious Canberra winter! Love it. (Vintage Canberran!).