The nation’s capital, Canberra, has been revealed as the top place to live if you are a mum, according to Save the Children.
Canberra and the ACT topped the State of Australia’s Mothers report after comparing health, education opportunities, earning potential and relative social disadvantage across Australia.
The capital city, which is also my home town, has long been the butt of many jokes. However, it’s successfully going through a re-branding. People tell me ‘it’s cool now’ with a surge of funky courtyards and cafes in Braddon and New Acton.
It was also recently considered the most liveable city in the world, according to an OECD study. Canberra scored the top spot out of 362 regions in 34 countries. For a Canberra girl, that’s hard to believe. Is it really better than London? New York? Kyoto?
The Duchess of Cambridge at the National Arboretum in Canberra. Image by Mark Nolan/Getty Images.
There is no other city in the world quite like Canberra. You can still park in front of the shop you want to go into and if you drive from one side of the city to the other you can find yourself entirely surrounded by bushland or layers of Autumnal colours.
But you have live there or know a Canberran to know what's going on. Travel writer Bill Bryson bypassed the city by accident when he explored it. So where do parents in Canberra spend their time? Here's my guess:
1. The National Arboretum.
This is so Canberra. The National Arboretum is a tree farm and it sounds boring right? But it's expansive views of the city and stunning building is proving so popular that people get married there. It does kids birthday parties and the playground is great for kids - but bring a hat and sunscreen.
A boy explores Play Up. Image supplied.
2. Play Up at Old Parliament House.
For $2 you can take your baby, toddler or child to Play Up - a permanent family space inside Old Parliament house. It's a large fun colourful space that's a good place to meet other parents. It is cool when it is roasting outside and it's warm in the freezing winter.
3. Manuka Pool.
Manuka Pool could be Canberra's answer to the beach. It has an outdoor baby pool with a lot of shade, a lap pool and art deco architecture that makes you feel like you've stepped back in time.
4. Paint and Play.
This popular outdoor playgroup is on every Wednesday morning in Wakefield Gardens park behind Ainslie Shops. It is packed with friendly parents, babies and toddlers who are gathering to do creative stuff.
5. New Acton.
My sources tell me this is a great part of town. They recommend cake at Monster which they say is one of Canberra's best restaurants and it's a hotel lobby - so you can snack on amazing small plates without the stress of a fine dining room.