Vendor City Guide: Canberra

My name is Luceil. On 12 September, I will have been selling The Big Issue Australia in Canberra for 14 years. Selling The Big Issue helped me when I couldn’t find work. I was depressed and felt discriminated against. It has given me a sense of purpose. I can be flexible and it gives me extra income. It helped me buy a car and new things. It changed my life.

What’s to like

Canberra is a clean place. The weather is good, and in winter there are bright sunny days. People often think Canberra is boring, but there is lots to do.

Big Issue Australia Luceil. [Credit: Sean Davey]


Parliament House is a great place to visit so you know more about the government. It has a nice gift shop with a political theme. Or browse the Old Bus Depot Market in Kingston on a Sunday for food, crafts, clothes, jewellery; expensive but it has unusual things to see. The Australian Museum is always worth a visit; they have animal exhibitions I always find interesting. And it’s good to walk around Lake Burley Griffith, and the paddle boats are fun and good exercise. You can paddle out to see Captain Cook’s Memorial. Or for a great view, you can see the whole of Canberra from the Telstra Tower – and it has a restaurant.

Best cafes

I like the buffet at the Burns Club in Kambah, it’s the best value in town for lunch. It has a variety of food, roasts, curries, Chinese, Japanese and all the desserts. I also like the Coffee Club at Westfield in Belconnen or Watson Takeway for great fish and chips and salad. And I’d recommend heading to Chinatown in Woolley Street, Dickson, for good restaurants – Rasa Sayang is especially good.

Canberra illustration by Daniel Gray-Barnett

On a budget

The Australian War Memorial is free to enter and has interesting exhibitions; one I saw was about the nurses in the wars. You can also visit the Wall of Remembrance and find the names of any relatives who have died in wars. The Australian National Botanic Gardens are nice to walk through, and Tidbinbilla, a nature reserve in south Canberra, is a good place to see different animals and go on walks.

When to visit

Autumn and spring are good times to visit. Summer is too hot and winter too cold. It is also nice to see the weather change. In autumn you can see the trees change colour and the days are beautiful. In spring, the free Floriade festival has lots of beautiful flowers.

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