Canberra

Trip Start Sep 27, 2009
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Flag of Australia  , Australian Capital Territory,
Saturday, March 12, 2011

We arrived in Canberra after a short drive inland from the coast. Canberra is the capital of Australia and was purpose built city which took over from Melbourne as the capital in 1927. Not many people realise it is the capital of Australia and it's not exactly a tourist hotspot but we thought it was worth a look as its famous for its museums and art galleries.  It was really strange when we drove into Canberra as it was a lot  smaller than we expected, when we were 5 kms from the city centre and we were still surrounded by bush land.

We checked into a caravan park just outside the city centre and caught the bus into the Civic which is the centre of the city and where all the bars and restaurants are. Even the city centre itself was tiny and really quiet but had a pretty relaxed and modern feel to it with lots of cheap pubs! We went for some food in Chinatown, the usual drill in the city and the food was as always awesome.

So the first stop on our museum/ gallery mission was the Canberra Museum and Gallery, is was quite small and the main exhibition was a load of Ned Kelly paintings, the famous out law. Next we visited the National Museum of Australia. Here there was huge exhibits explaining the history of Australia from the Aboriginal days, through colonization to the present day. It was really interesting and so well done, there were no dusty old pots or anything it was really modern with loads of interactive things to do so it was really good and we learned loads. One of our favourite bits was the kids zone were we designed our own space ships then watched ourselves in 3D movie!

After a few hours at the museums we thought we deserved a beer so we headed back into the civic and had a few jugs of beer in the London Pub for the evening. The next day we went to the parliamentary area of the city. For such a small city it actually took ages to get around, all the places of interest are so spread out its crazy. The city is built around a huge lake called Burley Griffin so on route to the museums we walked around the lake and got some nice views of the city.

We then visited the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia. The National Portrait Gallery was really interesting as it was lots pf different pictures and paintings of famous Australians. The National Gallery of Australia was split into different styles of art from Aboriginal to modern art and all the styles in between. The galleries were huge and had loads of information on all the paintings, which were all Australian. The galleries were actually really good, all except for the modern art section which we couldn't get our head around.

We then walked up to the Old Parliament House which was the seat of government from 1927 to 1988, it is now the museum of Australian Democracy. Across from the Old Parliament House was the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, this is a huge camp that the Aboriginal representatives use in the campaign for equal rights. There was just a huge camp fire and of loads of tents with signs everywhere.

We then walked up to the new Parliament house, this is built in the centre of Capital hill. It had a grass roof and a 81 metre flag pole with an enormous Aussie flag. It was pretty impressive to see. After all our sightseeing during the day we checked out the night life that evening. It was surprisingly cheap drinking in Canberra and there was a good few bars we checked out. There was a cool place called the Phoenix which had a live band on a kind of reminded us of warehouse at home with its sticky floors and musty smell. The other places were all a bit cheesy but we had a good laugh.

The next morning we got up and went to the Old Bus Depot Market. This is a massive market which is held each Sunday in the old bus depot. It was a really cool market which was selling all sorts of stuff, everything was pretty expensive but the food section was really good as we got free tasters! We ended up by some Indian Chai as it tasted just like the Indian stuff and bought back so many memories.

After the market we went to the Australian War Memorial museum. We had been told many a time that this was the best thing in Canberra. The Memorial is a huge museum which details of all the wars that Australia have been involved in. They had huge rooms for each war and went into loads of detail. It was really interesting because the majority of the wars Australia have been involved in, Britain has too and when the Aussie were part of Britain they even fought with us.

The museum was really impressive and so well done. The had an awesome interactive section where there was a First World War bunker, a helicopter from the Vietnam war and submarine with we could even try on all the different war uniforms! They also had a sound and light show of and bombing mission over Germany in the second world war, it was excellent.

We spent hours in the war museum and Chris could have probably spent all day, it was excellent. After our few days in Canberra we had to get back on the job hunting. We are glad we came to Canberra to see the capital of Australia, the museums and galleries were really good and glad we took the time to see them as we usually bypass them! We have had a great time since we left Cessnock though, the Shoalhaven Coast especially was absolutely stunning and its been great fun but no its back to job hunting to do the last of our harvest work!
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