5 Tips for Surviving Winter in Canberra
Canberra is notorious for being cold in winter. What should you expect from Australia’s only inland capital city? 150 kilometres from the coast and 600 metres above sea level, Canberra takes the crown as the coldest of the states and territories. But that doesn’t make it a bad place to be in winter. You just need to be prepared for the cooler months.
Last year, Canberra had its fourth coldest winter on record for minimum temperature. On July 1, Canberra Airport reported -8.7°C, it’s coldest morning since 1971. Winter as a whole was the coolest since 1982.
So what can you do this year to keep warmer than you were last year? Here are our top tips…
1. Update your winter wardrobe
There’s an old Norwegian proverb, det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlig klær, which translates to there is no bad weather, only bad clothes. Remember this the next time you complain about the Canberra cold.
The bottom line is that preparing yourself for winter’s icy hell by lining your wardrobe with winter-friendly clothes is a smart move. Layers are the key, so make sure you have plenty of them. Fine merino is a great choice for the inner layer, while outer layers should be waterproof and windproof. As soon as wind penetrates your outer layer, your clothing system will start failing you – no number of layers in the world will stop you from getting wind chill.
For your basic inner layers, get yourself to Millers, Lowes or Kmart. Suzanne Grae, Rockmans and Ed Harry are your next layers, offering wearable, easy-to-care-for and budget friendly brands. Marketplace Gungahlin is your one-stop-shop for accessories, stocking beautiful scarves, jackets, gloves and hats, all of which will turn heads. Keep your toes warm next, with some boots from FSW Shoes. If you’re still cold, throw a pair of tights or sheer stocking under a pair of jeans or layer a form-fitting sweater over a long-sleeved t-shirt.
2. Be wary of fog
Canberra gets on average about 20 days of fog in winter and fog delays aren’t uncommon on a cold winter morning. This can wreak havoc with your schedule if you’re a frequent flyer.
As a general rule, planes parked at Canberra Airport overnight depart without a hitch. So if leaving the ACT, book yourself on one of the first flights (before 8am) and if you’re coming in to Canberra for an early appointment, fly in the night before. If you need to drive on the roads during fog, take it slow and put your lights on. Frost can make it near impossible to see through your windscreen, and you could potentially cop a fine from police if caught driving with a view that’s frozen over.
3. Protect against flu
Flu activity has increased sharply in recent years and the Australian Government is urging everyone to get vaccinated. This is particularly important for high-risk groups such as pregnant women, the elderly, and healthcare workers.
As well as vaccination, you can protect yourself and your family from flu by avoiding close contact with sick people, monitoring flu-like symptoms, covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and washing your hands often with anti-bacterial soap and water.
4. Condition your home to warm up
Get in the habit of opening the blinds and curtains in the morning to take advantage of the natural heat from the sun. When it’s dark, shut your blinds and curtains to keep the warmth in. Also check your windows and doors for any areas where cold air may be seeping in and wrap or seal if necessary. Look at your furniture too. It may seem like a good idea to have your favourite seat in front of the radiator, but your seat could be absorbing heat the heat that’s needed to keep your home warm.
5. Invest in a slow cooker
Pop into Big W and grab yourself a slow cooker. If you’ve got one already, pop into BOOK FACE and grab some slow cooker recipe books. Nothing beats walking in the door to a ready-to-go hearty stew or tasty soup in winter and you’ll be instantly warmed by the smell that greets you. Basically foolproof, you simply dump the ingredients into your slow cooker and set to cook for the day. Once you’re home, simply transfer to a bowl, curl up on the sofa with a blanket, and get stuck in.
Learning to love winter
Canberra might be cold in winter but that’s not to say there’s nothing to love between June and August. The cold simply brings new reasons to explore the nation’s capital, from the region’s fresh Black Winter Truffle to shopping boutique stores, museums, wineries and the Canberra Writers Festival. And did we mention that it’s Raiders season?