Canberra is often overlooked as a travel destination, but there’s more to this city than meets the eye. This picturesque Australian capital is surrounded by many green spaces and nature reserves, and is full of cultural attractions.

Surrounded Lake Burley Griffin, the city is divided into a number of districts. Each offers something a little different to travelers, so finding the best place to stay can be difficult.

With our guide on where to stay in Canberra, you’ll be able to find the ideal location for your travel style. Whether you’re staying long-term or just passing through, we’ve got somewhere for you.

So, let’s get into it!

Where to Stay in Canberra

Not looking for a specific place to say? These are our top overall picks for accommodation in Canberra.

Best Airbnb in Canberra: Luxury 2 Bedroom Apartment

Luxury 2 Bedroom Apartment

Featuring two double bedrooms and an onsite pool, this luxurious apartment in Kingston is ideal for families or groups visiting Canberra. It’s modern and stylishly decorated, with plenty of natural light. Staying here, you’ll be very close to some of Canberra’s coolest pubs, bars, and eateries.

Best Hostel in Canberra: Canberra City YHA

Canberra City YHA

As one of the only hostels in Canberra, this place is a hub for budget backpackers. Spotlessly clean and stylishly decorated, this hostel includes an indoor pool and hot tub, and a rooftop hangout with amazing views. Breakfast can be purchased at the cafe, and there’s a large communal kitchen to prepare your own meals.

Best Hotel in Canberra: East Hotel Canberra

East Hotel Canberra

This modern and well-equipped hotel is ideal for groups and families looking for a stress-free stay in Canberra. There’s a bar and restaurant on-site, but you’ll also be located close to a number of Canberra’s most popular dining options.

Canberra Neighborhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN CANBERRA
City Centre , Canberra
FIRST TIME IN CANBERRA

City Centre

Canberra City Centre – aka Civic, Civic Centre, CBD, or simply ‘City’ – is the heart of the Australian Capital. Properly established in 1927, the centre of town is a series of geometric road shapes lined by grand, early 20th-century edifices and plumes of green trees.

ON A BUDGET
Acton, Canberra
ON A BUDGET

Acton

Bordering the west of Canberra’s City Centre is the district of Acton. Also situated on the meandering banks of Lake Burley Griffin, Acton is largely taken up by buildings and departments of The National Australian University, which means you can expect a young, student vibe here.

NIGHTLIFE
Woden Valley, Canberra
NIGHTLIFE

Woden Valley

Comprising a collection of Canberra suburbs that date to the 1960s, Woden Valley is a sprawling area that stretches south from the Parliament House. The first satellite city to be built, it’s now part of Canberra proper, but doesn’t feel very much like a city at all.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Braddon, Canberra
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Braddon

The tiny area of Braddon lies north of Canberra City Centre. This is one of the city’s oldest suburbs, which was settled in 1922, and as such features quite a few examples of early 20th-century architecture.

FOR FAMILIES
Kingston, Canberra
FOR FAMILIES

Kingston

Kingston is also home to the vibrant Kingston Foreshore, an area where entertainment, dining, and lake views merge into one charming area of this vibrant Canberra suburb.

Canberra is the picturesque capital of Australia. Often downplayed by visitors in favor of Sydney or Melbourne, there’s a lot more to the city than administrative buildings.

An entirely planned city, Canberra’s road system is unusually formed of many circles and hexagons and, influenced by the garden city movement, features many green spaces and vegetation. Thanks to all these roads and public transport, you’ll be able to explore the whole city with ease.

If you’re visiting Canberra for the first time, the City Center is the best place to stay. Also referred to simply as Civic, or CBD (Central Business District), it’s home to historical buildings, parks, and shopping malls.

Acton sits to the west of the City Center and is the best place to stay if you’re traveling on a budget. It’s home to the Australian National University, it’s got more affordable prices for food and accommodation.

Much further south of the lake is Woden Valley, a collection of leafy suburbs with a laid-back atmosphere. It’s the perfect location for a relaxing city escape.

Braddon is officially the oldest suburb of Canberra, boasting several examples of heritage buildings that feature classic 1920s architecture. Its unique and charming atmosphere makes it the coolest place to stay in the city.

