Canberra is located in the Australian Capital Territory on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range, and was conceived in the early 1900s in order to create a capital city in a federal State separate from any of the uniting States. Spectacular green countryside is ringed by mountains nearly 600m (2000ft) above sea level. Lake Burley-Griffin, an artificial lake, is the main feature of this constantly expanding modern capital. Hills, trees and greenery remain prominent among the architecture of a city that is attractive, tidy, spacious and efficient as befits the national capital city.
Area: 2400 sq km (1511 sq miles).
Population: 312,400 (official estimate 2000).
Population Density: 130 per sq km.
Capital: Canberra (also national capital). Population: 309,900 (official estimate 1999).
Time: GMT + 10 (GMT + 11 from last Sunday in August to last Saturday in March
American Express--The office at Centerpoint, Shop 1, 185 City Walk (at the corner of Petrie Plaza), Civic (tel. 02/6247 2333), is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, and Saturday from 9am to noon.
Business Hours--Banks are generally open Monday through Thursday from 9:30am to 4pm and Friday from 9:30am to 5pm. Stores and offices are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5:30pm. Many shops stay open on weekends and until 9pm Fridays.
Climate--The best time to visit Canberra is in spring (Sept-Nov) or autumn (Mar-May). Summers are hot and winters can get pretty cold.
Currency Exchange--Cash travelers checks at banks, at American Express (above), or at TravelEx on 02 62479984
Dentist--Canberra lacks a dental emergency referral service. A reputable dentist in the center of town is Lachland B. Lewis, Level 3, 40 Allara St., Civic (tel. 02/6257 2777, and for emergency calls only on 02/6295 9495 on weekends).
Doctor--The Capital Medical Centre, 2 Mort St., Civic (tel. 02/6257 3766), is open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm. A standard consultation costs A$30 (U.S.$19.50). The Travellers Medical & Vaccination Centre, Level 5, 8-10 Hobart Place, Civic (tel. 02/6257 7154), offers vaccinations and travel medicines. Standard consultations cost from A$39.50 (U.S.$26).
E-mail--The National Library, Parkes Place, Parkes (tel. 02/6262 1111), has e-mail facilities available during opening hours: Monday through Thursday 9am to 5pm.
Emergencies--Call tel. 000 for an ambulance, the police, or the fire department.
Eyeglasses--For repairs, glasses, and contact lenses try OPSM Express, shop 5, Lower Ground Floor, The Canberra Centre, Civic (tel. 02/6249 7344). Its open 9am to 5:30pm weekdays (to 9pm on Fri) and 9am to 4pm on Saturday.
Hospitals--For medical attention, go to the Canberra Hospital, Yamba Drive, Garran (tel. 6244 2222), or call the Accident & Emergency Department on tel. 02/6244 2324 (24 hr.).
Hot Lines--In Canberra you have access to the Rape Crisis Centre (tel. 02/6247 2525); Drug/Alcohol Crisis Line (tel. 02/6205 4545, 24 hr.); Lifeline Crisis Councelling (tel. 13 11 14); Salvation Army Councelling Service (tel. 02/9331 6000); Poison Information Centre (tel. 02/6285 2852); and National Roads & Motorists Association (NRMA) (tel. 13 21 32).
Pharmacies--The Canberra Centre Pharmacy, Civic (tel. 02/6249 8074) is open during general shopping hours.
Photographic Needs--Fletchers Fotographics, Shop 2, 38 Akuna St., Civic (tel. 02/6247 8460), is the best place to buy camera gear and films. They also repair cameras and sell secondhand equipment.