How Safe is Canberra: Travel Guide

Canberra is one of Australia’s safest cities. It has low crime rates and is usually ranked as one of the safest cities in the world.

I’ve lived in Canberra all my life and have good idea of it’s safety and what you should expect when you travel around the Capital.

How Safe is Canberra

How Safe is Canberra

Canberra sits well below the national average in terms of violent crime. In general Canberra is very safe to travel around.

As a tourist, it’s safe to walk around the city.

Pickpockets in Canberra

I haven’t heard of pickpockets operating in Canberra and I was unable to find any reports of pickpocketing occuring here. I believe the overall risk of pickpocketing is very low but obviously it’s always a good idea to be aware of your possessions when travelling on public transport or walking in a crowd.

Scams in Canberra

ATM and credit card skimmers are not common in Canberra for a couple of reasons. In Australia we’ve had contactless payments long before it was a thing in the U.S and Europe. Anywhere a card is accepted, contactless payments are also accepted. Most people don’t use cash in Australia, and although it’s still accepted it’s becoming less common.

Obviously if you are using cash, use common sense when withdrawing from an ATM and cover your pin and check for skimmers before using.

I haven’t heard of any scams targeting travellers in Canberra.

Public Transport and Taxis

Public Transport in Canberra is generally very safe. Taxis in Canberra are required to use a meter and unlike in some parts of the world where it can be a struggle to get them to use the meter, that won’t be the case here. You won’t have to haggle a price.

The most dangerous form of transport is escooters. Wear a helmet while riding and make sure you don’t ride on the road or in the on road bike lanes. They are only to be ridden on the footpaths.

Heat and Cold in Canberra

Canberra does get hot during summer. Canberra can reach temperatures of over 40°C in Summer. Walking around in this heat isn’t a good idea. The sun in Australia is also stronger than the rest of the world. Always wear sunscreen and cover up with a hat. It’s best to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day and venture out when it’s cooler.

While Canberra is the coldest major city in Australia, it doesn’t get so cold that it’s dangerous to walk around. By Europeon standards, it’s still warm in Winter.

Snakes and Spiders in Canberra

Yes Canberra is home to both snakes and spiders but in reality you’re probably not going to come face to face with a dangerous animal in Canberra. Walking around the city as a tourist you will not come across any snakes. If you are visting a wildelife reserve or our national park, Namadgi, you may see a snake. I haven’t seen a snake bushwalking around Canberra but others have. The snake will be more scared of you. If you’re walking on hiking trails, it’s unlikely you’ll come across a snake.

Canberra’s most dangerous spider is the Red Back spider. Again, as a visitor to Canberra it’s unlikely you’ll come across this spider. The Funnel Web Spider can possibly be found in the ACT but it’s unlikely. If you are bitten by a spider seek medical treatment. There are antivenoms for spider bites.

Natural Disasters in Canberra

There is a bushfire risk in Canberra. Canberra is known as The Bush Capital and bushfires in and around the ACT are a part of life. The risk of actually needing to take action due to a bushfire, as a visitor to Canberra, is very small.

We do get the odd thunderstorm with hail and some flooding in Canberra but damage tends to be localised and we haven’t experienced a major flooding event in some time.

Are there any areas to avoid?

Canberra doesn’t have any slums or ghettos. There are no areas of the city that have been overrun with crime. I would avoid walking through Haig Park of Glebe Park at night.

Canberra isn’t a touristy city. You won’t come across street vendors following you to make a sale or con artists trying to scam you.

As the capital of Australia and home of democracy in Australia, we do get protestors. It’s part and parcel of being the home of Australia’s governement. It’s always best to just let them do there thing and go about your day, no matter how extreme or repulsive their views are to you. Protests in Canberra don’t tend to be violent and if there is any risk to the public they will be accompanied by police.


I grew up in Canberra and apart from a brief stint overseas I've spent my entire life here. I've watched Canberra grow from a sleepy town into a thriving city. I want to share the best Canberra has to offer through LoveCanberra.

A weekly newsletter covering what's on in Canberra

Subscription Form