Canberra’s main avenues and approach routes have historically been subject to rigorous planning scrutiny, and care has been taken to ensure that suitably high standards of development and landscaping have been observed.

A traveller’s first perception of a city’s character is gained upon approach and arrival. When arriving in Canberra it is important that the traveller is immediately aware of the special symbolic and functional significance of the National Capital.

Design policies are concerned with achieving awareness of this special significance through the following:

  • marking the boundary of the ACT
  • establishing a clear and identifiable route from the boundary to the symbolic centre of the city, by providing visual cues and strong structural links eg. avenue planting
  • building up expectations by progressively formalising the design character as travellers approach the Central National Area
  • enhancing views to recognisable and popular images of the National Capital so as to further build expectation and define the approach
  • ensuring that the structure, detailing and signage is consistent along each approach route into the National Capital.

To create an identifiable approach, which increases in formality as it gets closer to the Central National Area, and which clearly signifies the symbolic and functional roles of the National Capital: buildings which enhance the approach route function should front these roadways the main avenues are to be enhanced in their formal character and maintained to the highest standards. Main avenues and approach routes have also previously been identified as ‘Areas of Special National Concern’ in a 1964 Cabinet decision subsequently incorporated in the gazetted planning policies for Canberra. It is important that development within the road reservations, including signs and landscaping continues to be subject to high standards of design and landscaping and continues to recognise the importance of these routes as introductions to the National Capital.

Main Avenues

The Main Avenues include the land within the boundaries of the reservations of the following roads:

  • Adelaide Avenue
  • Ainslie Avenue
  • Anzac Parade
  • Brisbane Avenue
  • Canberra Avenue (to Hume Circle)
  • Commonwealth Avenue
  • Constitution Avenue
  • Edinburgh Avenue
  • Hobart Avenue
  • Kings Avenue
  • Limestone Avenue (south of Ainslie Avenue)
  • Melbourne Avenue
  • Northbourne Avenue
  • Perth Avenue
  • State Circle
  • Sydney Avenue
  • University Avenue

Approach Routes

The Approach Routes include the land within the boundaries of the reservations of the following roads:

  • Barton Highway
  • Canberra Avenue from Hume Circle to the ACT border
  • Fairbairn Avenue
  • Federal Highway
  • Monaro Highway through to Morshead Drive
  • Morshead Drive/Pialligo Avenue to the ACT border

Development Adjacent to the Main Avenues and Approach Routes (MAAR Overlay)

Special Requirements apply to some land the ACT because they front these important roads. The NCA has an interest in the quality and character of these areas even though they may not be within the Designated Areas