Getting around

If you don’t have a car or easy access to one, it’s a good idea to live close to work or a town centre.

The buses are improving (and some routes are certainly better than others), but you will find that they can be inconsistent and routes on the weekend are limited. They also stop at 8pm on Sunday. Free booklets containing maps and timetables of bus routes are available at most major newsagents.

As Canberra is a suburban town, you will rarely be able to walk out onto the street and flag a cab. Always phone ahead: 13 22 27. Belconnen to Civic in a cab does not leave you much change from $35. Canberra Cabs also runs a Maxi‐taxi service – vans which can fit roughly 12 people and don’t charge extra. If you call a cab on a Saturday, the wait can be up to an hour. When calling Canberra Cabs number, you will be put through to an automated system or you can book online via their website. A good hint is to select the ‘future’ option, even if you are only leaving ten minutes in the future. This option is most always quicker than saying ‘ready’.

Driver’s License

It is free to transfer to an ACT License. This can be done at any ‘Canberra Connect’ shopfront (a one‐stop shop for ACT government information and services). Ensure you come prepared – they will require certain proof that you really do live in Canberra, such as a lease, specified utility bills or your tax return.

For more information see Transferring a driver licence from Interstate.

Motor Vehicle Registration

Motor vehicle inspections are required before registration in the ACT is granted. There are a number of authorised vehicle inspection places, but the main one is the Dickson Motor Vehicle Registry. The inspection costs around $50 and lasts about 10‐15 minutes. You need to make a booking for an inspection some time during office hours.

It is recommended that if you have an older car you first have it serviced. Mention to the mechanic that you are hoping to have it registered in the ACT and ask them if they could check for any possible problems.

Registration can be arranged at the Motor Vehicle Registry and Canberra Connect shopfronts. To register your vehicle, you will need to take along the following documents:

  • Inspection report
  • Registration papers from the previous state or territory
  • Your current drivers licence
  • Proof of Canberra address (could be a telephone bill, letter from a bank, etc.).

The cost of registration will depend on how much your vehicle weighs. The cost of a small‐medium car is approximately $773 for twelve months. A larger car (e.g. sedan) is approximately $800. Three and six month registrations are also available.

There is an administration fee for transferring your registration from interstate, which includes the cost of new plates. There is also a 3% stamp duty on purchase price payment required. To receive a current quote for all the payments required, call Canberra Connect on 13 22 81. You will be required to hand in your old plates when you register. When you hand in your plates, you will be handed a receipt which has to be returned to the relevant Road and Transport Authority in your home state. If there is any remaining registration, you might be entitled to a pro‐rata refund. Contact the authority responsible for motor vehicle registration in your home state for more information.

ACT Road Transport Authority; Ph: 13 22 81, 13‐15 Challis Street, Dickson.


Very few petrol stations are located on major roads around Canberra, instead they are mostly located within the suburb near the local shops.

Public Transport

Canberra does not have trams or trains but it does have buses run by ACTION. For the cheapest trips, you need to buy a rechargeable bus card called a MyWaycard. MyWay cards can be bought online or at any MyWay service desks.

You can check out the bus route on the ACTION. The ‘Transit’ app is also particularly helpful. Some buses will allow you to put you bike on the front.

If you plan to live in Queanbeyan, Deane’s Transit Group run some buses to Canberra.


One thought on “Getting around”

  1. If you are into bike riding, Canberra has one of the best cycle path network in the world. Both on-road and off-road cycle ways are provided connecting all parts of Canberra.

    The public bus network also provides a bike-and-ride service, where you can ride to central bus stops, leave your bike in secure parking and catch a bus the rest of the way.The buses also have a bike-and-carry system with lots of buses having bike racks at the front so you can cycle to the nearest bus-stop, catch the bus with your bike, and then get of at the other end of the trip and continue on your way with your bike!

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