Saturday, March 31, 2018

Canberra - Visiting the Australian Capitol Territory...again

Sadly we said goodbye to our best girls and left Batemans Bay.  It was truly the best two weeks spent with family.  The "transportation service" was great.  Our drive up the escarpment took us once again to the town of Braidwood where we stopped for another lamb sausage roll.  We traded with a different bakery this time and the pastry was out of this world.

We arrived in Canberra an hour later and headed to the brand new international airport.  This sculpture was amazing.

Once there we finalized our rental car and headed out to our holiday cottage in Kambah, a suburb of the city.  Our accommodation for the next four days is a cottage in the back garden of a family home.  We were met at the gate by Jambo, an Australian Cattle Dog who escorted us to the door.  So cute.  It's a lovely place and as usual we settled in quickly.  For the Easter Weekend, $62 a night was a bargain.

We were here two years ago with our travel club, traveling in three campervans.  Parking was a hassle, the war memorial, although very well done, was depressing after having seen way too many exhibits on ANZAC for weeks upon end...and we could not get into the Parliament House.  We saw little of the city and ended up spending most of our time at a sheep ranch in Gold Creek nearby.

Before crossing over to the west coast, we decided to give it another go and we were not disappointed.  Our first stop was the top of Mt. Ainslie for a birdseye view of the city below.  Truly not really developed until the mid 1900's it sprawls over the rolling hills of the area.  "Canberra" is the native work for "meeting place."

We started out at the new parliament house.  After a bit of smooth-talking we were able to snag a private VIP guided tour behind the scenes.  Our guide was a retired Air Force gal name Gina Hall and she was certainly the historian.  For a little more than an hour she guided us through corridors and meeting rooms, gathering halls, the senate and house of representatives, and through many portrait galleries and gardens.  We even got into the basement where they were hauling off the garbage.

Since is was the holiday, there were no active sessions.  The is the house of representatives.

This is the senate.

Next we walked the mall to the old parliament building.

The old senate.
The old house of respresentatives.
There was a great exhibit on previous prime ministers.
A wonderful kids area focused on "children's" bill of rights.

The kitchen where Elizabeth II made breakfast on one mornings during her first visit to Australia as queen.  Cool 50's motif.
We enjoyed a picnic lunch at the lake admiring the massive water fountain and its 200 ft spout.

And we ended our first day at the National Museum.

This 1950 Holden was the first of its brand and ran effortlessly with its one owner for over 300,000 miles of touring the country.  She was a writer and painter and the trailer was awesome.

The "rabbit fence" exhibit held my attention for quite some time.

There was a grand exhibit of aboriginal artwork, ceremonial gear, and tools....sadly, not masks.

Good Friday was quiet with lots of businesses closed, as well as all government offices and most national monuments  The movie theater offered a nice retreat.  It was pretty hot outside so we opted for an air-conditioned dark room for the afternoon.  This evening we had a "traditional" Good Friday dinner.  Hot-Crossed Buns with loads of butter, leftover Chili Colorado, leftover Pasta Bolognese, and a fresh spinach and cucumber salad.  "Jessica Jones" on Netflix provided the entertainment for this "religious" tradition.

Our last full day, being of bright sun and warm air, called for an outdoor activity so we planned a full day of visiting the arboretum, botanical garden, up to the top of the Teslstra Tower for the view.  The tower sits high up on a hill and from the upper observation deck the surrounding countryside and city were in full view on a bright and sunny day.

Next we visited the botanical gardens.  The rainforest mist was amazing.

 Afterward we drove to the neighboring arboretum for a picnic in the Himilayan cedars.  We were entertained by a couple of serenading magpies.

 With a few hours left we headed south of the city to Tindibilla Nature Reserve and discovered this little gem.  A hour later we had toured the sight and were in awe at being able to see communicaitons between earth and Voyager 1....soooooooo far out there it was hard to comprehend.

Back at the cottage we enjoyed a quiet night, made dinner with what was left in the icebox and packed for our early morning departure to Perth.