Finally, Kingston is our top pick for where to stay in Canberra for families. It’s a chilled lakeside area with cool cafes and heritage buildings, but is close enough to all the attractions of the city centre.

Still not sure where to stay in Canberra? Read on for more detailed guides on each of these areas, and the best accommodation in each!

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Canberra’s 5 Best Areas to Stay In

Backpackers in Australia don’t always consider Canberra, but it’s got a variety of unique places to discover.

1. City Centre – Where to Stay in Canberra for your First Visit

Canberra City Centre – aka Civic, Civic Centre, CBD, or simply ‘City’ – is the heart of the Australian Capital. Properly established in 1927, the centre of town is a series of geometric road shapes lined by grand, early 20th-century edifices and plumes of green trees.

Filled with polished urban areas, trendy cafes, and ample sightseeing opportunities, the City Centre is the best place to get to know Canberra. It’s also conveniently connected to the surrounding areas by public transport.

City Centre , Canberra

Best Airbnb in City Centre: City Studio Apartment

City Studio Apartment

This central studio in Canberra is ideal for couples or solo travelers. There’s a full kitchen and laundry facilities in the apartment, and an onsite gym for guest use. The Airbnb is surrounded by shops, cafes and restaurants, and there are plenty of public transport connections nearby.

Best Hostel in City Centre: Canberra City YHA

Canberra City YHA

Whether you’re on a Sydney-Melbourne stopover or plan on staying long-term, the Canberra City YHA is the ideal place to base yourself. This budget-friendly hostel features a large communal kitchen and rooftop terrace, and there’s even an underground bar onsite. It’s within walking distance of Canberra’s top attractions, so you won’t have to spend any money on public transport.

Best Hotel in City Centre: Capital Executive Apartment Hotel

Capital Executive Apartment Hotel

This apartment hotel in Canberra makes for a convenient stay in the Australian capital. Rooms are large and each comes with a kitchen, so you can save money making home-cooked meals. There’s an onsite spa and gym, and top attractions are a short walk away.

Best Hotel in City Centre: Avenue Hotel Canberra

Avenue Hotel, Canberra

This chic and stylish hotel offers convneient and luxurious accommodation in the city centre. Each room contains modern furnishings, with a kitchenette and dining area. Amenities include room service, an onsite bar, and a free airport shuttle.

Things to See and Do in City Centre:

  • Head to City Walk for a spot of retail therapy and some lunch al fresco.
  • Stroll around the relaxed Glebe Park.
  • And for even more shopping, head to the shopping haven of Canberra Centre.
  • Grab a coffee and people-watch at The Cupping Room.
  • Admire the architecture at Civic Square.
  • Eat at the highly rated Iori Japanese Restaurant.
  • Wander around the Canberra Museum & Gallery.
  • Go for a swim at the Canberra Olympic Pool.
  • Take yourself to Commonwealth Park for a lovely waterside walk.

2. Acton – Where to Stay in Canberra on a Budget

Situated on the meandering banks of Lake Burley Griffin, Acton is largely taken up by buildings and departments of The National Australian University. As a result, you can expect a young, student vibe here.

There’s also an abundance of nature to explore in and around the Acton area. You’ll also save money on public transport, as many of Canberra’s top attractions are an easy walk away.

Lake Burley Griffin
Enjoy walks around man-made Lake Burley Griffin

Best Airbnb in Acton: Luxury Two Bedroom Apartment

Luxury Two Bedroom Apartment

This stunning two bedroom apartment in central Canberra sleeps up to four guests. It’s modern and bright, and contains all modern amenities. The Airbnb is a ten minute walk from top city attractions, and guests can enjoy views over Mount Ainslie. For an extra spot of luxury, visitors have unlimited access to the onsite gym and sauna!

Best Apartment in Acton: Stunning 1 Bed Apartment

Stunning 1 Bed Apartment

Enjoy some of the best views over the Black Mountain and the Bush. The apartment can sleep up to four guests, and comes equipped with a full kitchen. Cooking basics are provided, as well as wifi and laundry facilities. Staying here, you’ll be close to Lake Burley Griffin, as well as various shops and restaurants.

Best Hotel in Acton: Accommodate Canberra

Accommodate Canberra

Stay in the heart of the city with all the comforts of home! All apartments come with a separate bedroom, kitchen and laundry facilities, so you’ll have everything you need for the duration of your stay. The Australian Academy of Science and National Museum of Australia are within walking distance, and you’ll be surrounded by trendy cafes and restaurants.

