Are you planning to move to Canberra? As the nickname "bush capital" implies, Canberra is a bit different from your typical city, but also different from a typical country town.
Surprise 1: Why are there so many people?
On first look, Canberra seems to be empty. There are more trees and cockatoos than people. There are barely pedestrians outside of rush hours. However, when you visit a modest-looking shopping centre such as Belconnen Westfield. Gee! The mall is packed...Canberra is designed to be a city hidden behind trees, and don't be fooled by the facade.
Surprise 2: Why is it so hard to find parking?
Most of ACT is bushland. You would imagine there are heaps of open space for parking, and will be surprised that finding free parking is becoming increasingly difficult. The reason is that ACT is slowly developing its existing open-air car parks into apartment complex. Finding a free car park becomes a game of musical chair. If you are not an early bird, chances are you need to pay and find yourself in a busy parking structure.
Surprise 3: Why does a small city have traffic jam?
Over the past few years, Canberra has become a lot more congested. Canberra was originally designed for 30,000 people. Who would move to a cold country town in the bushland? Now, Canberra has about 400,000 people and counting. However, there are only two streets in the city that connect the northern and the southern part: Commonwealth Avenue and Kings Avenue. To make it worse, Kings Avenue is not a thoroughfare as it ends abruptly at the Campbell defence complex. That's why you will be stuck in traffic on most days during rush hours on Commonwealth and Northbourne Avenue.
Sometimes it takes a while to get used to Canberra. But I assure you, once you get used to it, you will love the close-knit community and small-town feel.