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Parking at Canberra
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Canberra Airport offers a number of different airport parking options, all of which are in walking distance of the main building and you can use any of the official airport car parks for short or long stays. All parking areas close half an hour after the arrival of the last flight and re-open at 4am each morning. There are disabled parking bays in both the indoor and outdoor car parks.
CBR has two multi-storey car parks: Blue and Green. Both of these indoor parking areas have 1,000 parking bays, with red and green LED lights to indicate whether a parking bay is occupied or available. You can leave your car in these areas for less than 20 minutes if you wish, but you then pay different rates for 21-40 minutes, 41-60 minutes, 1-1.5 hours, 1.5-2 hours and every hour after that up to five hours. You’ll then be charged the same rate for parking in Blue or Green for any time between five and 24 hours.
After one day of parking, you incur different rates for two, three and four days. After four days, there’s a smaller set rate for each additional day.
The two outdoor car parks at CBR go by Yellow and Red. Each of these parking areas has 450 bays and you will incur an initial charge for parking for 10 minutes or less. You then pay different rates for 11-20 minutes, 21-40 minutes, 41-60 minutes, 1-1.5 hours, 1.5-2 hours, 2-3 hours and every hour after that up to five hours.
As with the indoor car parks, the airport charges the same rate for stays of between five and 24 hours. There are also separate rates for stays of two days, three days and four days and a set price for each additional day beyond that.
The Express Pick-up area is on the ground floor of the Green indoor car park, just 65.6 feet (20 metres) from the arrivals hall. You can park here for up to five hours.
The free 10-minute pick-up area is in the Red outdoor car park. After your initial free 10-minute stay is up, you must pay normal outdoor parking rates to park there.
Canberra Airport (CBR) is the eighth-busiest airport in Australia. It serves passengers from the country’s capital city and the south east area of New South Wales. CBR is mainly a base for domestic flights to Sydney, Newcastle, Dubbo, Perth, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Melbourne. A small number of international flights are available to Singapore and Wellington, New Zealand. More than 2.8 million passengers used the airport in 2016.
Canberra Airport is near the suburb of Pialligo, 4.3 miles (seven kilometres) from Canberra city centre and less than 10 minutes away by car outside of rush hour.
The airport sits at the point where the east-west arterial road (Parkes Way/Pialligo Avenue) meets the eastern ring road (Monaro Highway/Majura Parkway). This makes it easy to reach from the suburbs in the area; CBR is just 11 minutes from nearby Queanbeyan and 18 minutes from Gungahlin by car.
While Canberra does have a train station, there’s no local train network within the capital. However, there are a number of buses ready to take you from Canberra city centre to CBR via some of the city’s suburbs. Routes 11 and 11A go from the central business district (CBD) in the city to the airport every day of the week.
CBR began life in the 1920s as a simple airstrip known as Northbourne Aviation Ground. At this time, pilots on domestic flights would mainly use the site for emergency landings.
The grounds were leased to the Department of Defence in 1926 and its owners handed over control of the land to the government four years later. The presence of a large hangar known as Duntroon Aerodrome (later Canberra Aerodrome) was first documented in 1936. The hangar was located where the northern end of the current terminal building now stands.
Work had already begun on a military base within the grounds by the start of World War II and, from 1939 until 2003, the airport served as a base for both RAAF and public flights. The military area was renamed RAAF Base Fairbairn in 1962 and stayed that way until its closure 41 years later. During this time, the airport terminal and runways were upgraded, lengthened or rebuilt many times. Terminal upgrades began and improvements to the façade were made during the 1950s, with a number of extensions starting soon after. By the end of the 1960s, passenger numbers had exceeded two million. In response, the terminal was replaced with a bigger building in 1971.
Following further improvements during the 1980s and 1990s, the Australian government sold Canberra Airport to local businessman, Terry Snow, in 1998. Major redevelopment began at CBR in 2009 and the new Southern Concourse opened a year later. The Western Concourse followed in 2013 and, as a result, the airport is now able to serve as a base for international flights. Its terminal space now amounts to four times more baggage capacity and a state-of-the-art lounge area to cater for growing demand.
As CBR is a relatively small airport, there are just two shops in the terminal building. You’ll find a good selection of books, newspapers, magazines, souvenirs and travel gadgets in Relay, while the JR/Duty Free shop offers more than 3,000 products ranging from designer fragrances to wines, beers and electronics.
Canberra Airport has a café bar serving local food and another with a more international feel. CBR is also home to a specialist coffee shop and even a restaurant serving traditional Vietnamese food.
Vibe Hotel Canberra Airport is the only on-site accommodation at CBR. It offers a choice of 191 rooms, suites and apartments over seven storeys. During your stay, you receive free internet access for two devices per room. The free broadband is set at a speed of 512Kbps, although you can choose a high-speed option at an extra cost. You can take advantage of 24-hour room service, conference rooms, a gym, dry cleaning (for a surcharge) and even a babysitting service. Limited on-site parking is also available at a daily rate. The Vibe Hotel is just 164 feet (50 metres) from the airport terminal.
