Ashley and her husband thought Canberra would be much like Washington D.C.—overcrowded, bustling with chaos, and impersonal. Instead, they were greeted by a small-town feel but with all the shopping, food, and entertainment they could wish for.
Ashleigh and her husband moved to Canberra last summer for work and immediately took advantage of the great outdoors. “We love horseback riding, walks with our dog around the lake, camping, walking and biking trails and summer BBQs with friends. My husband is an outdoorsy person, so he loves that we can head to the coast to surf or the mountains to ski in just a short drive.”
What are the five things you love most about Canberra?
1. The heartfelt nature of our community. When I arrived in Canberra, I made the jump from working in private enterprise to becoming the Chief Financial Officer for Community Services #1. In working for a local not-for-profit, I have been blown away by the generosity of the Canberra community to support those who need it most – from individuals dropping off groceries for our Food Pantry or singing together at community events. My role is rewarding, challenging, and more than I could have dreamed for as a new addition to the city and my first job in Australia.
2. The great outdoors. No matter what you are into, Canberra delivers. My favourite hobby is horseback riding, which there is so much of in Canberra. We have great outdoors cross country tracks, and I’ve found a place to ride with a great instructor, so I spend so much time at the yard. Aside from that, my husband and I enjoy camping, bike riding, bush walks and hiking, playing footy on a local team and simply relaxing around Lake Burley Griffin. It’s a gorgeous city to see and it’s a dog friendly place, so Koa (our German Shepard from the States) comes along as much as she can. Year-round it’s great to be outside in the sunshine.
3. The cultural side of Canberra. There is no shortage of arts, culture, museums, galleries, and history to see here. Visiting places such as Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial has given me a feel for the nation and its history. The National Gallery is another favourite of mine, as well as the National Museum. On the lighter side, Canberra Theatre attracts a variety of acts, including comedy that is second to none. I’ve seen many shows there, recently including comedian Celia Pacquola, and it’s always a great night out in the city before and after the shows.
4. The variety of events and markets on offer. There’s no shortage of events or markets in our local Canberra scene. I love going to the Forage street food festival every season to check out some live music and tasty food. Shopping at the Capital Region Farmer’s market Saturday mornings is a great place to pick up fresh produce every week. A trip to the Fyshwick markets allows me to host a fantastic sashimi night at home with friends. The Hall markets or Old Bus Depot offer locally crafted items. And the Enlighten Night Noodles is a definite favourite of mine.
5. The local beer and wine scene. Canberra has a multitude of places to visit to get your fill of beer or wine, and to make a day of it! We love that in minutes we can be out in the country at an award-winning winery. Once there, the hustle and bustle of everyday life melts away in the relaxing atmosphere while we catch up with friends and partake in locally sourced food. And while we’re out, we’re likely run into someone we know—another perk of living in a close-knit community.