Where to stay in Canberra for first time: 3 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Canberra as a first-timer can be overwhelming. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Canberra for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Canberra for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map. I’ll also share where I stayed in Canberra and recommend some of the best hotels for various budgets.

Canberra is the capital city of Australia. Located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), it serves as the political and administrative center of the country. Canberra was purposefully chosen as the capital in 1908, as a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne, which were both vying for the title.

The city is known for its well-planned layout and modern architecture. It is home to important national institutions, including the Australian Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery of Australia, and the National Museum of Australia. 

Canberra’s design incorporates significant green spaces, and the city is surrounded by bushland and mountains, providing a picturesque setting.

In addition to its political and cultural significance, Canberra has a relatively small population compared to other major Australian cities, and it offers a high standard of living. The city plays a crucial role in the governance of Australia and is a hub for various diplomatic missions and government agencies.

Is Canberra safe to visit?

Yes, Canberra, like most cities in Australia, is generally safe to visit. The city has a very low rate of violent crime and picpockets, but it is always important to take care of your belongings in public transportations, and in crowded areas.

Where to stay in Canberra for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Canberra for first-timers and tourists are Canberra City Centre, Barton/ Near Parliament House, and Kingston/ Near Canberra Railway Station.

The Canberra City Centre is a great choice for first-timers who want easy access to the city’s main attractions, museums, galleries, and restaurants. You’ll find a variety of accommodation options, from hotels to serviced apartments.

Barton is a more residential area known for its proximity to important government institutions such as  Parliament House and Lake Burley Griffin. Kingston is a vibrant, trendy suburb near the main train station, offering a mix of dining and shopping experiences.

If you come with a car and want free parking, you can find a hotel with free parking in Barton and Kingston. Most hotels in the city center offer paid parking (10-15 AUD/night).

During my trip to Canberra, I stayed at the mid-range Deco Hotel Canberra in central Canberra. It was a great value for money accommodation, in a great location, easy access to the CBD, shops, and restaurants. Room was clean with a comfortable bed. 

Below is a map of the popular areas in Canberra for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Canberra first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Canberra first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Canberra, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Canberra have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

3 Best & Safe areas to stay in Canberra for first-timers and tourists:

1. Canberra City Centre

Canberra City Centre, also known as the Civic Centre or the CBD, is the most popular area to stay in Canberra for the first time. It is the heart of the city and has the highest concentrations of accommodations for all budgets and preferences.

At the heart of the city, Civic Square is a public space surrounded by important buildings, including the Canberra Theatre Centre and the Canberra Museum and Gallery.

The city center offers a range of shopping options, including the Canberra Centre, a large shopping mall with a variety of retail stores, cafes, and restaurants.

The city center boasts a diverse culinary scene with numerous restaurants, cafes, and bars offering a variety of cuisines to suit different tastes. It has a great nightlife scene.

Many of Canberra’s major cultural institutions and national landmarks are located nearby, such as the National Gallery of Australia, the National Library, and the High Court of Australia.

The city center is well-connected by public transportation, including buses, making it easy to explore other parts of Canberra.

Best places to stay in Canberra City Centre for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Midnight Hotel, Autograph Collection, popular 5-star contemporary boutique hotel in Braddon, featuring an onsite restaurant/bar, an indoor pool, 24-hour front desk, and currency exchange. It is within walking distance to the CBD, and numerous cool shops, pubs, and restaurants. Tram just across the road.

Mid-range ($$): A by Adina Canberra, 4.5 star accommodation centrally located in the city center of Canberra, on the Constitution Avenue. Easy distance from the National Convention Centre Canberra, Australian War Memorial, and Canberra Centre. Rooms are clean and modern. The Two-Bedroom Apartment is a great option for families of 4, 5 or a group of friends.

Mid-range ($$): Quest Canberra City Walk, 4.5-star property has a prime location in Canberra CBD, in front of the city’s main Shopping Centre. It features accommodations with a kitchenette. It is easily accessible via bus and light rail. You can also explore attractions by foot or by public transport.  

Mid-range ($$): The Sebel Canberra Civic, 4-star hotel, conveniently located right in the center of the city, close to Canberra Centre. The hotel has a fitness center, business center and luggage storage space.  The apartment is clean and well maintained with a full kitchen, so you can make your own meal.

Mid-range ($$): Avenue Hotel Canberra, 4-star accommodation located on Northbourne Avenue, walking distance to shops and restaurants. Close to the CBD and public transportation. Only 10 mins walk from Canberra Museum & Gallery.

Mid-range ($$): Deco Hotel Canberra, good value for money hotel located on Northbourne Avenue, featuring a fitness center, private parking, a 24-hour front desk, and good breakfast. The Accommodations are clean and really quiet.

