Living and Working in the Australian Capital Territory

Australia’s capital territory is the seat of the Australian government, and home to many of the nation’s culturally and politically significant icons. Though the ACT may be a small territory, GPs taking up work in this region will find no shortage of exciting and interesting attractions, along with opportunities for fun and adventure. Here we’ve put together a brief overview of just a few of the many things to see and do in the ACT, so you’ll never be stuck for something to do with spare time between placements, or on the weekend.

Canberra, Australia - March 13, 2016: Canberra, Australia, 13 March 2016. During Canberra Balloon Spectacular, many balloons fly over Canberra city and Lake Burley Griffin. They go on their journey towards Telstra Tower and the arboretum. Every morning at dawn, more than 30 balloons take off from the lawns in front of the Old Parliament House.

Canberra Balloon Spectacular, every morning at dawn, more than 30 balloons take off from the lawns in front of the Old Parliament House.

For nature lovers the ACT contains several magnificent national parks, where you can enjoy a leisurely bush walk and a picnic, as well as hiking, wildlife watching, nature photography, and ranger-guided tours. The Namadgi National Park in the south-west (40km out of Canberra) makes up almost half of the ACT’s land area, and contains an impressive range of scenic habitats, including granite mountains, alpine meadows, grassy plains, and snow gum forests. The landscape is rich in native flora and fauna, as well as Aboriginal and European settler history. The many walking tracks through the area will lead you to popular locations such as the stunning Gibraltar Falls, the Orroral Valley, and the Yankee Hat Aboriginal rock art site. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, located on the edge of the Namadgi National Park, teems with native wildlife, so if you want to get a closer look at some koalas, cockatoos, kangaroos, and maybe even a few emus, be sure to take a guided tour through the area. You can even experience the wonders of nature just a 10 minute drive outside of the capital itself, by visiting the National Arboretum, which encloses a wide variety of endangered, symbolic and ceremonial plant species. The beautifully designed ‘100 Forests 100 Gardens’ sanctuary includes a café and restaurant, along with a gallery and gift shop.

colourful reflection of Canberra's new parliament building in a fontain pond at sunset.

Parliament House.

Within Canberra there are many cultural, political, and historical attractions to visit, not to mention lots of opportunities for shopping and dining. The city is small yet vibrant, and full of creative energy, with lively food and art cultures. There are numerous galleries and museums to visit; we recommend the National Portrait Gallery, which currently houses several exhibitions, including a warm and joyful display celebrating our beloved animal companions, called ‘The Popular Pet Show’. The National Gallery of Australia is also a must for anyone interested in art and history, as there are many exciting upcoming exhibitions including ‘Versailles: Treasures from the Palace’, opening December 9, 2016.

Canberra, Australia, 9 March 2016. Spectacular architectural projections light up the Parliamentary Triangle for the Enlighten Festival. Every night for one week, stunning projections illuminate major buildings such as Questacon.

Spectacular architectural projections light up the Parliamentary Triangle for the Enlighten Festival. Every night for one week, stunning projections illuminate major buildings such as Questacon.

If your interests lean more towards politics and history, don’t miss the opportunity to see Australian democracy in action – take a tour around parliament house! You can also check out the Royal Australian Mint, which produces all of Australia’s circulating coinage, where you can view historical coins and see how coins are made. The Australian War Memorial is also a very popular site for visitors looking to understand and remember the history of the ANZACs and learn about the Australian experience of war, and the enduring impact of modern warfare on Australian culture and society.

I took this shot during Canberra Enlighten 2015. There were architectural projections on both old and new parliament houses.

Canberra at night.

For the avid scientists amongst us, make sure you visit the National Dinosaur Museum, where you can learn about the evolution of life, and explore the prehistoric world with life-size displays. Just a 45-minute drive outside of Canberra, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex is also a great place to visit and learn about Australia’s involvement in space exploration. In the Canberra Space Centre you can learn all about life on a space station, explore the Solar System, and even view a 3.8 billion year old piece of the Moon.

Dish of radio telescope antenna turned towards the blue sky at Tidbinbilla deep space research station of Australia

Tidbinbilla deep space research station.

There are multiple national festivals that take place annually in Canberra, making the ACT the place to be for those wanting to experience the vibrant artistic and musical cultures of Australia. The garden city bursts with colour during the annual Floriade Festival, a globally renowned celebration of spring, which runs from mid-September to mid-November. The floral festival incorporates huge flower displays, live music, fine dining, markets and workshops, and is a must-see for hobby-gardeners and horticulturalists alike. Enlighten Canberra is another very popular Canberran festival, drawing in 250,000 (in 2015) visitors from all over Australia and the world. Held in March, the festival involves stunning light displays and architectural projections, live music and performances, illuminating tours through national attractions, and exclusive dining and cinematic experiences.

Canberra, Australia, 24 September 2016. Floriade has become an iconic event in Canberra, celebrating spring. The floral display of more than a million bulbs and annuals planted across 8,000 square metres of inner city parkland is more than just a flower show. Tourists and families come to visit Floriade and enjoy multicoloured flower display; also entertainment and recreational activities.

The floral display of more than a million bulbs and annuals planted across 8,000 square metres of inner city parkland is more than just a flower show.

If the ACT sounds like the place for you, get in touch with the recruitment team at Ochre Health today to hear about job opportunities opening up in the region.

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