The Quiet City of Canberra
Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
92Trip End Apr 22, 2011
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Where I stayed
Batemans Bay Beach Resort
Monday 30th August 2010
Woke up with the sun beaming in through the window, as the campsite had free wifi I sat in bed trying to upload the blog. It was a shame it wasn't the strongest of connections and I kept getting disconnected, so I gave up and went for a shower. Gary had breakfast made by the time I got back....cornflakes and milk. After breakfast we packed up the campervan and then went for a walk round the bay. Batemans Bay was named by Captain Cook in 1770 after a naval officer who he served with, Nathaniel Bateman, neither men ever set foot in the bay.
We are on our way to Canberra next, Australia’s capital city. Canberra is inland and up in the hills, the journey there took us up through steep, winding roads. The van isn’t too comfortable on hills so we caused a few traffic jams on the way up.....well we had at least four cars behind us at one stage. The journey to the capital city was bizarre, firstly there really were hardly any cars on the road and secondly most of the drive was through barren scrub land with the odd few farm houses and grazing cattle.
We arrived in Canberra just after 2pm and the first place we came across was the Information Centre, we pulled in and wandered round trying to get some ideas for our big day out in the capital the next day. Armed with flyers and maps we piled back into the van and drove up to Capital Hill to do a drive by of Parliament House before heading off to find our campsite.
Distance travelled - 169km
Cost of Campsite - $30
Air Temp – 18
Elevation - 603m
We are staying 3.5km outside the city centre on a busy campsite that has a motel, cabins, a lodge, as well as camping and caravan site. It is unfortunately full of noisy teenagers on a school trip who are contently run from one cabin to another shouting..... blimey I sound old!! The first thing we did when we arrived was to set up our chairs in the sun and prepare some lunch.
The birds in this country are awesome, wild parrots and cockatoos are everywhere, even the crows sing here rather than make that awful cawing noise. They are pretty tame, probably because we are on a campsite where there is constant food provided. We did have to keep our eyes on them as they tried to get in the campervan.
Tuesday 31st August 2010
It was a cold night, the temperature hit 0 and we went to bed in jumpers and socks. We’d bought a quilt to travel with but we also borrowed a thicker quilt from Diane for this trip because we knew it would be chilly at night. Gary cooked toast under the grill of the oven for breakfast and I stayed in bed as long as I could before having to brave the cold. By the time we were up and dressed the sun was shining and the van had warmed up. Our plan for the day was to drive to the city centre and visit the Royal Mint and National Museum. We arrived at the Royal Mint, having driven right past it once, and parked the van in the car park. With no entrance fee this was high on our list of thing to do in the city. Gary loves money, no shock there, but seriously he loves all the shiny new special addition coins, I am very surprised he’s not a coin collector....maybe it’s something he can take up in his senior years. It was a really interesting tour, it started with a video to give you an insight into the history of the Australian Mint and then instruction on how coins are made. With interesting fact like on the 14th February 1966 Australia went decimal and in doing to so changed from pounds, shillings and pence, to dollars and cents. You could also watch the coins being pressed and sorted from a viewing gallery above and you could see the special addition coins being cleaned, polished and pressed individually. This Royal Mint has the facility to produce up to two million coins a day and also presses coins for NZ, Tasmania, Israel, Thailand, Bangladesh and many more. Gary couldn’t resist pressing a coin for himself, a nice new shiny dollar, as a keepsake....or maybe the start of his coin collection!!!!
Our next stop was to the National Museum of Australia, to brush up on our Ozzie history. It was a large building that had a massive foyer but the museum itself wasn’t that big. We watched a couple of short films that tried to sum up the history but both of them focused on the progress and expansion of Australia rather than the early days. The exhibitions were more interesting however you knew you were in oz when a whole section was dedicated to Rolf Harris and his wobble board.....’have ya got it yet?’ We left the museum without any real insight to Australia’s history and with the tune to 'Stairway to Heaven’ stuck in our heads.
We drove into the city centre and parked up to have a wander round the shopping malls. Everywhere is so quite, it’s 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon and no-one is about, the roads are empty..... is this really the capital city....I haven’t even seen one Japanese tourist?? We popped into Big W (like our Woolworths was only bigger and sells clothes) to buy a little heater to keep us warm tonight.
Dinner was a picnic of cheese, delicious Olive Oil, Balsamic vinegar, fresh bread, ripe avocado, olives and tomatoes, washed down with half a bottle of cheap chardonnay.......Perfect!!!