Mid-range ($$): Meriton Suites Canberra, good value for money hotel for big family or group of friends in the heart of the city. It has Three Bedroom Luxury Suites which can accommodate up to 6 family members. It is close to good restaurants and tourist attractions.


2. Barton/ Near Parliament House

Barton is a suburb in Canberra located near Parliament House, and it is known for its close proximity to important government institutions.

Parliament House is One of the most significant landmarks in Canberra. You can explore the public areas of the building, including the Great Hall and the Parliament House Gardens.

The National Gallery of Australia and the National Portrait Gallery are nearby, offering art enthusiasts the chance to explore a rich collection of Australian and international art.

Barton is close to the iconic Lake Burley Griffin. You can enjoy leisurely walks or bike rides along the lake’s foreshore.

Best places to stay in Canberra Near Parliament House:

Luxury ($$$): Hyatt Hotel Canberra – A Park Hyatt Hotel, great 5-star hotel conveniently located in Yarralumla, close to Parliament House and Lake Burley Griffin. Only 10 mins walk from the National Library. The hotel has an Indoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and family rooms.

Luxury ($$$): Hotel Realm, 5-star hotel located in the elegant suburb of Barton, super close to the Parliament House. The hotel has private parking, spacious rooms, and 2 restaurants. Also a great base if you want to watch the footy at Manuka Oval.

Mid-range ($$): Burbury Hotel, 4-star hotel located on Burbury Close, within the Parliamentary Triangle, 20 mins walk from Questacon and the National Gallery of Australia. Easy distance to numerous Restaurants, bars and cafés. Quiet location close to the city center.

Mid-range ($$): Hotel Kurrajong Canberra, 4-star hotel, located on National Circuit, short drive from the Old Parliament House and Capital Hill. 15 mins walk to the Lake, and lots of good Cafes around.

Mid-range ($$): Brassey Hotel – Managed by Doma Hotels, 4-star 1920s-style accommodation situated only a few mins drive from the Parliament of Australia and Capital Circle.  Easy walk to numerous local dining options, cafes, bars, a tapas lounge and fine dining restaurants. The hotel has free parking which is a bonus for those who drive.

Budget ($): Adina Serviced Apartments Canberra Kingston, 3-star accommodation located in leafy suburb of Kingston, only 5 mins drive from Parliament House, the embassies, and the National Art Gallery. It offers fully self-contained apartments with a full kitchen and laundry facilities, and peaceful gardens. Easy access to the Old Bus Depot Markets, boutiques, shops and restaurants.


3. Kingston/ Near Canberra Railway Station

Kingston is a vibrant and trendy suburb in Canberra, situated near the Canberra Railway Station and Lake Burley Griffin. You can find numerous mid-range hotels and serviced apartments in the area around Manuka Oval.

The Kingston Foreshore is a popular waterfront precinct with a mix of restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops. It’s a trendy and lively area with a modern atmosphere, making it a great spot for dining and leisure.

Located in Kingston, the Old Bus Depot Markets are held on Sundays and feature a variety of stalls selling handmade and locally produced goods, including arts, crafts, and fresh produce.

Best places to stay in Canberra Near Canberra Railway Station:

Mid-range ($$): Knightsbridge Canberra, great 4-star hotel located on Leichhardt Street, quiet street with no traffic noise. Close to many places of interest in the nation’s capital. Short drive from Kingston Foreshore and Manuka. It features a seasonal infinity pool, free parking, a gym, and air conditioned rooms with full kitchens. 

Mid-range ($$): Pinnacle Apartments, 4-star hotel in Kingston, featuring free parking, laundry facilities, self-contained units with a full kitchen, and barbecue facilities. Easy walk to shops and restaurants.

Mid-range ($$): Manuka Park Serviced Apartments, 4-star accommodation located at the Corner Manuka Circle & Oxley Street, 10 mins  drive from the city center,. It features apartments with a full kitchen and laundry facilities. 5 mins walk to many restaurants and eateries at Manuka and Kingston. 

Mid-range ($$): East Hotel and Apartments, 4-star hotel located on Canberra Avenue, featuring family rooms, bicycle rental services, and a fitness center. Treat location for easy access to the Parliament, the lake, and Kingston’s cafes and restaurants.

Mid-range ($$): Ramada Diplomat Canberra, 4-star accommodation, conveniently located at the corner of CCanberra Ave & Hely St, 5 mins drive from Parliamentary Triangle. A short stroll from bars and restaurants in Manuka and Kingston.


In conclusion, Canberra City Centre, Barton/ Near Parliament House, and Kingston/ Near Canberra Railway Station are the best places to stay in Canberra for first-timers and tourists. These areas have high concentrations of accommodations and amenities, making them great bases in the city.

You can continue reading about other destinations in Australia in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Canberra. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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