"I moved here for a job". It's the common reason given by most Canberra arrivals. But now more people have seen the other side of the nation's capital and are making the move for the lifestyle. Jil Hogan speaks to some of those who made the move by choice - and none of them have any plans to leave.
Belle and Tim Chadwick with Kit (4) and Billie (1)
Having grown up in the northern beaches of Sydney, Tim Chadwick was always very much of the typical mindset of, "why would you ever leave Sydney"?
But after meeting wife Belle and having their first daughter Kit, the creative couple started to think about their future.
"We sort of were in the inner west in a little apartment and it was like, we really want to give Kit a backyard and a dog, and we want her to be able to walk to school and to have her friends down the road and to be able to ride a bike, and you just can't do that in Sydney there's just so many people, so much traffic," says Belle.
At the time, Tim was visiting Canberra to do some work in the new suburb of Googong.
"As I was leaving and as you go from Fyshwick out of town and you hit the freeway, I caught myself looking at the Brindabellas going, 'man Canberra is beautiful, it is so pretty'. And I just always had a bit of a secret crush on Canberra," says Tim.
So the Chadwicks made the move south, and started their own window furnishings company Chadwick Designs. Despite not knowing anyone at all when they arrived, they quickly fell in love with their new home.
"The thing that we noticed most about Canberra is the community. In Sydney it's really easy to disappear in a crowd. In Canberra - we had our daughter in hospital for a week, and all these people that we know, they were just been so kind bringing us meals and so supportive," says Tim.
Since making the move, the family of three became four, with daughter Billie born last year. Business grew quickly, and the duo opened fabric and textiles business Cloth Paper Studio, with a showroom in Fyshwick, and together they employ nine people.
"Canberra's a good size because people talk and if you do good work, people will notice you. Whereas in Sydney, I'd been involved with certain companies where I knew they could leave people disappointed and they'd just move onto the next client," says Tim.
"And it's not that work's super easy but it's just really pleasant. We work really, really hard, but we find that it's just a pleasant place to live."
They also recently bought a house in Holder.
"We have been married for four years and in Sydney we never really thought that we would be able to buy. And at 18 months of trading in Canberra we were able to buy our first house ever - which none of our peers in Sydney can do," says Belle.
"And it's a beautiful, established, leafy suburb with all the things that we love about Canberra. Small business owners rarely anywhere else in the world could do that."
And it wasn't just Tim and Belle to make the move to Canberra. Tim's parents followed soon after, and then Belle's Mum. Belle's Dad will follow suit later this year, and her niece and younger brother are moving to go to university here.
"Everyone gets a taste of what it's like here and comes. I think that they just see that it's really beautiful and easy and how happy we are," Belle says.
"I've already said to my friends, I am never going back to Sydney," says Tim.
While running a bar and cafe in Sydney, Nick Diver and his business partner Ben Johnson were on the lookout for pub opportunities around the city.
Originally from Canberra himself, Johnson saw that the Old Canberra Inn was for sale, and suggested to Diver that they check it out.
"I was like, 'ok, really?' The same sort of perception most people have," says Diver.
With Diver having not visited since the '90s, the duo spent a few days in Canberra to weigh up their options.
"I was blown away by the changes and the market and demographic that was here. And then seeing [Old Canberra Inn] and it being so old and its heritage and its history and its amazing features - we just went for it."
Taking over meant someone making the move south, and given Johnson has a young family in Sydney, Diver made the move in early 2015.
"Everyone was like, 'Canberra? Really?' With a big question mark at the end of that. But slowly friends have come down to visit to see what we're doing and see Canberra."
Since taking over the 150-year-old venue, Diver and Johnson have opened up the venue to a new crowd, which meant Diver was able to easily overcome the often dreaded task of making friends in a new town.
"We've opened it up to all walks of life, all different age groups, families, kids, students, young professionals, pollies - everyone.
"So I've been able to meet just a huge range of people, and that's been a major thing for me. So I haven't felt like I haven't met anyone or anything like that. And obviously all the bar staff that work for us their networks of friends and friends of friends.
And they've also found that compared to Sydney, running a business was far easier.
"We haven't done a lot of marketing here, we've just been relying on word of mouth and that's definitely a plus in Canberra, is that word does spread quickly. And to get stuff done, when we're trying to do maintenance or trying to meet suppliers or stuff like that, it just seems easier because it's a smaller pool to pick from."
Now that the business is well and truly set up, Diver is able to get out and about more and finally really enjoy the town he now calls home.
"It's all about peeling back the layers, it's a great town and there's parts of Sydney that I just don't miss. Canberra has the natural environment, it's close to the snow, everyone seems more relaxed, the roads aren't stressful. There's a lot of pluses to Canberra that once you're down here living you can acknowledge."
"I said to Ben originally, 'I'll give it two years as a bit of a trial', but I'm coming up to two years now and I'm content. I feel like this is home now"
Deanne and Andrew Kalda
Deanne and Andrew Kalda are no strangers to uprooting their life and making a drastic move.
Thirteen years ago, after Deanne coincidentally quit her job the same day Andrew was made redundant, they left their life in Sydney, where they had both grown up, and moved to near Port Douglas in far north Queensland.
After 12 years there, they decided it was time for another change.
"We didn't want to go back to Sydney, so the obvious first choice was Brisbane because it was still close, our families are in and around Sydney, and it was a bigger population for our businesses," says Deanne.
"We've got friends that we used to go to Thredbo with almost every year, so we would always come through Canberra. And one time we were doing just that and we were on our way to Jindabyne and we actually stopped. We were sitting in Gus's Cafe and I just said, 'what about Canberra?' and it just went from there."
At the time, the couple were working for themselves - Andrew as an IT consultant and amateur photographer, and Deanne as a massage therapist - so they packed up and moved to Canberra.
"I was surprised, because I did expect that reaction of 'oh canberra?' - but a lot of people know someone who has lived here or had lived here themselves and there wasn't as much negativity as I thought there was going to be," says Deanne.
They initially settled in Bruce, and have recently moved to a bigger house in Crace.
"Everything's just so close. And I just love the fact that we've got bush two streets away," says Andrew.
"We love the quality of life and not wasting time. If you go to cities like Sydney and that, you'll waste a lot of time just getting everywhere, the hassle. Here you can get an awful lot done in a day without stress, it's not rushed.
Deanne also found her business, Maa Organics quickly boomed, largely through word of mouth. She works as a massage therapist and aromatherapist, a life coach, and also produces her own organic skincare product range, which she blends herself. As well as clients, she found it easy to make friends.
"I've been lucky enough to meet some really supportive women. I don't think I've met one person that's not been friendly, I have not found that at all. I know I'd read about that before I came, Canberra can be quite cliquey, but I haven't found that at all," she said.
"I think Canberra just offers a very very balanced lifestyle, if you want to take advantage of it," says Andrew.
"I can't see any reason why we would think about leaving."