Canberra, Australian Capitol

Trip Start Sep 25, 2013
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Trip End Ongoing

Flag of Australia  , Australian Capital Territory,
Monday, October 28, 2013

We left the coast after lunch, enjoying a little more beach time. About an hour outside of Bateman's Bay we went up a beautiful mountain. After a stream there was a clearing with fire helicopters. We knew we weren't near the NSW fires so we wondered what it could be.

As we descended the mountain I saw smoke in the distance. The valley we drove through was smokey, but it cleared up once we got to Canberra.

We passed a rodeo and saw if the admission was affordable. It wasn't, plus it was Sunday afternoon, it was probably almost over. So we continued on. We passed through a couple cute towns, before hitting Canberra.

The place we were staying with laundry and showers, was 14k outside of Canberra. Somehow we missed it and took a detour to Goulburn. The first settled interior town. We turned around and finally found the "holiday park."

The next morning we went to the Capitol! We started at the war memorial. It was much more than I expected. It wasn't just a wall with some names, though that was there too. There was a war museum too. We walked into the memorial part, with the names and flowers on the wall, and to the tomb of the unknown soldier. There was an amazing dome ceiling and beautiful stained glass. The tomb was under construction for the 100 year anniversary of the First World War, but I didn't feel we missed much. The whole area was made up of tiny tiles. I can't imagine how long it took to build.

I had mixed emotions about a museum of war. But I thought they did a great job in showing the impact, big and small war has, and on both sides. I didn't see any glorifying it, though the short film Peter Jackson made, featuring World War One pilots, was bordering on it. Oh Hollywood. I also thought the connection between the war memorial and Parliament House was interesting. There was a great mall separating the two, obviously able to see each other from across the mall. Hopefully it is there to remind law makers of the effects of war. A daily reminder of how their actions can have great consequences.

After having a picnic lunch on the grounds, we headed to the central area, where the museums, gardens, and parliament was. We first walked through the rose gardens. I could smell the roses before we even entered the gate! Even though there were children running and screaming it didn't take away the beauty.

We walked straight to the national art gallery where we were for a majority of the day. Such a diverse collection, and all interesting, and beautiful in their own way. Walking back through the rose gardens we wondered if we should rest at the van or go straight to the Parliament House. We decided to go straight there!

Earlier than morning I did research to see if there would be a chance to watch any governing. Sadly, they weren't in session, but the hall was grand, the marble was aplenty, and it was a worthwhile trek.

We then went to an Irish pub, supposedly the most famous in Canberra, for some non-camping food. We walked around the city center a bit before driving up Black Mountain. The botanical gardens closed at 5pm so we continued up for a beautiful view of the Capitol. We saw a kangaroo along the way!

Originally, we planned to stay in Canberra, or a rest stop along the way to our next destination, Kosciusko National Park, but Chris was still feeling the affects of his coffee (I guess they only have espresso or Americanos here!) so we decided to drive the whole way. Driving through Cooma we got pulled over. Wondering why, it was what Thomas warned us about, random breathalyser test. Obviously Chris passed, and he warned us of wildlife on the road, since it was night, probably one of the only times we will drive at night, and sent us on our way.
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