The Diplomat Hotel offers four room levels: Standard, Deluxe, King Spa Suite and King Boardroom. If you’re looking for more space, each King Spa Suite offers separate bedroom and living areas, as well as an en suite bathroom. If you need to mix work and pleasure, the King Boardroom has a small conference room for meetings. Every room and suite at the Diplomat Hotel comes with a Smart TV and web access and free parking is available to all guests. The Diplomat is a nine-minute drive to and from Canberra Airport via Monaro Highway and the A23.
The Quality Inn Country Plaza Queanbeyan is also just nine minutes from CBR (via Pialligo Avenue). Each modern bedroom features modern air-conditioning, a large work desk, an LCD television with six popular satellite channels, an iPod docking station, a DVD player, an iron and ironing board and even an in-room safe. Tea- and coffee-making equipment, free internet access and a shower (with bathrobes) are also on hand during your stay. The Country Plaza invites all guests to use its outdoor swimming pool, mini-gym, sauna, business centre, guest laundry room and car park free of charge during the period of their stay.
The Tuk Chop is a restaurant serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Try the delicious steamed dumplings, soups, curries or fresh salads, along with a choice of beers, wines and soft drinks. The restaurant’s speciality is the traditional-style pho. This Vietnamese noodle soup offers all the flavour of Southeast Asia, but it’s also packed with ingredients sourced from in and around Canberra.
The popular Vietnamese street food on offer here is meant for eating on the go, which makes the Tuk Chop the perfect place to grab a quick bite before your flight.
Everything about the Limestone Café & Bar is a tribute to Canberra. Its name draws inspiration from the fact that the capital city was built on many different limestone caves and the bar offers a selection of wines and beers brewed in the local area. Meanwhile, all of the food on the refined menu is brimming with handpicked ingredients from Canberra’s best butchers and farmers, so whether you want a fitting end to your trip to Canberra or a way to feel at home as you relax before your flight, this modern restaurant gives you a true taste of Australia’s capital city.
Canberra Airport’s International Departure Lounge was opened in September 2016 to coincide with CBR’s first intercontinental flight to Singapore. The lounge boasts a wide range of seating options, meeting rooms, a large bar and high-tech media and business sections.
Whether you wish to discuss business in a private space or you want to relax in a more social environment, this lounge offers all you need. There are power points dotted around the lounge to allow you to charge your laptop or mobile device and you can also use the free WiFi to ensure you always stay connected.
A Lockheed Hudson Bomber A16-105 takes pride of place inside the terminal at CBR, next to the Virgin Australia check-in counters. The lovingly-restored aircraft was built in 1942 and is part of the Australian War Memorial collection. It acts as a fitting tribute to the Australian pilots who flew this type of plane during World War II and as homage to aviation history as a whole.
Taking a #HudsonSelfie next to the aircraft is allowed, too.
If you’re coming into Canberra from abroad, the Relay shop offers SIM cards to help you stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues, while avoiding those pesky roaming charges at the same time. The simple task of buying an Australian SIM card allows you to enjoy your time away without the worry of returning home to a huge phone bill.
Majura Park Shopping Centre is within the grounds of Canberra Airport, so you don’t have far to travel to find a whole lot more on offer than you’ll find in the terminal’s two shops.
Inside the shopping centre, you’ll find an Aldi supermarket, so whether you’re returning home to Canberra or just in the city for a few days, Majura is the perfect place to stock up on food. There’s also a Toys ‘R’ Us, a Woolworths and a Big W on-site if you need to find something to keep yourself or the kids amused before, during or after a long flight.
Canberra is one of only a few capital cities in the world to allow hot-air balloons within its airspace and this, combined with city’s breath-taking landscape, makes it a hotspot for hot-air balloonists from all over the globe. Balloons Aloft has been offering paid balloon flights over the city since 1986 and is a respected operator in the local area.
Half an hour before sunset, you can meet a member of Balloons Aloft staff at the Hyatt Hotel before being transported to your launch site a short drive away. As you float through the sky, you get to see landmarks such as Parliament House and Burley Griffin Lake from high above. You’ll also notice the graceful layout of the city as the sun sets.
For your safety and peace of mind, all Balloons Aloft pilots hold licenses from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). After your flight, the operators invite you to join them for champagne and you can even meet them the next morning for gourmet breakfast at the five-star Hyatt Hotel.
The National Portrait Gallery is packed with a diverse range of charming portrait photography. Take the free tour and listen to your guide reveal the stories behind the 500 portraits of famous Australians. Many online reviews agree that the portraits in the permanent exhibition (some of which are Archibald Prize winners) really bring their subjects to life.
The gallery building itself is also very pleasing to the eye. In fact, the building’s geometry is designed to mesh with the lines and vistas of the surrounding precinct. The Portrait Café also offers a good choice of food and drinks.
The Farmhouse Restaurant was awarded ‘one hat’ following an excellent review by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide in 2016. The restaurant serves cuisine with a 'paddock to plate' ethos befitting of its rural moniker. It uses only fresh, local ingredients from the farm and its huge market garden, olive groves and vineyard.
For a taste of the Australian countryside, it takes just six minutes to travel the 2.1 miles (3.4 kilometres) to the Farmhouse Restaurant from CBR via Beltana Road.
