In the last few weeks before A and I are due to leave Canberra and return home to Perth, I’ve been thinking a lot about my time in Canberra. By the time we leave, we would’ve spent 17 months in the Capital City.
A and I left Perth due to work – I followed A for her career with the aim of getting back to Perth in a few years time. I had only been to Canberra once previously as a child and I didn’t remember anything of Canberra other than that I drove there. It was a big move for me in more ways than one – I was leaving a job I loved, my amazing friends, and closing a chapter on my beloved blog (Perth Food Journal), all to jump head-first into the unknown.
My time in Canberra has been bittersweet. I don’t regret my 17 months here. But, to say that it didn’t come with difficulties would be a lie – there have been challenges. When I arrived, it took 2 months for me to find a job, thanks to the Public Service freeze. I know Canberrans hate it when people say that Canberra is a public service town but predominantly it is. My aim was to find a job and settle in as quickly as possible. The two months without work was rough – I’m used to keeping busy and my time was spent completing applications and selection criteria for jobs that would be redundant in a few months time as recruiting come to a near-complete stop. Luckily, I landed on my feet in a job that wasn’t particularly well-suited for me but found me working with amazing people.
Making friends in Canberra has been difficult, with the transient population being hard to break into (even moreso for an introvert). It’s also hard being back in an environment that is quite ‘subtle’ – as Canberra reminds me of when I first arrived in Perth. When I relocated to Perth, bands were missing Perth completely off their tour list, the nightlife was minimal, and the buzz of a big city hadn’t settled in yet. Canberra reminds me of that, and I was feeling a little bitter about the fact that I had to go through that up-and-coming stage again.
The positives of our time in Canberra are listed below. I have so many aspects I’ll miss, and those that I won’t (including the cold, depressing Canberra winter and the city’s abundance of roundabouts). One of my highlights from my time in Canberra was participating in the 101 Human Brochure Campaign, which provided me amazing opportunities to do a lot of different activities including touring Parliament House, drinking at the Members Bar at Old Parliament House, meeting local producers, and visiting Canberra wineries. It was a fantastic opportunity and I feel so incredibly lucky I was chosen to participate.
My Favourite Things About Canberra
The delicious tap water
Canberra’s water comes from snowmelt and rain from nearby Namadgi National Park.
The ACT Library system
The ACT Library system has a huge selection of books available. The staff are friendly and they even ordered the obscure books I requested.
If you hear people complain about the traffic in Canberra, ignore them. The traffic on the roads between 5 – 7pm is not worth anyone complaining about.
Being on the East side of Australia is a highlight, but being a 3 hour drive to Sydney and 8 hour drive to Melbourne? That’s a bonus.
I have so much time here! With no traffic, short distances to drive or ride home from work, I find myself with a lot more time.
Epic Farmer’s Market
Heading to the Epic Farmer’s Market when we first arrived, I was so surprised at how large this is in comparison to the Canberra population. When we were in Perth, we frequented the Subi Farmer’s Market, which is possibly about 1/3 of the size of the Epic Farmer’s Market. The stalls are required to sign post their products to demonstrate whether they are a Producer or Seller.
My kick-ass Kitchen (with dishwasher!)
A and I didn’t have a dishwasher when we were in Perth and since having one in Canberra, there’s no way I could go back to living without one. The kitchen is a cook’s dream kitchen, and I’ve had so much fun in it while we’ve been in Canberra.
And last but not least, my newfound favourite eateries:
I’m feeling positive about our move back to Perth on Tuesday but also slightly sad to be saying goodbye to Canberra. Overall, it’s been a great learning experience and I hope to return to Canberra in the near future for a visit.