Canberra Winter: A handy survival guide for newcomers

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There is no denying it – winter has definitely come to Canberra.

Whether it is your first winter in the city, or you just need a timely reminder as the mercury dips once more to sub-zero temperatures, here are some tips about how to get through the capital’s coldest months.

Rug up and stay healthy

Chances are, if you are not a long-time Canberran you are probably not wearing enough layers – the Michelin Man look is very in right now.

Invest in a decent jacket and do not be afraid to accessorise with gloves, a scarf and a beanie.

Rugging up gives you the chance to show off to your friends further north that you actually have a separate winter wardrobe, but it can also help you avoid getting sick.

And it is just as important to stay warm and keep healthy at work too.

Doctors recommend washing your hands properly, avoid sharing cups with workmates and regularly disinfecting your desk, keyboard and phone.

The annual flu vaccination is also available and is free for pregnant women, people aged over 65 and most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Defrost your car windows

If you have moved from warmer climates and have not had to deal with this pesky task before, it can be difficult to know the right thing to do.

Parking your car under some sort of shelter (even a carport is helpful) is always best, but if your car has to be out in the elements there are a few ways to clear the accumulated ice:

  • Invest in an ice scraper (it will take you forever with your credit card).
  • Place a towel over the front windscreen to stop the ice from accumulating (but remember to make sure all your windows are defrosted before driving).
  • Pour water on your window to defrost the ice (do not use hot water as this may cause the windscreen to crack).
  • Blast that car defroster.

Embrace it – head to the snow

There is no use fighting it – it is definitely going to be cold for a couple of months. But one of the great things about Canberra is that the city and its surrounds are beautiful in winter.

Thredbo and Perisher are just 2.5 hours drive away from the capital and both ski resorts are expecting a dumping of snow in the coming week.

A little closer to home, Corin Forest provides lots of family fun and takes less than an hour in the car with the kids to get there.

Or why not take a road trip? Explore the capital region’s wineries or visit nearby country towns like Bungendore, Yass, Murrumbateman or Gundaroo.

Exercise or take up a hobby

Exercise is the best way to fight off those winter blues – otherwise known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD.

SAD often strikes during winter with a reduction in daylight hours and can mean reduced energy levels.

But if you can work up the motivation, rug up for a morning stroll around Canberra with your camera. True Canberrans know the best way to tease your friends on Facebook is to show off how well your city does winter.

If you can not brave the cold, head to the gym or enjoy an indoor sport to get those endorphins flowing.

Doctors recommend you still keep up your fluid intake though, saying we should be drinking the same amount of water while exercising in winter as we do in summer.

Stay in

There is absolutely nothing wrong with staying in and hoping the cold days pass quickly. And it pays to keep your home as warm, yet as energy efficient, as possible.

While it may be tempting to pump your heater and pretend its summer, your hip pocket will not thank you come bill time.

The ACT Government’s Actsmart website recommends keeping your thermostat between 18C-20C in winter, claiming for every 1C you lower the temperature you can save 10 per cent on your heating bill.

The website also offers lots of tips about making your home more energy efficient, including how to best insulate your house, the most efficient heating options and they even run free workshops on how to draught-proof your home.

Book in to a first aid course in Canberra on a cold winters day. Date available at website