Gay Canberra

LGBTQ Travel Gay Canberra, Australia


Australia’s capital city is sometimes dismissed as just a company town. It’s true that the government is Canberra’s major industry, but after a long week of tending to politics, its young, highly educated population likes to let its hair down.

Canberra, a compromise capital, situated between Sydney and Melbourne, is a planned city. Construction began in 1913 from plans drawn up by a team of Chicago architects. Like Washington DC the city is situated in a district, the Australian Capital Territory or ACT, and has wide open green spaces, and embassies from around the world. There is so much natural vegetation that it’s often called the “bush capital.” The architecture is largely modern. It’s not always beautiful, but it can be striking, such as at the Shine Dome and the National Museum of Australia. Much of the downtown gets quiet in the evening, but the area around Bunda Street stays lively with many restaurants and bars.

The gay community here is thriving. The annual SpringOut festival, takes place in November - remember, the seasons are reversed down under. Events range from croquet to nude yoga. Also in November, the Canberra Bush Dance is a big LGBT dance and BBQ festival event, with everyone in singlets, jeans, twirling dresses, chaps, check-shirts, rhinestones, hats and boots.


Getting here

Your first look at Canberra will be the Canberra Airport. To reach the center take a taxi, or the Ride On Demand shuttle bus in either direction. Purchase tickets at the car park customer service office opposite the bus stop just outsdie the arrivals hall, or book ahead at their website. Transport Canberra’s ACTION buses offer public transportation into the center on their number 11 route. Cash fares of $4.90 may be paid on the bus, at the time of travel.

Getting around

This is a city that was planned with the car in mind, so renting one is a good idea - see Canberra Car Hire for information. There are also taxis, and Action buses for getting around -- see Myway for public transport smartcards and fare information.


Currency and Money

The local currency is the Australian dollar. You shouldn’t have trouble finding ATMs in most urban areas.


Gay rights in Australia

LGBT people are protected from discrimination and enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as other Australians. On December 9, 2017 the country became the 25th in the world to legalise same-sex marriage.

Most laws affecting LGBT and intersex rights are made by its states and territories. Between 1975 and 1997, the states and territories progressively repealed anti-homosexuality laws inherited from Britain, and each jurisdiction now has an equal age of consent of 16 for all sexual acts (except Tasmania and South Australia at 17). All, with the exception of the Northern Territory, allow both joint and step-parent same-sex adoption. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression is prohibited.

For a sane voice in the political discussion of sex and drugs, see the Australian Reason Party website.


Media & Resources

DNA is a national glossy magazine with some very impressive photography.
Fuse Magazine is another national gay publication with info on the local gay scene. See their LGBTQ Directory for contact information for over 30 Canberra area social groups.
Out in Canberra and BMAMag are the general-public websites for dining, nightlife and style information.

Friday Night Lip Service community radio show, broadcast every Friday at 9:30pm on 2xxfm 98.3FM in Canberra, can be live streamed from the 2xx website. Hosts generally identify as LGBTIQAPPK and wom*n.

The Chronicle, Canberra Times, Canberra City News, Canberra Weekly Magazine, and Smith's Alternative are some other local news and listings websites.

Emen8, "Australia's biggest and boldest online sexual health and wellbeing initiative for gay men, bisexual men and men who have sex with men!" also has travel and events highlights and tips on fashion and design.

For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Canberra listings pages.


Peppers Gallery Hotel (15 Edinburgh Ave; 61-7-5665-4426), 80 rooms/suites, contemporary boutique hotel and restaurant/bar, with gym, landscaped gardens, near retail shops.

For a dozen local hotels and guesthouses see our map and listings pages.

Going out

Cube Nightclub (33 Petrie Plaza), Thursday through Sunday, gay dance and party club, shows, men/women mix, karaoke.

The Dickson Tradies (2 Badham St), LGBTQ-friendly lounge and sports bar, cafe/restaurant, quiz nights.

Gay Crash is a monthly take-over of a Canberra straight bar for one night only - to make it ours.

Mustang Ranch at Fantasy Lane (Unit 19, Molonglo Mall), Canberra’s men’s space, open 7 days, morning to midnight; sex shop, big-screen TV cinema lounge, internet computers, free tea and coffee, upstairs playrooms, orgy room, showers.

Mr Wolf (122 Alinga St), Saturday night mainstream dance parties, young mixed crowd.

The Phoenix (23 East Row, Civic), gay-friendly young/alternative mixed crowd pub, live music, movie nights, poetry readings.

Tilley's Divine Cafe Gallery (Brigalow at Wattle St), old fashioned wooden booths, 7-days breakfast, lunch and dinner, art, poetry readings, live music concerts, jazz, swing, dancing.

Transit Bar (7 Akuna St), popular mainstream bar/ live entertainment venue with pool tables, draught beers and gourmet pizzas; occasional Gay Cliché events (innactive this past year).

Gay Crash is a monthly take-over of a Canberra straight bar for one night only - to make it ours.

CLOSED: 16 West (16 West Row), LGBTQ+ meeting space/drinks, karaoke, WiFi, Saturday dance party.


Eating out

Cafe Essen (6 Garema Place) casual, popular hearty breakfasts, brunch, lunch, 30 coffee varieties, tea, from 7am.

Eat Your Words Cafe (2/71 Dundas Court), big breakfasts, eggs benedict, pancakes, lunch entrees, smoothies, sandwiches, pasta salads, croissants and muffins.

EQ Café & Lounge (70 Kent St, Inner South), gay-friendly place for coffee, breakfast, lunch, heated outdoor area; LGBT events.

Idelic Cafe (62 Giles St, Kingston), big breakfasts 7am to noon, all-day Saturday, benedicts, omelets, pancakes, bagels, extras, quiche, lunch, wraps, tarts, cakes, desserts.

Muse at (East Hotel (Canberra Ave at Giles St, Kingston), food from dawn into the night, new and second hand books for sale, fine wines, and events that feature some of Australia's top writers, thinkers, politicians, artists and winemakers. OUTBIZ LGBTIQ networking events.

Sammy's Kitchen (9 Bunda St), Malaysian and Chinese restaurant, meat, seafood and veggie options.

See more restaurants at our map & listings pages.

- Staff 2020