The Canberra coffee culture is growing, even in the colder months. Photo by Stuart Hay.

The Canberra coffee culture is growing, even in the colder months. Photo by Stuart Hay.

What’s great about Canberra

First published by Woroni, the ANU Student Newspaper. By MARK FABIAN

Some fresh young migrants to Canberra complain about the city.

It doesn't have any graffiti-lined alleyways, enough cafes, any swank bars or funky places to eat, much live music or a cool post-communist chic a la Berlin.

Apparently, there also isn't anything to do. But it does have some perks.

For starters, it has the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, among others, which feature works from artists who are a touch more talented than your average graffitist.

It hosts the Groovin the Moo music festival annually (Dizzee Rascal headlining this year) and a live music scene that is easy to plug into (try listening to "Local 'n' Live" on 2XX for info). There are at least eleven cafes on campus and another eight between us and the city. There's also parliament and Australia's only policy school (Crawford).

If you give two stuffs about what's going on with public affairs in this nation you might want to familiarise yourself with them.

Next up is the environment - you're living in the Bush Capital.

There are deciduous European trees on the streets and native wildflowers in the yards that make the city an ocular feast in autumn and spring.

You can reach a nature reserve in 10 minutes by bike from just about anywhere. You can drive to a national park in 15. If you live in the suburbs you'll occasionally find a kangaroo mowing the grass in your backyard.

But sure, if you prefer concrete, bad air, living in a shoebox and exercising in a gym where everyone's body odour is recycled through the air conditioning maybe you'd be better off in New York.

Then there's the community. This isn't hugely important to most students who can socialise on campus, but it should be noted that several ACT sports competitions are larger per capita than their Sydney equivalents, and you don't need to travel for 90 minutes to get to a game.

The ACT also has small but dedicated groups for just about any hobby, from war gaming to orienteering through to Baha'i.

Yet people still say there isn't anything to do. Perhaps they mean there isn't much nightlife.

But if your idea of "something to do" is going to a dark room full of strangers to pay overprice to drink poison and talk about the same s--t you always talk about then I'm suspicious you're boring, not Canberra.