Cartier Masthead Final Weeks

Welcome to Canberra

Molly McLaughlin

New to Canberra? We’re here to help.

Canberra is a city that grows on you; the longer you live here the more you love it. It is consistently ranked among the most liveable cities in the world, but for new residents it can take some getting used to. Here at HerCanberra we love discovering the hidden side of our city that makes it unique and such a great place to live but when I first moved here in 2015 for uni, honestly, I hated it.

There’s the extreme weather for a start, the sometimes-deserted city centre, confusing public transport and big tourist attractions that get all the attention. It can be difficult to meet people or get involved in the community due to geographical distance or social barriers. But don’t worry! There are lots of ways to make Canberra feel like home in no time.

My housemate invited me to Salsa classes just after I moved to Canberra and I talked to more people that night than in the previous week. Kmotion runs taster classes from 8pm on Thursdays for $7. No experience necessary, you don’t need a partner, and you can just turn up. If you’ve got little ones, the Canberra Mums Exercise Group is a great way to make new friends (and get fit!)

One of my favourite things to do by myself is go to the theatre because it doesn’t require conversation. Being alone actually helps me engage with whatever I’m watching so I don’t even feel lonely. Have a look at The Canberra Theatre Centre and The Rep Theatre.

Even if, like me, you’re not into exercise Canberra has some great walking tracks to help you get to know your new city. Walking can also be a way to orientate yourself and figure out the vibe of your area.

Join all the clubs/teams/societies that you’re interested in or even have just a slight interest in learning more about. You can always back out later if it sucks. I definitely regret not doing this at the start of uni due to a combination of nerves and laziness but I’ve discovered there are other people into the same stuff as me and they’re are never as scary as I think they are going to be.

Canberra is gaining a strong reputation for food and coffee and it is my mission to eat brunch anywhere and everywhere. With friends or alone, food is always good for the soul and is a perfect way to start a day of exploring a new city. My local is Sweet Bones in Braddon, but there are great café’s all over the place and reviews here.

You can make the most of Canberra’s local music scene with gigs at Transit Bar or The Phoenix where meeting people is pretty much guaranteed. The music will give you something to talk about and luckily there’s alcohol on hand if required. And of course, check out HerCanberra’s events page on the website and our Facebook page to see what’s on in the city and keep an eye out for HerCanberra’s regular Click+Connect events that aim to allow women to meet and make friends in a relaxed environment.

We hope you’ll love it as much as we do.


Molly McLaughlin

Molly McLaughlin was less than thrilled to move to Canberra a couple of years ago to study Arts and Economics at ANU, but she can confirm the city has grown on her since then. Along with writing for HerCanberra, she spends her time reading, eating noodles and planning her next adventure. More about the Author

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