Canberra is located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), surrounded by New South Wales (NSW). The city is 150 kilometres inland and 571 metres above the Pacific Ocean, 281 kilometres from Sydney and 660 kilometres from Melbourne. The latitude and longitude is 35 degrees south and 149 degrees east.

History of Canberra

Located on the ancient lands of the Indigenous Ngunnawal people, Canberra’s name is thought to mean ‘meeting place’, derived from the Aboriginal word Kamberra.

European settlers arrived in the 1830s, and the area won selection by ballot for the federal capital in 1908. Canberra’s special contrast of nature and urban living was planned in 1912 by master designer, Walter Burley Griffin and his wife Marion Mahony Griffin, both Chicago architects, who won an international design competition to design the capital.

The provisional Parliament House opened in 1927 in what was then a treeless paddock. For more information on Canberra’s history, visit

Since then, Canberra has grown into a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with national attractions housing the heritage, history and national collections of the Australian story.

Canberra summer

Grab your hat and don short sleeves. Canberra’s summer delivers endless opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, especially on Lake Burley Griffin where plenty of water sports and activities await. Days are warm to hot, with plenty of sunshine and low humidity, followed by cooler nights.

Temperature: 12C (54F) to 27C (81F)

More about summer in Canberra

Canberra Visitor Guide app

The Canberra Visitor Guide app is conveniently indexed for you to browse our key experiences: family friendly activities, food and wine, our great outdoors and nature activities, and the home of Australian art and culture. There’s a run down on popular precincts and inspiration for exploring the surrounding Canberra region.

The app is free. You can install the Canberra Visitor Guide for Android devices from the Google Play store. If you have an Apple device, install the Canberra Visitor Guide from the iTunes Store.