The National Museum of Australia makes learning fun for people of all ages and backgrounds. Whether it’s your first time in the country or you’re coming back for more, you’re sure to learn something new when you take a journey through Australia’s history, discover its indigenous culture and hear about the people and the historic events that shaped the Land Down Under as it is today.
Australian Parliament House is a must-see on any trip to Canberra. Take a tour of the modern complex and uncover a wealth of information on the short but illustrious history of the building. Learn about the formation of parliament and its customs and hear the stories of the statesmen and women who made their mark there.
You can even watch Australian MPs do battle during Question Time, either in the Senate or House of Representatives, and end your time there by taking an elevator to the roof, where you’ll enjoy stunning 360-degree views of Canberra and its surrounding areas.
Take a 90-minute guided tour of the Australian Institute of Sport to watch the country’s elite athletes being put through their paces as they train. You’ll find out what it takes to create champions, hear athletes tell anecdotes about their competitive experiences and gain insight into their everyday lives.
Sportex is a free interactive exhibit at the institute, where you’ll get the chance to try rock climbing, virtual downhill skiing, wheelchair basketball and more.
The Old Bus Depot Market takes place every Sunday between 10am and 4pm. From delicious organic world foods to trendy clothes, there are plenty of things to eat, buy or sample here and, if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to knit or crochet, you can visit the ‘Maker’s Workshop’. This market is a great place to pick up a souvenir or just look around and soak up the vibrant, bohemian atmosphere.
Canberra Airport has two terminal buildings: one for commercial flights and the other for general aviation. The main building consists of Southern and Western concourses.
Singapore Airlines is the only operator providing flights out of Australia (to Singapore and New Zealand), while all other airlines at CBR offer only domestic flights.
The airlines currently offering commercial flights to and from Canberra Airport are:
|Fly Pelican||Main terminal|
|Singapore Airlines Singa||Main terminal|
|Virgin Australia||Main terminal|
It takes just eight minutes to drive the 4.3 miles (7 kilometres) from Canberra city centre to CBR. Leaving the city on Morshead Drive, move onto Pialligo Avenue and then take the exit towards Terminal Avenue, following signs for the airport. You’ll reach CBR after 820 feet (250 metres).
There is no train service to Canberra Airport.
The Airport Express shuttlebus takes you to and from CBR from Canberra city centre via Russell, the National Convention Centre, London Circuit and the YHA backpackers’ hostel. This service runs every 50 minutes on a daily basis. However, it doesn’t operate on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day.
Transport Canberra provides the ACTION 11A bus that runs to and from CBR (via Russell), seven days a week. Buses leave from each stop every 60 minutes (or less during peak times).
Canberra is known for being very foggy due to its mild climate and location within a valley. In most cases of fog, the airport recommends that you still make your way to the terminal and check-in at the right time. Fog is unpredictable and planes may still be able to land or take off in such weather, but if this isn’t the case, the airport will make an announcement at the terminal to let you know of any cancellations or delays.
If heavy fog looks certain to disrupt take-off well ahead of time, your airline may get in touch to let you know of a cancellation. If you want to make sure your flight is still due to go ahead, we recommend that you contact the relevant airline for more information.
There are just two shops at CBR: Relay and the JR/Duty Free store. If you want to hunt for more goodies before or after your flight, you may find what you’re looking for in Woolworths, Big W or Toys ‘R’ Us at the Majura Park Shopping Centre in the airport grounds.
There’s no on-site train station at Canberra Airport, nor are there any direct buses from Canberra Train Station to the airport, but a cab ride from the station takes around 10 minutes and is by far the quickest way to get to CBR without your own car.
As the CBR terminal is relatively new, it’s designed to provide access for everyone. A detailed Canberra Airport Disabled Access Plan is available on its website and if you require special assistance or mobile aids during your time at CBR, you can get in touch with the airport customer service team on (+61) 02 6275 2226. Alternatively, your airline or travel agent may be able to make those arrangements on your behalf.
If you’ve lost any personal items during your time in the CBR terminal, you can contact Lost Property on (+61) 02 6275 2225 or through the contact page on the airport website. If you lose any items during your flight, you must get in touch with your airline directly.
The vast majority of aircraft are able to arrive or depart safely and on schedule, but your airline and pilot will be responsible for the decision. Fog is usually only an issue for flights due to depart before 9am.
The Express Pick-up area on the ground floor of the Green indoor car park and the free 10-minute pick-up area in the Red outdoor car park are the two designated pick-up areas at Canberra Airport.
A Google search for “Canberra Airport opening times” suggests that CBR is open 24 hours a day, but this is not the case. The terminal building closes 30 minutes after the last flight arrival and re-opens at 5am the next morning. The on-site car parks also close half an hour after the last plane comes in, but open at 4am each morning.
CBR is very close to the rural suburb of Pialligo (ACT 2609).
Because of the way the road network operates, it is 4.8 miles (7.7 kilometres) from the airport to Canberra city centre by car, but the opposite journey from the city centre to the airport is slightly shorter at 4.3 miles (seven kilometres).
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