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If you’re heading to Australia’s capital city from another country you’re not going to be driving there. The main airport is the simply named Canberra International Airport, a modern mid-sized airport. Serviced by Qantas Airlines, Virgin Airlines and Brindabella Airlines, there are numerous connections available from other destinations throughout Australia with several direct international flights.
The airport offers modern amenities including shopping and eateries, but as it is not as large as other close airports such as Melbourne or Sydney, visitors to Canberra might be a little underwhelmed by its offerings. A good tip when flying out of Canberra is to take some pre-brought snacks as the offering is limited and price can be expensive.
Still, despite its size the airport is renowned for keeping to a tight schedule with reasonable security lines and fast arrival of baggage. The main delays will be during Winter (June-August) when fog will shut the airport down.
When you do head to retrieve your belongings you can find the rental car service counters in the arrivals area, along with other options for ground transportation including shuttle buses, limos and cabs. The shuttle bus runs every half hour and costs $7. A cab from Civic to the airport will cost around $20 (the reverse may cost a little more due to an airport surcharge).
The traffic can be moderate at times (just try to avoid peak times when all the workers are travelling), but the well-planned network seldom has the problems of other major cities. Just be sure to drive on the left side of the road, which follows the English system.
Driving from other Australian destinations to Canberra can generally be pleasant. The roads from Melbourne and Sydney are well sign posted although for first-timers and international drivers a map can be a good investment. When travelling from either city there are numerous road-side restaurants (mainly McDonalds,KFC,etc.) making frequent stopping convenient.
If heading to Canberra from one of the other major cities (with the exception of Perth,Darwin and Hobart) there is also the option of catching a bus and/or train.
Greyhound Australia has several services each day at a cost of around $36 one-way from Sydney, $79 one-way from Melbourne, $159 one-way directly from Adelaide. From Brisbane its a connecting service in Sydney at around $150. There are numerous other coach lines depending on whether you are travelling from and Bus Australia has some helpful links when researching your options.
For trains, CountryLink is your site for information. For day-trips economy seating is fine as the leg space will be genourous even at this level of service. For over-night trips its a good idea to book sleeper accommodation. However, while the sleeping cars convert to daysitter seats they do not recline and are fixed so that you may be seated against the direction of travel.