Things to See and Do in Acton:

  • Stroll through the International Sculpture Park.
  • Learn about the country’s history at the waterfront National Museum of Australia…
  • … And have a bite to eat at The Museum Cafe, complete with beautiful lake views.
  • Walk through the sprawling and tranquil Australian National Botanic Gardens.
  • Take a trip around the fascinating National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
  • Explore the walking tracks that crisscross Black Mountain Nature Reserve, Australia’s most diverse nature park.
  • Grab a takeout coffee and watch the world go by at Sullivans Creek.

3. Woden Valley – Where to Stay in Canberra for Ultimate Relaxation

Comprising a collection of Canberra suburbs that date to the 1960s, Woden Valley is a sprawling area that stretches south from the Parliament House.

Woden Valley is home to hundreds of parks and several nature reserves. If you’re looking for a weekend city break in Canberra, this is the best place for it.

Woden Valley, Where to Stay in Canberra
Woden Valley is home to a number of natural and cultural attractions
source: Simon Yeo (Flickr)

Best Airbnb in Woden Valley: 1BR Apartment in Quiet Uptown Area

1BR Apartment in Quiet Uptown Area

This Canberra Airbnb is bright, spacious, and full of modern furnishings for a comfortable stay. The apartment benefits from a sunny terrace, and basic essentials are provided. You’ll be within walking distance of the Woden Westfield and bus interchange, so you can easily explore further afield.

Best Private Room in Woden Valley: Studio Apartment

Studio Apartment

This one bed studio in Woden Valley sleeps two guests, making it ideal for couples or solo travelers visiting the area. Amenities include wifi, laundry facilities and that all-important A/C, and you’ll be within walking distance of parks and public transport. There’s no kitchen here and accommodation is pretty basic, but it’s perfect for a budget stay in the city.

Best Hotel in Woden Valley: Statesmen Hotel

Statesmen Hotel

Amongst the action and close to shops and trendy bistros, this hotel offers budget accommodation and excellent value. Rooms are basic but clean, and a refrigerator is provided in each. Best of all – there’s free breakfast!

Best Hotel in Woden Valley: Abode Woden

Abode Woden

This hotel has spacious and peaceful rooms with modern furnishings. There’s an onsite restaurant, and plenty of popular bars nearby. A kitchen and laundry facilities are also provided, so you enjoy a comfortable and convenient stay.

Things to See and Do in Woden Valley:

  • Take a tour around the Royal Australian Mint.
  • Spot kangaroos at Oaky Hill Nature Reserve in Lyons.
  • Stroll around Edison Park.
  • Take a walk around Phillip and choose from one of its many cafes for a breather.
  • Shop ‘til you drop at the massive Westfield Woden.
  • Appreciate the view from the top of Red Hill Nature Reserve.
  • Eat at the modern tapas restaurant Onred, complete with city views.
  • Explore the Mount Mugga Mugga Nature Reserve.
  • Brunch at the rustic cafe, Fox & Bow, in Farrer.
  • Check out the Serbian Orthodox Church of St Sava also in Farrer.
  • Put on your hiking boots and enjoy a bit of hill-walking at Farrer Ridge Nature Reserve.

4. Braddon – Coolest Place to Stay in Canberra

The tiny area of Braddon lies north of Canberra City Centre. This is one of the city’s oldest suburbs, and as such features quite a few examples of early 20th-century architecture.

There is a concentration of cool cafes and restaurants in this hip area. Combined with pockets of interesting architecture, Braddon is the perfect place for wandering around and checking out the sights!

Braddon, Canberra
source: Nick-D (Wikicommons)

Best Airbnb in Braddon: Flat with a Convenient Location

Flat with a Convenient Location

With all the comforts of home, this airy apartment is a perfect base for couples or solo travelers visiting Canberra. The unit is surrounded by shops and cafes, and a short walk from some of the best things to see in the city. You’ll have a kitchen with all the basics included, as well as laundry machines and free wifi.

Best Private Room in Braddon: Cozy Room in the heart of Braddon

Cozy Room in the heart of Braddon

Situated ten minutes from the city centre and a short walk from local supermarkets, this private room is conveniently situated for an affordable stay in Canberra. You’ll be sharing the apartment with other guests so the kitchen and bathroom are shared, but that’s standard for budget-accommodation.

Best Hotel in Braddon: Mercure Canberra

Mercure Canberra

Set in manicured gardens with a courtyard, this budget hotel fills the gap for hostels in this trendy area. All rooms have ensuite bathrooms, and there’s a bar and fitness centre on-site. Many of the city sights are within walking distance from here, and there is a bus stop on the same street.

Best Hotel in Braddon: Mantra

Mantra

Situated not far from the Australian War Memorial and Anzac Parade, Mantra provides guests with a comfortable base in the city centre. There’s. a bar and swimming pool on-site, and family rooms are available.

Things to See and Do in Braddon:

  • Visit the heritage building of the Salvation Army Hall.
  • Snap some photos of the historic Ainslie Arts Centre.
  • Stroll through Haig Park.
  • Check out the retro housing at Alt Crescent.
  • Go for a drink at the Civic Pub.
  • Explore the trendy neighborhood of Lonsdale Street with its boutiques and designer stores, cafes, and bars.

5. Kingston – Best Area in Canberra with Families

Kingston is a cool waterfront area on the southeast shore of Lake Burley Griffin. The suburb is a densely packed and historic area of the city, that is all about regeneration and repurposing old buildings.

Kingston is also home to the vibrant Kingston Foreshore, an area where entertainment, dining, and lake views merge into one charming area. We reckon it’s the best place to stay in Canberra for families, thanks to its location and small-town charm.

Kingston, Canberra

Best Airbnb in Kingston: Luxury 2 Bedroom Apartment

Luxury 2 Bedroom Apartment

This stylish apartment in Kingston comfortably sleeps four guests, and is ideal for groups or older families. The apartment is modern and contains a full kitchen and two bathrooms, and there’s a pool and free parking onsite. You’ll be surrounded by pubs and restaurants, and be situated right on the waterfront.

Best Private Room in Kingston: Finest of the Foreshore

Finest of the Foreshore

This private room in Canberra is close to numerous attractions, including Parliament House and other National Buildings. You’ll also be within walking distance of the lake, shops, and cafes. Guests will have their own bathroom, and the rest of the apartment is shared with the owner.

Best Hotel in Kingston: Knightsbridge Canberra

Knightsbridge Canberra

This hotel is one of the cheapest accommodation options in the Kingston area. The hotel staff are extremely helpful with any questions and the location is ideal, with plenty of restaurants nearby.

Rooms come with a modern, clean kitchen so you can enjoy home-cooked meals if you prefer. Laundry facilities are also provided.

Best Hotel in Kingston: East Hotel Canberra

East Hotel Canberra

Rooms are styled on self-catering apartments, making it ideal for families visiting Canberra. The hotel has been recently refurbished and provides clean and comfortable accommodation.

Things to See and Do in Kingston:

  • Check out the selection of cool cafes between Eyre and Giles Street, particularly Silo Bakery and Cafe and Penny University.
  • Take a walk around the picturesque Norgrove Park.
  • Explore the rich waterways of the Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve.
  • Visit the former power plant of Kingston Powerhouse.
  • Check out Canberra Glassworks that are now housed in this historic building.
  • Browse the various sights, sounds, and tastes of the Old Bus Depot Markets, a Sunday institution!
  • See what’s on at the historic Causeway Hall, now an event space.
  • Snap a photo of Canberra Baptist Church, a fine example of the inter-war gothic style.
  • Stroll along Kingston Foreshore, admiring the lake views and window shopping.

FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Canberra

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Canberra and where to stay.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Canberra

Canberra is often overshadowed by other travel destinations in Australia, but the unique and quirky capital has a lot to offer. From impressive architecture and parliament buildings to serene greenery and nature reserves, there’s so much to explore.

If you’re still unsure where to stay in Canberra, you can always rely on the Canberra City YHA. It’s close to main attractions, and offers stunning social spaces to seal the deal.

If a hostel doesn’t quite cut it, then you can’t go wrong at East Hotel Canberra. Each room comes with a private bathroom and a fully equipped kitchen, so you’ll have everything you could need to hand.

And don’t forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.

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